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Messages - olllllo

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Here is a list of our benefits:
I'd list them here, but they are far too numerous.

We let the businesses decide if they want to discount or provide a kickback.

I suggest you start with the LHBS since they may already provide an informal discount.
Next I would approach any business that provides an AHA discount and see if they'll provide the same for you.

I try to limit the number of businesses (bear in mind our club covers a 100 sq mile area and 500 members so our list is pretty large) participating and target locally owned independent places.

I'm not sure if we're ready for Phase 2 but we are considering an optional $100 buy in to get on our membership card. The business would get a door sticker and a sign like this:

All discounts would still be listed free of charge.

Card looks like this:

Club Leadership & Organization / Re: Dues & such
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:29:04 PM »
Jimmy, the buck a meeting model seems like a great idea as long as the majority of your costs are meeting related such as cups, water, crackers, etc. For a club like ours, I think it breaks down when money is spent as a benefit to the club over a long term. Another example would be throwing a big party or picnic for the club using club funds. Someone who came to one meeting and spent a dollar could come to the party the following week and consume $20 worth of food and drink. It's an extreme example, but mostly realistic IMHO.

We're lucky that our regular meeting supplies, space, even cleanup are donated by Dogfish Head. The case of somebody showing up to one meeting and then attending a sponsored event is certainly plausible. I think our club is just close knit enough that when it happens, nobody worries about it.

How do you manage to track all that. Especially at the door. We're using barcode IDs and we still have a backlog getting to our meeting.

General Homebrew Discussion / The Hot Scotchy
« on: February 06, 2012, 06:57:20 PM »
I was introduced to the Hot Scotchy tradition a few years back by pro brewer Jim Strelau of Oak Creek brewing. I've taken the tradition to other homebrewers that I know through and my local club ASH

The Hot Scotchy is explained here (and this is the earliest print reference I could find) :

"The origins of the following ritual are rather sketchy, but the late Russell Scherer is often credited with introducing it to the craft-brewing scene. Jim learned about hot scotchies from Artie Tafoya on a very cold, snowy day when he was brewing at the Hubcap Brewery in Vail, Colorado. The process is very simple. once you have recirculated and clarified your wort, draw off about a pint of first runnings, leaving enough room in the glass for an ounce of good single malt whisky. Add the scotch, mix well, and drink. The rich malt sugar of the wort combines wonderfully with the whisky - particularly a peatier Islay or lowland scotch - to make a delicious warm drink that gives you a nice energy boost during your brew day. A hot scotchie at the beginning of the lauter can help prevent stuck mashes - or at least make them easier to cope with when they occur."
Ray Daniels | Jim Parker "Brown Ale", Classic Beer Style Series, p. 109

Inspired by the writing of Jeff Alworth and The New School, I wrote something for a local publication

We've found that the Hot Scotchy is a vehicle to take beer to places that it has not normally been. As a club, we're able to work with establishments with liquor licenses and work with their kitchens to make a mash. This allow our homebrewers to assist in making a product that we can use to explain how beer is made and its relation to distilling. Since we obviously can't pour hombrewed beer at a bar, this is the next best thing. We have also made wort for events where liquor samples are served. If you're enterprising, your club might be able to work out a deal where proceeds go to your club.

As such we've got these events going for our beer week,

I didn't see any other place where the Hot Scotchy was mentioned in this way, so I thought I'd start this thread. I also started this  Facebook page

Feel free to contribute in any way that you can with information on the history and pictures!


Club Leadership & Organization / Re: Dealing with Club Growth
« on: July 29, 2011, 11:33:06 PM »

We bought this PA
It's portable and spendy (see dues discussion) but it works great.

Club Leadership & Organization / Re: Dues & such
« on: July 15, 2011, 04:30:51 PM »
We need to re-look this issue as well.

I suspect we may split the difference and go $30/$45.
After all, the AHA has individual and family and Full Conference and Social Pkg for that matter.

We may also offer $10 off if they renew in December of 2011 for 2012. Money today, right.

Which brings up another dues topic... time frame.

I'm assuming our club, like many others that I have heard, does Jan - Dec pricing to keep things simple.
I understand that some clubs pro-rate, that's some thing we don't do for a couple reasons.

1) It requires some actual book keeping.
2) Our biggest event is Oktoberfest. There is no way we'd let you become a $10 member for that.

The biggest problem that we've had is flatting our revenue curve.
This is our historical dues collection curve:

  • We get an initial surge in numbers for Dec for the next year.
  • It Drops off until we get a small bump for Springfest (mostly guilt related)
  • Next the Summer swoon
  • Finally the upsurge for OFest and the drop to nothing

All things being equal (total members gained through out the year), I'd rather have this:

We approach the more ideal curve by requiring members be in good standing for some events, but really the best of all situations is to have anniversary renewals. The devil in that detail is managing 500 individual anniversaries.

There really isn't anyway to do that without some serious membership management automation. This is a topic I will post in it's own thread at some point. We've basically gone barcoded membership discount cards for attendance. We have yet to do the individual billing dates.

Club Leadership & Organization / Re: Dealing with Club Growth
« on: June 30, 2011, 04:12:16 PM »
You may not have the luxury of time or resources to do this, but we've alleviated some the "beer drinker" problem in a couple of ways.
We really try and push beer education. We encourage them to be BJCP and/or Cicerone trained. At meetings, I'll generally press the non-brewers into service first with the setup and tear down/clean up. It used to be we had perhaps 100 brewers and 400 drinkers/Oktoberfest attendees. A recent survey tells us that we now have 350 brewers.

We've also began a series of happy hour meet ups at bars and breweries which give people the opportunity to get their drink on outside of the general/business meeting and out side of our rental space. Our membership provides discounts ( so we may have a portion of our members just buying memberships for the discount. The net for those people is they gave us money for one of our sponsors/partners to give them a discount. I don't think its an issue yet.

