Near the end of an anything but “normal” year, I made a Nice List and a Naughty List for 2022. Making this list reminded me of the many great things about 2022 and the challenges ahead. Here’s what made my list:
Nice--Ohio Beverage Association Members
From our outstanding board of directors to our member companies’ plant managers, these professionals stepped up and showed up for the industry. Our board president Frank Buda led through uncertainty, providing a steady hand as we made tough decisions on events and focus for the association.
After a two year pandemic induced hiatus, facility tours returned with renewed energy. Our plant managers and distribution center leaders welcomed legislators and policy makers on 13 tours this summer. Many of these leaders grappled with workforce shortages, rising internal company demands and supply chain unpredictability but they still said “yes” to tours, and they proudly shared their company commitments to community.
Naughty--Supply Chain Headwinds
From aluminum can shortages to stalled rail shipments, our members faced towering supply chain challenges. Demand for favorite nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages and shifting consumption patterns during COVID spiked demand for aluminum cans. Just in time inventories were decimated and are only now beginning to rally. Railroad inefficiencies including bizarre dwell times undermined beverage production (and countless other industries) culminating in a near miss of a nationwide rail strike. Godspeed in the coming months as labor and management work through long festering issues to restore confidence in our rail system.
Nice--Ohio General Assembly Action on HB 197
In the wee hours of Lame Duck session, the Ohio General Assembly placed HB 197 on the legislative Christmas tree that HB 66 became. This ornament is an income tax credit for employers to help defray some costs of CDL training. OhioBev has supported this effort for several years to enlarge the pool of CDL drivers while giving some employers a break on the enormous training costs ($6,000-8,000 on average). We appreciate the help and look forward to more collaborative solutions to the CDL driver shortages plaguing our industry and countless others.
n 2018, President Trump enacted Section 232 tariffs on aluminum from Europe, increasing the cost of aluminum for businesses here at home. Prior to these tariffs, aluminum cost $1,600 per ton, and has now risen to roughly $2,400 per ton. For our members, expensive aluminum means that essential cans cost more, as well as transporting and storing finished products. Repealing Section 232 aluminum tariffs will help lower the price of this important metal and drive down inflation. We need this type of direct action to provide financial relief to consumers and small businesses.
Nice--Every Bottle Back Ohio Investments
The Every Bottle Back initiative is our industry’s commitment to using less plastic and investing in efforts to improve recycling. One of these investments was $2.5 million to expand help plastics reclaimer Evergreen in Clyde, Ohio. This collaboration will help Ohio’s beverage companies close the loop on our 100% recyclable containers. Our industry is committed to using more recycled content in our containers. Evergreen’s bold leadership will help meet this increased demand for rPET packaging. This partnership will elevate Ohio’s market for recycled plastics.
Anyone who forgot basic manners and decency when confronted with a longer wait time for food, then “forgot” to tip that harried server. Or a shopper who snapped at a sixteen year old grocery clerk just learning the job. Or entitled jerks who can’t wait an extra day or two for their products to be delivered by actual human beings. These folks should stay on the naughty list until they really understand that the back breaking work of service industry folks is honorable and should be appreciated.
Nice--The nearly 10,000 Ohioans employed by the beverage industry
All the men and women working to make, distribute and stock your favorite non-alcoholic beverages deserve a permanent spot on the nice list. They sacrifice time with family during all the fun times—from the Fourth of July to Christmas and every major holiday in between, to make sure you have what you need to refresh yourselves and your families. They love their jobs (most days), and they are proud to work in every corner of Ohio from Toledo to Franklin Furnace. And they take every chance they can to give back to their communities by working at local foodbanks, sponsoring local events and cleaning up parks.
So please hold the door at your favorite convenience store for the delivery person wheeling in cases or stop to thank the merchandiser stocking beverages at the grocery store and give our truck drivers a friendly wave as you speed home to spend time with family and friends. Have a wonderful holiday!