It is with sadness that I report the Beer Institute’s news that its longtime CEO, Jeff Becker, has passed away after a battle with cancer. From the BI’s announcement:
Everybody who knew Jeff immediately liked him because he was a terrific guy and a true beer guy. Jeff was a tireless advocate and a true champion for all that is good about our great industry. Jeff embodied a spirit of optimism and collaboration – a spirit he brought to work every day right until the end. Those of us in the industry who worked with Jeff are better for it and his presence, commitment and friendship will be greatly missed. Jeff was, first and foremost, a friend, a husband and a father.
Jeff is survived by his wife Brenda and his children Megan and Max. Please keep them in your prayers and raise a glass to a great man.
I’ve interviewed Jeff a few times over the years and once in long form from his hospital bed, a show of his dedication.
In that interview, Jeff talked about the success and future of craft brewers.
In the last twenty-five years, you’ve seen a sustained growth in the craft brewing segment. You have a lot of individuals there who got into it because they thought it was fun and interesting but have turned it in to quite a business. It’s definitely here to stay. People are thinking about succession planning and getting their kids involved and that’s a wonderful thing. It is phenomenal to see the wealth of talent we have available to us, some of which got into this for fun. And now to see them as thriving businesses I think is terrific. The import segment is going to continue to grow and we hope the domestic segment will continue to grow. I think what we are starting to see now is slowly everybody is starting to come back and that is a very encouraging sign for everyone. I think imports and craft beers definitely have a place to stay and I think you see some of the larger brewers doing those same sorts of things. I’m very encouraged about the future and I think that anybody in the industry right now should be.
Our thoughts go out to Jeff’s family and friends on their loss.