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General Category => Homebrew Clubs => Topic started by: robg2251 on January 25, 2010, 11:44:00 AM

Title: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: robg2251 on January 25, 2010, 11:44:00 AM
We have a club up and running, but are struggling to find a location to meet.  We've been meeting at a local bar, that has some great Michigan beer on tap, but everyone really wants to sample homebrew - and in Michigan, we have laws about bringing beer into a bar.    We have had it at a couple members houses, but it's not really a consistent thing.   I want to find a location we could meet at monthly, for tastings, meetings, etc. 

Any ideas for a meeting place?  We kicked around a VFW - but the ones we have all have liquor licenses, and we wouldn't be able to bring beer.   

Anyhow, thanks in advance! 
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: diybrewing on March 27, 2010, 03:39:31 AM
You should see if your LHBS will let you host it there? I do that for our local club and they just meet in my store.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: dbeechum on March 27, 2010, 03:49:51 PM
we meet at our shop, for sure, but it should do you some good to know that Crispy Frey is working there in MI to get the law changed to allow for homebrew club meetings at a licensed establishment.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: babalu87 on March 29, 2010, 02:00:57 PM
Lucky for us we have two members with nice basement bars and we hold the meetings there on a rotating basis every month.
Once a year we hold a steering committee meeting at the British Beer Works (upstairs) but no homebrews allowed.......might need to work on that though.

Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: Kaiser on March 29, 2010, 03:50:57 PM
Our club meetings are at member's houses. There is a sign-up at the beginning of the year where members can volunteer to host a meeting. It seems to work well.

Kai
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: alikocho on June 09, 2010, 11:07:04 AM
FWIW I don't feel that people's houses are great places for club meetings. Firstly, if you rotate then it can get confusing. Secondly, there are issues around people you don't *know* coming to your house to drink beer. On one level it can be intimidating for the first timer, and on another opens up a whole realm of potential problems.

I greatly prefer publicish venues for meetings. Much less problematic.  But just my 0.02.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 09, 2010, 01:05:24 PM
The AABG has been meeting at member's houses for over 20 years.  The members volunteer their home for a meeting, and the locations are put online at our web site.

There are the issues with "strangers" for some homeowners, but here is the issue that has recently made this not work so well.  The club has recently had a growth spurt, and is now over 100 members.  Meetings at a house can be very crowded, to the point that it is not as relaxed as a few years back. 

Other states have laws that allow club meetings in liscensed establishments, and that is why there are people working on getting that changed in Michigan. 
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: deepsouth on June 09, 2010, 05:49:16 PM
well, since homebrewing is still illegal, we take turns at peoples houses.  it's getting more difficult as the club is growning.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: Kaiser on June 09, 2010, 06:23:15 PM
The club has recently had a growth spurt, and is now over 100 members.  Meetings at a house can be very crowded, to the point that it is not as relaxed as a few years back.

We are facing the same issues and this has also sparked a discussion among our members.

Kai
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: MDixon on June 10, 2010, 11:05:53 AM
We meet at a restaurant inside an office building which is closed at night. It works well, but they are very particular about how we leave the place and often we'll move a plant a few inches the wrong way and have to smooth things over. Meeting in an establishment where you are paying for things (food, drinks, service, meeting space, etc.) might be preferable since they can clean up any mess and the group can simply leave.

We are also reaching critical mass for the space we have. About 30-40 is a good crowd, anything larger and you stand a strong chance of not sampling a beer. With the downturn in the economy the number of people coming to the club has increased. The trend has remained the same since I joined in 98. When the economy is down, the homebrewing population experiences growth. For the most part people don't immediately quit homebrewing and the club, they simply stop brewing as much...
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 10, 2010, 12:00:34 PM
With the downturn in the economy the number of people coming to the club has increased. The trend has remained the same since I joined in 98. When the economy is down, the homebrewing population experiences growth. For the most part people don't immediately quit homebrewing and the club, they simply stop brewing as much...
I agree with the popularity in a down economy trend.  Of late there is also the impact of the internet coupled with the hobby becoming popular with the 21-30 aged group.  Without any data to back it up, more of our new members are in that age group (of course the Ann Arbor club is in a big University town). 
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: wilypig on June 10, 2010, 02:50:57 PM
As a member of my local HB club I have been busy trying to build the membership. We used to hold meetings at only members homes but now we have 4 open/public meetings at a local better beer bar. We all purchase a pint on the way back to the meeting room. A bit of an offering for the management and staff helps as well. We pass around some samples after the evenings business and presentation. As a club we sponsor/host/participate in a variety of events that we use as recruiting tools. I like the mix of venues for meetings as it allows us as a club to have the open meetings that are good for the shy types and the comfortable feeling of a friends house. We have several members that expect to hold the meeting at their house at certain times for special annual events. This is a good mix. YMMV
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: darkhorse on June 22, 2010, 02:11:15 PM
The BURP meeting are held at the houses of members who volunteer.  We meet monthly on a Saturday.  During the cold months, we meet a recreation center or community center in a member's neighborhood.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: bobby_m on June 22, 2010, 07:42:09 PM
I think prior to the internet age, it was a lot more important to have regular meeting locations, dates and times so that potential members (and forgetful current members) know where they are going. Now that every club has a website (right? right?) it should be easy enough to publish next meeting locations.

