Eric Orlando
General Business

Zita Group’s Orlando Honored for Support of Brewing Industry

Eric Orlando of The Zita Group and the Brewers Guild of New Jersey is the recipient of the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award, presented by Boulder, Colorado-based the Brewers Association (BA), the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American craft brewers.

This award is named after the late F.X. Matt of F.X. Matt Brewing Co., and is presented to an individual or company for their contributions and efforts in championing the small brewing industry.

Orlando is an industry advocate with more than two decades of experience providing legislative and public affairs counsel as it relates to policy development, grassroots outreach, coalition development, direct advocacy, press relations, and research. He is the executive vice president of The Zita Group, a West Trenton-based lobbying firm. In addition, Orlando serves as the government affairs director for the Brewers Guild of New Jersey and sits as a board member of the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association and Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Orlando’s advocacy efforts have resulted in significant legislative wins for the craft beer community. In 2012, he advocated for the passage of Public Law 2012, Chapter 47, which, for the first time in the state’s history, gave breweries the ability to sell pints of their beer for consumption on-premise, and brewpubs the ability to open up to 10 locations in New Jersey. Then, in 2022, Eric gained state financial support for the industry through the passage of Public Law 2021, Chapter 438, which established the ‘New Jersey Brewery, Cidery, Meadery, and Distillery Industry Advisory Council and Promotion Account’ that utilized craft beverage alcohol excise tax revenue to promote the state’s craft beverage industry and fund research activities. Most recently, in 2023, Orlando led New Jersey’s government affairs and strategic communications efforts to end state-imposed license restrictions through the signing of Public Law 2023, Chapter 290.

Orlando is among four national industry leaders who will be honored on April 23, at the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in Las Vegas.

“Year after year, our Industry Awards shine a spotlight on the trailblazers of the craft beer community,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association. “This year’s honorees aren’t just making waves; they’re reshaping the landscape of brewing excellence, advocating for crucial legislative changes, and adding texture to the vibrant tapestry of our craft beer family. We look forward to watching these visionary leaders continue to shape and inspire our community for years to come.”

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