In part because of Indiana’s complex regulations governing the beverage alcohol industry, Scheidt has long been involved in networking with and fighting alongside his fellow retailers.
“I joined our state association in 1984 because I was raised in a political family,” he says. “It came naturally to be involved with the inner workings of the industry I was involved in. From early on it was obvious to me that, in an industry where everything you do hinges on what the legislature says you can do, you should be involved in the process or you may not have a business to be involved in.”
Scheidt was the longest-serving president of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, held nearly every elected office and served on every committee. The IABR’s membership is very strong on a per-capita basis, with nearly 50% of state retailers participating in the association.
“I worked my way up and paid my dues, and then the reason I joined the ABL was because I’d already done everything on the state level,” he says, adding jokingly, “I think they sent me to Washington to serve on the national committee to get rid of me because there was nothing left for me to do.”
Nationally, the ABL is focused on sharing information among its state association members, as well as lobbying members of Congress to serve its membership’s interests.
“State regulations affect retailers during their day-to-day business and you really notice changes in the law very quickly,” he says. “On a national level, the changes are more subtle and often we need to team up with other industry associations to accomplish the things we believe in.”
The ABL has recently worked on issues as varied as doing away with the “death tax,” transportation bills, interlock regulations and repeat-offender laws.
Scheidt was elected president of the ABL in June and is currently serving a two-year term. He’s previously been the association’s vice president, treasurer and chairman of the communications and finance committees.
“I’m running out of positions again, like at the state level” he says. “I’m not sure what I’ll do next, but I’m always looking for new opportunities and keeping my ears open.”
Jeremy Nedelka is editor of Beverage Dynamics Magazine. Reach him at JNedelka@epgmediallc.com