I am pleased to present Beer Institute's Report to the Membership. Our mission is straightforward. When unified industry action is needed in the public policy arena, we must be prepared to deliver effective, credible messages and programs on your behalf. A reliable and forthright industry voice is needed in today's political and legislative process. At our last annual meeting, we accurately predicted several of the serious legislative threats brewers would face, and several months remain in the 105th Congress.
For six decades, the brewing industry has established a clear leadership role within the overall alcohol beverage industry. That role is obvious in the marketplace of the 1990s and in public policy debates. Our sales dwarf those of other sectors. Our cooperation with wholesalers and retailers is well known and respected among policy makers.
Our challenge is to uphold our leadership role. We face significant competition from other sectors of the alcohol beverage industry. Competing industry organizations and anti-alcohol groups have achieved significant stature in Washington and throughout the nation. Their interests are sometimes quite different from ours.
We must maintain our position in the public policy arena as our members work to build a successful brand. A disciplined approach is required in putting our message before Congress, the Administration, and the public. We cannot make any sudden shifts in the strategies and tactics that have earned the stature we have in the political marketplace.
The brewing industry is fortunate to have many of the most talented people in American business today, and they have set high standards of corporate responsibility. We all know, however, that our best efforts can be severely set back by a single spurious attack in Congress.
Beer Institute exists in part to demonstrate the entire industry's commitment to responsible behavior, and in part to provide an effective industry response to issues arising from alcohol abuse. Our report highlights our accomplishments through 1997 and provides an overview of the months ahead. We were successful in defeating several anti-industry bills and amendments in Congress. We further enhanced our working relationships with key government agencies that carry out federal and state alcohol policies. We also continued cooperative efforts with private organizations dedicated to highway safety and responsible use of our products.
We need a cohesive industry voice more than ever as election year political activity heats up in Congress and most state legislatures. With your continued support, we can build on our successes of the last year and further our industry's public policy goals throughout 1998.