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Messages - smkranz

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It sounds to me like you're looking for something that will cost $$$ and potentially take at least as much time maintaining as you currently spend.  I did look around for membership software solutions, driven mostly by email management, but ended up deciding that the cost was ridiculous.

We also use a simple Google Sheet for our roster.  Because all of our memberships renew at the same time, we do not have much to maintain.  Invoices go out once a year, in late November or early December, which our Treasurer and I use as an excuse to get together with a few beers and pizza.  Sort the spreadsheet by Member Type (Single, Couple, Spouse), then bulk copy and paste email addresses from the sheet into a PayPal invoice 20 or so at a time.  Singles and Couples get invoiced for different amounts, and Spouses don't get invoiced at all.  This literally takes us less than an hour once a year.  Then we check back in about February, see who has paid with PayPal (or cash/check directly to the Treasurer), and update the Year Paid column on the spreadsheet.  A couple more beers and another pizza.  If there are stragglers who haven't paid, it is a simple matter to sort the Sheet by Year Paid and send a reminder email by copying and pasting email addresses in bulk.

New members require a little bit of manual work: adding them to the roster spreadsheet, adding them to the Google Group, and if they request it, approving their access to the Members Only page of our web site and our FaceBook Group.

The biggest hassle we had was managing our email distribution list.  We were using various Comcast email accounts with forwarding filters set up.  That got way out of hand maintaining multiple filters to add/edit/delete people's addresses as they came and went.

The solution was the Google Group.  Set it and forget it.  Enter addresses once as people join.  Then whoever you want to set with the authority to send club-wide emails, has only to send one email to the Group address and it goes out to everyone.  No one gets accidentally left off.

We have membership card capability by creating a PDF with two editable fields (Name, and Year).  It is uploaded to the Members Only page of our web site which requires a login to access.  (It is a Google Site linked to our domain.)  I honestly don't know if anyone actually uses it, the only purpose of which would be to get a discount at one of several area homebrew shops.  But they all honor our club discount without the need for a card.

We use a Google Group for club-wide email distribution.  You can set members' level of access so for example, only officers can send club-wide emails.  It's working very well, one email to the club Group address from an authorized person gets forwarded to everyone.  PayPal for dues invoicing, which is connected to our club's checking account.  The Cavemen in the club still pay with cash.  Facebook is our message board.  We hover around 80-90 members.  All our memberships are on a Jan-Dec calendar year.  For new members, they pay a little more than the annual dues the first year, but that gets them the rest of that year plus the following year.

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Kegging and Bottling / Beer tap signs from Michaels
« on: May 30, 2017, 03:34:38 PM »
Who knew that Michaels (the arts and crafts chain store) had a homebrewing department?  I recently added these small self-standing chalkboard signs to my new 2-faucet kegerator in lieu of chalkboard or other changeable faucet handles.  They were $.99 each, plus $8 for a pack of "chalk markers" in 5 colors.  They wipe absolutely clean with a damp paper towel for repeated use.

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Beer Travel / Re: San Diego-Pacific Beach
« on: May 29, 2017, 04:37:32 PM »
Lost Abbey.  A little bit of a drive north in San Marcos.  (I have not been to The Confessional which looks like it might be a little closer.)

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Club Night 2017
« on: May 03, 2017, 05:53:34 PM »
There is nothing at all wrong with simplicity at Club Night.  One year (in Philly) we did a fairly ornate booth.  We had a great theme and it was an artistic success.  But it was also a h.u.g.e. pain in the rear to set up.  And then there was the break-down part.  Never again.  (It didn't help that the convention center in Philly seemed like it was a mile-long hike back to our rooms.)  That part was almost as fun as filling out I.R.S. forms (we don't do that, either).

My personal m.o. as a Club Night consumer, is to taste anything that sounds different, or if someone tells me they tasted a great beer at a particular booth.  Rarely have I been disappointed.

On pre-screening beers before going, we have never done that.  Someone in our club wants to serve a beer to the country, I trust their judgment, and no one around here wants hurt feelings if someone thinks another member's beer is unworthy.  The only thing we have done is to try to avoid having duplicates of the same style.

