It seems we always wait until they’re gone to remember our friends.

Jeff Becker, longtime head of the Beer Institute passed away last night; losing his battle with cancer. Jeff and I became friends many years ago when I opened the Washington office of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and took a seat on the Board of the National Commission Against Drunk Driving. Jeff and I represented different parts of the beverage alcohol industry but that’s not what made us allies. If you know anything about the alcohol industry, you know beer and spirits don’t always see eye to eye. What made us allies and, not long after that, friends was a common commitment to make a real contribution to the fight against drunk driving. Jeff took his Board responsibilities very seriously as he did all the efforts he undertook. In fact, I made no secret of my position that the Commission had run its course but Jeff not only talked me back to the table but convinced us to continue to contribute staff time and money.

Jeff’s passing will be recognized by his commitment to his family, his commitment to the industry he represented for many years and maybe even his passion for the game of golf. But never doubt his commitment to fighting drunk driving as well. He’ll be missed.


- Ralph Blackman, President and CEO, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility