March 27, 2009
The Beer Industry of Florida (BIF) is a trade association of Florida's distributors which is headquartered in Tallahassee. Its members have product lines that consist of domestic beers, such as Miller and Coors, and imported and craft beers, such as Heineken and Guinness. It's important that we recognize that both the alcoholic beverage regulatory agency (us) and the regulated alcoholic beverage industry (manufacturers, distributors and retailers) share the vision of preventing underage drinking.
Beer distributors, which are licensed in Florida by the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, promote safety and responsible drinking and play an integral role in communities. They've instituted training programs for their employees, participated in national programs, such as Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS), and partnered with local law enforcement and schools to prevent underage drinking.
I was honored when BIF Executive Director Eric Criss invited me to speak at BIF's annual legislative breakfast yesterday. It was a great opportunity to share department priorities, most importantly the "Accelerate Florida" initiative and streamlining processes for licensees and industry members.
I was honored to share the dais with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. The Attorney General did an outstanding job of explaining the valuable work his office is doing to combat cyber crimes, mortgage fraud, Medicaid fraud and other crimes plaguing our state today. As a former police officer, I can appreciate the difficult job he has and respect his efforts in trying to do more to protect the people of Florida.
One of the BIF members asked for my opinion on partnering with the beer industry on responsible drinking campaigns. He recalled that past administrations were concerned about working with the industry as it was often viewed as evil. I discussed the recent partnerships we've enjoyed with industry members. Tailgaters Urging Responsibility and Fun (TURF) was sponsored by the Charmer Sunbelt Group, and the DBPR "Why Not?" video contest was sponsored by the Florida Retail Federation, the Charmer Sunbelt Group and Tri-Eagle Sales.
By coordinating prevention efforts, rather than working individually, we can have a more significant impact, pool talent and have much better results than any of us trying to do it alone. I look forward to developing more partnerships with industry members to protect Floridians and visitors.
Charles W. Drago