Case Study: Beverage Org Capitalizes on Obama’s Beer Summit to Launch Frothy Press Release Against an Old Foe

Company: American Beverage Institute Agency: Berman and Company Timeframe: July-August 2009 ABI’s press release followed the traditional one-sheet style, with links to ABI’s Web site featuring more information and background about MADD’s positions on a number of alcohol-related issues. The American Beverage Institute (ABI), a restaurant trade organization dedicated to protecting America’s right to responsible drinking, has the unenviable position of sometimes being at odds with an organization whose ostensible mission is hard to argue against, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). ABI’s stance is that MADD has taken some extreme positions in the last few years, becoming more of a “neo-Prohibitionist, anti-alcohol organization that now exists on the fringe of public opinion,” says Rick Berman, executive director of ABI, who also runs Berman and Company, a public relations agency and management firm for ABI. When MADD released a statement that ABI felt took an extreme position about a nationally galvanizing issue, the organization saw an opportunity to grab the spotlight for its cause. In late July 2009, the country was swept up in debate over a racially charged incident involving a Cambridge, Mass.

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