Kings of Beer

A new suds squad seeks to build a roster in Phoenix

Jan Blaser-Upchurch is MADD's Arizona chair. So far, MADD doesn't seem to be too worried that the USBDT is going to undo the gains her group has made in discouraging drunken driving. Still, she'll keep an eye on the fledgling team.

"Drinking alcohol is a personal decision. We would just encourage anybody who consumes alcohol . . . to just make sure they have a designated driver," she says. "I think [USBDT's] trying to portray one thing but what gets portrayed may be another message."

In response, Buettner says the team currently receives assistance from the Maryland state attorney's office for developing its Beer Appreciation and Responsibility program.

Safety, though, is not the USBDT's only concern for members.

It wants them fit.

Stew Smith, a former Navy SEAL, is the team's trainer. His e-books, found at the Web site, offer 40 hours of training. "I think Dennis liked the dichotomy of a beer-drinking team having a trainer," Smith says. "Especially if he's a Navy SEAL." He says beer, in moderation, is part of a healthy diet. "And moderation's defined as one or two beers a day," Smith says.

What can hurt, though, are snacks. "You need to eliminate snacks," Smith says. No more peanuts at the bar. No more pretzels.

And exercise. "You can't lose your beer belly without exercise," Smith says. "I have 'em on an everyday program. Twenty minutes of walking, calisthenics or weight training."

John Wright thinks the idea of a coach or captain or trainer for beer drinkers is "campy." But that's why he and other Phoenix members joined -- to have fun.

A captain of a beer-drinking team, teammates agree, is a fun idea. So is a team trainer.

Wright won't read Smith's e-books, though. He says in an e-mail, "I have a Budweiser muscle and proud of it. The only exercise I get is the shakes every morning (kidding)."

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