DC Influencer: Rebecca Spicer, National Beer Wholesalers Association

Rebecca Spicer, VP of public affairs and comms at the National Beer Wholesalers Association, talks about garnering bipartisan support.

What efforts have been most effective in keeping communications open with policymakers to advance member issues?
Our association represents America's 3,300 independent, locally operated beer distributors who employ 98,000 people nationwide and serve every media market and congressional district. They have a great story to tell as part of our country's effective, state-based system of alcohol regulation. The best way to tell it is old-fashioned, face-to-face meetings.

Our annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, allows distributors to educate elected representatives. In their home markets, distributors are proud to give warehouse tours that highlight the quality jobs they support and showcase many of the 13,000 beer labels available in the US. Additionally, our association advocates fiercely for the beer distribution industry, leveraging aggressive media relations and social media channels so our messages reach intended audiences.

What issues are front and center in 2012?
Along with our distributor members, we are concerned with the economy. We support job-creation efforts that put Americans back to work.

We also work to promote today's effective state-based system of alcohol regulation that is rooted in the 21st Amendment. December 5 is an important day to circle on your calendar. That's the day the states ratified the 21st Amendment in 1933, repealing Prohibition and establishing today's system.

Last but not least, we are gearing up to raise a glass and celebrate our organization's 75th anniversary next fall.

Discuss the "Flacks for Flacks" program.
A few years ago, our association collected pictures of beer-distributor employees who trade in their beer uniforms for America's military uniform. We were overwhelmed with the response. We used the photos in a tribute video during the NBWA Legislative Conference.

It seemed like a natural fit for us to sponsor the recent "Flacks for Flacks" event on Capitol Hill, supporting public affairs officers serving in Afghanistan. It was a rare showing of Beltway bipartisanship and brought together DC flacks, military, and press for camaraderie and conversation over a cold beer. The event wasn't about politics or business; it was about supporting those who sacrifice so much.

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