Until getting a Tower of Power stand, I used an old wooden stool to mount my chiller and pump.

I personally think if you are concerned about the volume of waste water, your best best it to just try to capture it and re-use it for something later, like watering your garden, washing dishes, etc.  The water that discharges from my plate chiller is h.o.t. and if you tried recycling it with cold packs and running it back through the chiller, you'd be there all day and all night long.

I never check local prices vs. online.  In central Maryland we are fortunate that there are 4 LHBS within 45 minutes, most of which also offer a homebrew club or AHA discount.

I shop online (Williams and morebeer, never again NB or Midwest) once in a blue moon when there's a specialty item, or for which I don't feel like making a separate trip.  I also try to make at least one purchase a year from them to meet a requirement that at least one of them has before they'll donate a prize for a homebrew competition.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Favorite Brew Music
« on: March 31, 2017, 03:51:34 PM »
Toe-tapping old time & bluegrass, like this:

The Pub / Re: Good Guy Guinness?
« on: March 22, 2017, 05:52:45 PM »
The House vote was unanimous.  Delegates voted for something they were told was supported by breweries, which was false.  I believe that many of them voted for this thinking they doing something good.  But it seems that they had to pass the bill so they could know what was in it. 

The most disgusting part of the bill as passed is the part that forces breweries which reach the 2,000 barrel sales threshold, to sell the rest of their 3,000 barrel allotment to a wholesaler from whom they have to buy it back in order to sell it to customers in their own tasting room!  This is also evidence that wholesalers and retailers have a much better lobby, and pay more grease money, than brewers.

Our club has raised this to our state senator who has promised that he will review the bill before voting on it, which is unlike his House counterparts.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: cleaning bottles
« on: March 14, 2017, 10:04:48 AM »
I personally would not be comfortable using bottles that had not been sanitized shortly before use. There are just too many ways for contaminants to find their way in while the bottles are stored, so sanitation is not an area where I want to take any shortcuts.

I second this.  If your bottles are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed out after their contents have been poured, I would skip the whole bleach thing.  Store the clean and dry bottles in case boxes, and on bottling day either soak them if that's your preference, or give them a sanitizing squirt with the Vinator.  (Either way, I prefer the non-foaming SaniClean over Star San for bottle sanitizing.)  An added advantage for me to sanitizing right before bottling, is that I generally bottle carbonated beer from a keg with a Beer Gun, and the pre-wetted bottles help minimize foaming.

The Pub / Re: Good Guy Guinness?
« on: March 08, 2017, 08:53:47 PM »
Reports have said that the new brewery will produce Blonde American Lager and experimental beers.  Apparently not Guinness Stout, which is also one of my favorites.  Tsk...

The Pub / Re: Good Guy Guinness?
« on: March 08, 2017, 06:48:44 PM »
Well, the originally-filed bill would have applied only to the proposed new Guinness brewery, which suggests that they chose not to ask the local breweries how that would fly.  No one in the Brewers Association of Maryland objects to them coming in, they just want a level playing field.  So Guinness learned quickly that playing nice with the locals would get them farther than going it alone, particularly with opposition from retailers and distributors.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: New to Kegging and have some questions
« on: February 02, 2017, 02:54:58 PM »
I was thinking more of the number of gas lines and fridge or kegerator space.  But I use 20 lb. tanks which sit on top of each of my 2 beer fridges.

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: New to Kegging and have some questions
« on: February 01, 2017, 05:33:51 PM »
The only reason in my mind to prime beer in a keg, would be if you don't have capacity in your system to connect it to gas and get it cold.

Wood/Casks / Re: Care for New Bourbon Barrel
« on: January 24, 2017, 06:24:39 PM »
If you know that the barrel was just emptied a week ago, thats a very fresh barrel.  I've used 3 different small barrels, and suggest your friend just keep it sealed up and cool until his beer is ready to go in.  I wouldn't put anything in it...water, sanitizer, whiskey, nothing.  Also why they would wait 3 weeks after brewing to fill the barrel?  I'd just wait until the most active fermentation is over one week or so, and fill that puppy up.

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