It is my distinct honor and privilege to serve as your new President. I would like to thank all of our past presidents for devoting their time to protect and improve our industry. I would especially like to recognize our immediate past president, Tom Mehaffie, for his tireless efforts on behalf of MBDA and wish him the best on his quest to become a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
The last year has been a trying time for our industry as we have been the subject of numerous attacks on our way of life. For years we have staved off countless attempts at “liquor privatization” only to be met with even more watered-down attempts at “fixing the system”. It was solely due to MBDA’s members willingness and tenacity that we were able to fend off these repeated attempts to put us out of business.
Unfortunately, on June 7, 2016 Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1690. This landmark legislation ultimately allowed R licenses to purchase “wine expanded permits” and the ability to sell up to 4 bottles of wine for off-premise consumption. Beer Distributors were conspicuously left out of the entities that were given the opportunity to sell wine.
MBDA will not take this lying down. You have my word that I will fight for the rights of each and every beer distributor in the Commonwealth. In reply to the survey MBDA conducted last month, you stated that you wanted parity with the other groups that can sell wine. We have heard you loud and clear and are formulating our plan to enable beer distributors to sell wine. This is our short-term plan. Rest assured that we have even greater plans for the future.
I strongly encourage you to continue your membership in MBDA and, humbly, ask that you convey our message to non-members as well. Speaking with one voice, we command a presence, both politically and economically, that cannot be stifled in Harrisburg. I would ask that you please continue your generosity by donating to the Distributors Political Action Committee Fund (DISPAC) and be ready to heed the call when you are needed to talk to your legislators.
MBDA is more than just your advocate at the Capitol. We know that you are savvy business men and women and know the value of a dollar. Our goal as an association, aside from lobbying on your behalf, is to provide our members with benefit programs that can save you thousands of dollars a year in operating costs. For current members that have not signed up for these programs, I urge you to learn more about them. In most instances, the savings from these programs alone pays for your membership!
MBDA membership also enhances the value of your distributor license through the many other services we provide. From legal and communication advice and services to keeping you up to date on industry news and advancements, MBDA fundamentally provides an investment in the future viability of your business. Much like any insurance policy, MBDA membership is how you protect your business beyond the bricks and mortar.
We are working hard to increase the value of your membership. New programs and technologies are being added to our existing strong scope of services. These will both better serve you and help keep our costs lower through operating efficiencies.
We are pleased to report that Stephanie Eckert will continue her outstanding service to us as Executive Secretary working out of the Philadelphia office. Bob Archibald and Chip Brightbill continue their excellent representation as our Lobbyists. Charlie Caputo, Esq. will continue in his critical role as MBDA’s legal counsel, offering our association and its members his experienced and specialized advice on our industry’s many issues. Our Executive Director, John Burch, is committed to growing our membership for this year.
We hope we will have your continued support as we move forward in our role as the true advocate for the best interests of Pennsylvania’s beer distributors.
Thank you and I look forward to serving as your president.
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