The honor was created to recognize their efforts in attempting to pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act.
In these polarized political times, plenty of Americans seem to be paying more attention to whether someone has a "D" or an "R" next to their name than what that person actually believes in. But if you're tired of all the partisan bickering, maybe look out for these two letters instead… "BC." Yeah, that stands for "Beer Champion."
The week, the Beer Institute, a national trade association for the brewing industry, announced its "2017 Beer Champions" at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. The honor was specifically created to recognize legislators in each house and in both parties who have been working to pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The bipartisan bill—which seeks to cut federal excise taxes, as well as to ease other restrictions for the beer, wine and spirits industry—has yet to be passed, but has massive support in both the Senate and House. It's cosponsored by around half of the members in each chamber of Congress.
Earning recognition for their work on this bill were Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Erik Paulsen (R-MN). Unsurprisingly, all four honorees were original cosponsors of the bills in their respective chamber.
"America's brewers and importers are pleased to honor Senators Blunt and Wyden as well as Representatives Kind and Paulsen," Jim McGreevy, President and CEO of the Beer Institute, said in a statement. "Their tireless efforts to build support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act will enable our nation's breweries and beer importers to continue to innovate so they can quench the thirst for America's most popular alcohol beverage."
Meanwhile, the recognized champions echoed similar sentiments. "I'm proud to work with Senator Blunt to end unfair burdens of Prohibition-era rules and taxes that have kept these present-day small businesses from growing and thriving," said Sen. Wyden. And Rep. Kind had some particularly bold praise for the beers of his state. "The Wisconsin beer industry not only produces the best beer in the world, but it also creates jobs and grows the local economy in communities across Wisconsin," he said.
Interestingly, this appears to be the first time the Beer Institute has ever issued a "Beer Champions" award to members of Congress—though there doesn't appear to be any reason why it couldn't become an annual thing. Of course, getting the members of congress to compete in some sort of "beer mile" race would be a much more fun way to choose its recipients. But recognizing them for their legislative efforts seems fine, too.