A-B Gets Its Point Man in Beer-Labeling Battle
McGuire, John M., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
JOHN E. JACOB probably will be Anheuser-Busch's point man when attempts are made to add information to beer labels, including alcohol content. There have been rumblings in Washington that such a move is in the works. Most beers contain 5 percent alcohol, although some new ice-beer imports and malt liquors have pushed the content to 6 percent or more.
Such a thing, Anheuser-Busch fears, would push consumers toward higher-potency brews, giving neo-prohibitionists more ammunition and thwarting the company's moderation-in-drinking efforts.
Jacob has been called black America's premier lobbyist. But there are those who say selling beer in a zero-tolerance society is considerably different from peddling brotherhood to Forture 500 companies, a thing he did as head of the National Urban League.
"People are going to be watching me big-time because they think I can't do it," he said.
However, Jacob comes from an advocacy background.
"I understand how advocates work, and their need to select targets - especially targets with a conscience, good companies.
"There will be an attempt on the part of critics to make us the other target of opportunity, after they finish with tobacco," he said. "I go on the assumption that we make a quality product, and do not make it for people to abuse it. Some people use the product abusively, but it's not because the product is bad. We do not allow our critics to associate us with an inherently bad product, tobacco."
Still, he knows the critics won't go away. Jacob, in fact, once said: "Nothing gets done in America without pressure."
Robert Hammond, director of the Alcohol Research Information Service in Lansing, Mich. …