Becker's Fight Over Beer Tax Recalled

Parade of GOP biggies and a famed Bud Clydesdale attend Beer Institute president’s funeral.


By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

One of Washington's fabled lobbyists, Beer Institute President Jeff Becker, was buried today. But it wasn't the parade of top GOP officials, led by House Minority Leader John Boehner, who tipped off the importance of Becker, 51, who died Thursday after a long bout with cancer. Some of the 1,500 who attended his wake Tuesday night and this morning's funeral in Alexandria, Va., say it was the Budweiser Clydesdale the company sent to stand vigil.

"It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. The Clydesdale was decked out and just stood in front of the funeral home for four hours," said one of Becker's friends. The horse is also expected to stand vigil at a reception this afternoon.

Pictured is the Bud Clydesdale that was part of the vigil for Becker at Tuesday evening's wake and today's reception at the Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria, Va.

Becker, who ran the Beer Institute for a decade, was a legendary lobbyist for the industry, associates say. They credited him with killing efforts to put a federal tax on beer. In fact, the priest at his funeral at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Alexandria thanked Becker for fighting the tax.

Some who attended say that the funeral included a who's who of Republican and K Street celebrities like Boehner, former White House aide Ed Gillespie, and former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

Here's the Beer Institute's statement on Becker's death. 

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