I just got the news that Beer Institute CEO Jeff Becker died at home yesterday after a long fight with cancer. He was a great leader for the industry: he was energetic, optimistic, and not afraid to stand up to New Drys -- just yesterday I came across my notes from a Pennsylvania legislature hearing on underage drinking I attended in 2007; Jeff testified that we didn't need new laws so much as a new way of presenting moderate drinking to young adults, a policy I whole-heartedly agree with. Jeff Becker was smart, engaged, and honest, and he was not owned by any one part of the industry; exactly the kind of person the beer industry needed. He will be missed, greatly, both for his sincerely winning personality and for the good he did the industry.
There's a great interview Andy Crouch did with him here. I join Andy in thinking in sympathy of Jeff's family and friends, and so should we all. We lost one of the good guys.