When you have less than 30 members, with 20 regularly attending, someone's basement is fine. If things go well, you'd outgrow it. My club meets at a brewpub but we've come very close to outgrowing those accommodations several times last year.

How about a VFW hall or Firehouse? Someone has to have a family member who is a member of some kind of social club with a clubhouse. Even if you don't, I bet a firehouse would let you use their hall regularly if you leave a case behind.

Depending on what your real estate market is like, once you get to 80-100 members, it may even be time to start talking about leasing a clubhouse of your own. How cool would that be? Bar, movie screen, pool table, FTW.

Realistically, try finding a restaurant that is BYOB and pick a night when they are normally dead. Approach the manager with the idea and make sure everyone orders food.

Bobby
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: joelambic on June 23, 2010, 08:58:02 PM
Of the three Chicago area clubs I'm familiar with, two meet at a bar/restaurant that permits them to bring in outside beers; one permits some commercial beer along with the homebrew but the other only allows homebrew.  The third club rotates meetings at members' houses.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: denny on June 23, 2010, 11:01:20 PM
OUr club has been meeting at our Rogue local, the Eugene City Brewery.  We recently found out that it's illegal to do that (since we bring homebrew), so I'm not sure what we're gonna do.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: tygo on June 24, 2010, 02:31:17 AM
Continue to break the law and wait for the guys with the billyclubs and paddywagon to show up?
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: bonjour on June 24, 2010, 01:32:29 PM
While that's always an option, I don't like the thought of being he cause of a license loss.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: denny on June 24, 2010, 02:33:20 PM
While that's always an option, I don't like the thought of being he cause of a license loss.

Exactly.  Rogue in general and the people at ECB specifically have been really nice to us.  I'm not interested in jeopardizing their well being.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: tygo on June 24, 2010, 02:44:39 PM
Yeah, good point.  I was thinking more from the standpoint that I doubt the law would bother to hassle individuals however the bar could be a different story.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: christo on June 24, 2010, 08:02:59 PM
Yeah, good point.  I was thinking more from the standpoint that I doubt the law would bother to hassle individuals however the bar could be a different story.

We "almost" caused this ourselves with our local Brew Pub. 

Our laws in GA don't allow beer brought into brew pubs.  We had always brought it in anyway, thumbing our noses at "the Man", but the Man actually started paying attention - to the point they had planned a "raid" during our homebrew competition, which we hurriedly moved to another location.  Our meetings were, I'll have to say, getting out of hand with 50+ people coming and probably 20-25 homebrews to sample, all out in the open.

Since the brewpub was looking at expansion - and was warned by the DOR to "cease and desist allowing contraband beer into his establishment" - he asked us to stop bringing in homebrew.  We sure didn't want him to get into trouble because of us so we've gone to a business meeting at the brewpub with a separate Beer Swap meeting at indivudual's houses.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: mr_jeffers on June 24, 2010, 10:09:57 PM
The Southern Maine Homebrewer's have run into the same problem.  We used to always hold our meetings in the back room of a better beer bar in the area, with full samples.  Since the beginning of this year we've realized that even though the bar was ok with it, it was against the local liquor laws, and as a club we didn't want to put anyone at risk for losing their license.  We now try to hold meetings at member's houses (typically 10-15 member turnout) as much as possible, but when no one is willing to host we end up at a restaurant with no homebrew samples. 
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: theDarkSide on June 25, 2010, 12:29:56 PM
but when no one is willing to host we end up at a restaurant with no homebrew samples. 

