State Distribution Laws


License Needed to Self-Distribute: Yes
Statute: L.B. 1236 (2022)

Nebraska Statute

Brewers that hold a craft brewers license in Nebraska are permitted to self-distribute provided they:

  • Do not exceed 250 barrels per calendar year
  • Do not self-distribute in a territory where they have a distribution agreement with a wholesaler
  • Use their own vehicles and employees
  • Otherwise comply with all relevant laws that would apply to them as “wholesalers” with regards to distributing beer

If Nebraska brewers decide to use a wholesaler to distribute their products, they must enter into a written agreement with those wholesalers and must provide those wholesalers with exclusive territories. Additionally, brewers cannot:

  • Set the resale price of their products
  • Force wholesalers to accept products they haven’t ordered (but they can impose reasonable inventory requirements)
  • Restrict a wholesaler’s ability to sell other products or brands
  • Require a wholesaler to purchase one product as a condition of purchasing another
  • Require a wholesaler to submit audited financial statements
  • Force a wholesaler to disclose information about the wholesaler’s accounts or other suppliers
  • Require a wholesaler to contribute to an advertising fund controlled by the brewer
  • Discriminate between wholesalers
  • Restrict the free association between wholesalers
  • Require or restrict a wholesaler’s change in management without just cause
  • Unreasonably prevent or delay the transfer of the wholesaler’s business.

If a brewer has a distribution agreement with a wholesaler, the brewer cannot modify, terminate, or not renew a distribution agreement without good cause, or without providing the wholesaler with proper notice. A brewer must send the wholesaler a notice of its intent to modify, terminate, or not renew the agreement, state their reasons for doing so, and the date it will take effect. They must also allow the wholesaler 30 days to submit a plan to correct the issue, and 90 days to implement that plan and resolve the problem. Good cause is when a wholesaler fails to comply with a material and reasonable provision of their agreement, and the brewer learns about the failure no more than 2 years before taking action.

If a brewer terminates an agreement without good cause, without giving notice, or without giving the wholesaler a chance to correct the issue, the brewer will owe the wholesaler reasonable compensation for the diminished value of the wholesaler’s business. However, a brewer does not need to follow the notice requirements or give the wholesaler an opportunity to cure the problem if:

  • The wholesaler becomes insolvent or files for bankruptcy
  • The wholesaler’s license is revoked or suspended for more than 61 days
  • A 10% or more owner of the wholesaler is convicted of a felony which reasonably and adversely affects the goodwill of the wholesaler or brewer, unless the other owner(s) purchase their interest prior to conviction
  • The wholesaler and brewer mutually agree to terminate the agreement
State NE | Litigation Attorneys

Fun Fact: It is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.