Analysis

NBWA makes public relations a priority in 1999

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The National Beer Wholesalers Associationheld its annual convention Sept. 24-27 in Chicago. Continuing the fight againstanti-alcohol legislation, restrictions on alcohol advertising and the battle againststricter OSHA regulations topped the list of topics at the show.

Outgoing chairman Jay Morgeson remindedwholesalers that the efforts to lower the acceptable blood alcohol limit to .08 was alegislative danger this year. "This year NBWA faced its toughest battle to date. Theneo-prohibitionists attacked social drinkers, and the NBWA fought relentlessly and won.

"...NBWA was out in the front on the.08 issue," he said. "During the legislative conference, our members marched onCapitol Hill to defend our business and our livelihoods."

Morgeson highlighted the positive consumerpress the association has received in recent months, and urged wholesalers to becomeactive in public relations as well as government affairs. "We must inform our friendsand neighbors of the health benefits beer offers and its strong cultural heritage. We mustpromote responsible marketing practices among our colleagues. Working together, we canfortify the beer industry across this country."

Incoming chairman Don Klopcic, Jr.continued with the NBWA's plans for the upcoming year.

"1999 is going to be another busy yearlegislatively for NBWA. The Federal Trade Commission will continue investigating beerindustry ads. FTC officials will be observing when commercials have been running andanalyzing the messages that marketers are trying to send out to audiences, as well as findout who they are attempting to reach. NBWA will be closely monitoring all legislation toensure no proponents of restraining alcohol advertising try to insert detrimentalrestrictions for the beer industry."

Klopcic outlined the NBWA's new focus onpublic relations, saying that several years ago the association had to teach members howto be grassroots lobbyists, and now it will help them learn how to be public relationsspecialists.

"With help from the staff, by thistime next year, my goal is for all of us to become beer wholesalers/public relationsexperts."

Assistance will come in the form of amanual and audio cassettes that will teach wholesalers how to manage the message they sendto the press, including tips on how to write a press release, schedule an editorial boardmeeting, set up school visits and answer interview questions.

The NBWA's new officers were also announcedat the show. Don Klopcic will be chairman; Howard Hallam will serve as vice president;George O'Connor will be treasurer; David D. Ruthenberg will continue as secretary; JayMorgeson takes on the role of immediate past chairman; and Ron Sarasin continues as chiefstaff officer.


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