Pro brewer guests have always been a double edged sword.
Sometimes the presentation skills aren't there.
Sometimes their process is un-relatable or the information given is just flat out wrong (mostly the science, not the technique).
Even when the guest is compelling and the information is spot-on, we sometimes hear from the members that we should do more homebrewing presentations. We're a homebrewer club not a craft beer club.

We've set a goal to always have some technical homebrew or style presentation regardless of the guest we bring in. We try to keep the format predictable although we've had some recent challenges in getting this done.
We try to present club business and then always have a link back on our website to continue the conversation or get more information.
We began writing a synopsis of each meeting for the website.

Club Leadership & Organization / Re: Dealing with Club Growth
« on: June 27, 2011, 05:26:04 PM »
Our club exploded in growth a few years ago. We're now one of the largest clubs in the country.
I can't speak on what happened during the rapid growth period since I wasn't on the board at the time. The current board inherited this homebrewing machine.

Here's what I can tell you.

1) If you aren't growing, you're dying. Every aspect of the homebrewing hobby is growing. Craft beer is growing. You merely have to exist to grow. If you're not, you might be headed for trouble. Another club in our area has been shrinking; losing brewers; struggling to do the things they used to love to do.

2) Know the limits of your growth. There is a size your club can grow to where you can still meet in people's homes. It's different for each club. You may be able to meet at a business , bar, brewery or restaurant. Once you have 100 people coming consistently to your meetings, things begin to be uncomfortable in those types of environments. Homes become too small, you become too dependent on one business. Insurance and liability become an issue. Your state DLLC (or ABC) starts to become interested. We're beyond this point as a club, we have to rent space to meet. Once this happens several things change.

a) You will most certainly want insurance if you don't already have it. We have a policy for our club with liquor liability. It wasn't easy to come by, but it has to be done once you get large.

b) At some point, growing your club through dues alone will not be sustainable. You will have to raise money through raffles, merchandise, events and flat out begging industry businesses. Revenues gained where homebrew is given away are fairly risky. It only takes one agent to decide it's against the law. A couple of things that help us are selling overall and event sponsorship to breweries, having a business give a percentage of our business back to the club and raffles. Begin to raise funds that are not dependent on your dues.

c) Recognize that you are as large as many industry businesses like homebrew stores, breweries, bars. As a member, your group is a club and it should have a club feel. As a board member, you need to look at it as a business or at the very least a well run non-profit. Don't run the club with a hobby mentality. It's a subtle mindset thing, but I assure you, it changes your focus.

3) If you have a Brewer's Guild in your state, see if you can join it. If there isn't one, start one. As a club that is growing, your club has significant value to the craft beer industry. Don't be afraid to market your selves to them. I'm sure you're already getting things like glassware, shirts, etc from places. Ask them what they'd like to see in return. Find out if they'd be willing to offer more. Glassware is a nice raffle item, but maybe the brewery is willing to offer more for formal recognition by the club. Position your club as a group of opinion-makers in your local beer scene. Encourage your members to let businesses know that they are from your club. Formalize discount programs and provide recognition for businesses that participate.

4) Even though we are one large club, we have several informal clubs within that club. Recognize those groups and work with the leaders of those groups to work on projects. Sub-groups occur in even the smallest clubs, so don't think that this is a large club only trait.

5) Look for ways to incorporate growth into your by-laws. We recently put in a clause that allow the board to expand when membership expands and contracts if membership declines. If you are going to grow or limit growth tie those to certain conditions (i.e. So long as we are able to meet at x business, our maximum growth will be y).

That's off the top of my head this AM. More to come.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Virtual Homebrew Clubs And Competition
« on: June 23, 2011, 04:56:31 PM »
This supposed virtual homebrew club juggernaut is really a non-issue.

As I type this now, there is a homebrew forum much much larger than any of the ones listed. In fact there are almost as many registered members on-line right now than BN has in total.
734 members and 1213 guests
Most users ever online was 2763, 12-21-2010 at 12:17 PM.

There are 77435 active profiles on that site.

I know that some people have used Homebrewtalk Brewers as their club. Most use a local club or the BN. HBT is too large and decentralized for that sort of thing. Compare that to the BN where they have been fairly effective at mobilizing people and utilizing probably a core two dozen members to offer leadership to get things done. All of this despite not having office holders or physical presence, etc.

Lets just say for argument sake, they continue to grow members and entries. It's going to be harder and harder for an organization that size to keep momentum and keep people cohesive.

I say this because I am in arguably the largest homebrew club in the country-- The Arizona Society of Homebrewers (ASH). We have over 250 paid members for the calendar year right now. Historically our numbers will reach 500 by the end of October. Recent surveys indicate that about 350 of those members are brewers or have homebrewed.  By the way, I DON'T know all of the members by name or face.

In years past, most of our resources and energies aren't spent on the NHC. This year we spent a month or two promoting club night and getting people to enter. For the first time in a long time, our club got 7 entries in the final round and we took one gold. I also know that some of our members entered beers under other clubs and also the BN.

You see the larger you get, the more desire there is for some people to get small.  Going back to the Patriots example, it's hard to keep that momentum going repeatedly year after year. You lose people that want to start their own thing or stand out at a more local club.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Virtual Homebrew Clubs And Competition
« on: June 22, 2011, 08:29:48 PM »
This controversy will all end when clubs offer up their attendance, membership lists, addresses, finances and by-laws for an AHA audit. I just sent mine off to Boulder where a team of bureaucrats will comb through them. ::)

Seriously, I bet 10% of clubs actually take attendance and collect dues on-time.

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