Ouch...Let's hope this doesn't happen too often.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: mr_jeffers on June 25, 2010, 11:53:48 PM
We've been pretty lucky so far.  Out of the 6 months so far this year, it's only been once.  For that meeting we ended up going down to a local bar for "Brewer's Night" and meeting the brewer/co-founder of Peak Organic Brewing.  It was loud though, which made it really hard to conduct any club business.  Unfortunately no one has volunteered to host next months meeting, but we're covered for August and September.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: Beertracker on June 30, 2010, 09:51:31 PM
Believe it or not, we meet at a church! Well not exactly, but on church property. It's actually a log cabin used by the youth group & the naturalists for hiking the local trails. We outgrew meeting at members houses years ago, but that may be you best option to start. Good luck finding a home!  ;)
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: IHBHS on July 01, 2010, 11:59:05 PM
Our club (the Mid Columbia Zymurgy Association or MCZA) meets in the brewery at Ice Harbor Brewing Co.  It's a nice atmosphere, being able to hold your HBC meetings in a working brewery.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: bobw on July 18, 2010, 05:19:44 PM
My club is in the same boat as Denny's club. We are in Grants Pass Oregon and are meeting at Wild River Brewery. They let us bring homebrew for tasting at the meetings. With all the stuff going on right now in Oregon about home brew as President I'm going to disallow all homebrew tasting at meetings. I don't want to get Wild River in trouble with OLCC.. We may need to come up with a temporary fix for now. Maybe weekend tastings at members homes.

Bob
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: skyler on July 18, 2010, 09:11:48 PM
See if you can use some local public school space, maybe a u of o facility or some portion of a community college. Since it is summer, a high school or grammar school might be an option.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: thomasbarnes on July 21, 2010, 07:05:39 AM
Look for any venue which is willing to host wedding receptions and the like, but which doesn't serve alcohol on site. That means that they've probably got the insurance policy which allows people to bring alcohol on site, but no problems with stupid laws about bringing alcohol into a bar.

Some private clubs, like the Elks or Moose Lodge, might have rooms you can rent which aren't technically part of the members bar. Some churches might also have rooms available.

Once you've got a location you like, do what it takes to get in good with them. Pack out your trash. Clean up your messes. Don't let your members get obnoxious. Do them favors. Try to throw some trade their way.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: LeslieC on August 28, 2018, 03:54:56 PM
Drib Pro Quo  (DRInkers with Brewing PROblems QUOrum) Clark County Washington.

We meet quarterly, which means seasonally. Our quarterly meetings are in fact a seasonal brew challenge or contest to which the host comes up with prizes and awards for the winner(s). Perimeters of the challenge are set by each host.  Host means that our challenges are usually held in a members home. But not always.

Quarterly meetings means less burnout than monthly. The challenge gives us a method for learning how to brew better. And it's just a whole lot of fun. The quarterly challenge also gives a better focus on all the beers of each season.

Anyway.  My 2 cents.

Les.
DPQ
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: mabrungard on August 28, 2018, 06:23:11 PM
This is a bit of a Necro thread, but I'll add.

State laws do impact what some clubs can do for meeting places. Having a comfortable and quiet place so that members and guests can gather and get some value and information is important. A noisy bar or restaurant isn't ideal since its difficult to have a conversation in the group. But it is important to have meetings in an open and public place if you hope to get guests to stop by and check your club out. Who would want to go to someone's house that you don't know???

So meeting at a homebrew shop, back room of some restaurant or bar, or club house is a reasonable goal. The reality is that they are hard to come by.

I also find that not all meetings should be educational, nor should every meeting be a social or party time. A mix of meetings is OK.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: James K on September 02, 2018, 03:44:57 PM
I think talking to your lhbs is one of the best ideas. That is where our club meets. We had met at two breweries before but one kicked us out because they didn’t want our club taking up space for their guests, and the other brewery was in production when we were there so it was hard to hear our club meetings.

We got around meeting at one of those breweries by saying we were a tasting panel (should the dept of liquor show up) because those panels are legal in my state. The brewery also wasn’t open for business though.

After switching to the lhbs we have been there about a year, grown in size, had many new people come and just check our club out, and, I would say our club and shop have grown in the past year.

I was filling in at the lhbs last week and it was really easy to tell people there was a club, and when I go to club meeting sometimes I can buy things I need almost last minute.

Try to talk to a shop owner.
Title: Re: Location ideas for homebrew club meetings
Post by: schubrew on September 24, 2018, 04:06:22 PM
Some outside the box ideas for club meetings

Churches - specifically Catholic Churches - usually have great meeting rooms with kitchens and don't mind beer. Great place to recruit potential new members also especially if they have a knights of Columbus group

VFW, Rotary Club, American Legion, Union Halls - local organizations that usually have great meeting location already and can make great partners for events in the future

Banks - Most local banks have a meeting room that they usually allow local organizations to use for free.

Event spaces are a little harder but if there are days where they get no business might be willing to work with you.

My biggest recommendation is to work to get your club 503c nonprofit status from the beginning it will open up a lot of opportunities and more places will be willing to work with you.