Industry toasts Auburn distributor for its work with craft beers

A local beer distributor ranks (again) among the best in the nation.

Auburn’s Mussetter Distributing Inc. is a finalist for the 2014 Craft Beer Distributor of the Year Award presented by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Brewers Association. The winner will be announced at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival on Oct. 4.

Now in its eighth year, this award honors “an American beer distributor who goes above and beyond in their efforts to actively market, sell and promote craft beer.”

A family-owned business since 1976, Mussetter has helped promote greater appreciation — and access — for craft beer in the greater Sacramento area.

“We work with 30 different beer suppliers — and growing,” said Jason Mussetter, the company’s general manager. “Variety is a good thing; it’s what everybody wants.”

Mussetter’s top-selling brands — such as Auburn Ale House and Out of Bounds Brewing — are local, too, he noted.

“It’s great to be recognized for what you’re doing,” he said. “It helps attract more brands, too.”

In 2013, Mussetter won “Special Recognition” honors in that same Distributor of the Year category as basically the second runner-up for the top national award.

Craft beer is enjoying a renaissance, Mussetter said. In the last year, his family’s company has seen a 75 percent increase in craft beer sales.

“(Among beer makers), there was a resurgence in the early ’90s, but not enough people willing to drink it,” Mussetter said. “But now, there’s a lot more enthusiasm (among consumers). The younger generation has really embraced it. They want flavor, they want taste, they want variety and that’s what you get with craft beer.”