Brewers Association Names New ‘Public Relations Agency of Record’

The Brewers Association (BA) has severed ties with longtime New York-based PR firm The Rosen Group.

The Colorado-headquartered not-for-profit trade association representing small and independent U.S. craft brewers today announced it has chosen Backbone Media as its new public relations agency of record.

Backbone, based in Carbondale, Colorado, supplants The Rosen Group, which had served as the BA’s public relations firm for more than a decade.

The agency switch, however, will not affect the BA’s relationship with Washington, D.C.-based Banner Public Affairs, which the BA appointed in January to represent the organization’s 2019 government affairs initiatives.

In a press release, BA marketing director Ann Obenchain said Backbone would help the BA “usher” in “the next chapter” of its media relations campaigns. She added that Backbone’s “expertise and engagement” would benefit the organization’s members.

“We were impressed with Backbone’s experience in the active lifestyle and beverage industries, as well as their ability to tell nuanced stories from category leading brands and organizations to mainstream audiences,” she said.

Backbone public relations director and partner Ian Anderson added that the firm is “honored” to represent “the preeminent trade organization in an industry.”

“As craft brewers continue to increase their share of the overall beer market in a highly competitive environment, it’s an exciting time for our agency to contribute to the BA’s marketing efforts and share the compelling stories of small and independent craft brewers,” he added.

As such, the BA said Backbone will be tasked with providing “media relations and strategic communications support” for its “member-and consumer-facing initiatives and priorities — amplifying the brand presence and awareness of the Brewers Association and its members; promoting and elevating the beverage of craft beer to consumers; and initiating interest in the hobby of homebrewing.”

Backbone brings experience working with a top 10 craft brewery. In January 2018, New Belgium tapped the agency as its “media buying and public relations agency of record.” The company also represented Colorado’s Upslope Brewing Company from late 2016 to January 2019. Other clients include popular cooler brand Yeti, Tincup Whiskey and Suerte Tequila, as well as Eddie Bauer, Nike Swim and others.

For its part, The Rosen Group issued a statement praising its partnership with the BA.

“Rosen Group has worked with the Brewers Association for over a decade, and has played a major role in communicating the craft brewing industry’s growth, legislative initiatives, events including GABF and SAVOR, introduction of the independent craft brewer seal and much more. It’s been a great ride, and we’re thrilled with all the successes we’ve had on the Brewers Association’s behalf.”

Obenchain and BA president and CEO Bob Pease were both on vacation and unable to comment.

A press release announcing the change can be found here.

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