Author Topic: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss  (Read 1877 times)

Offline brian_welch

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BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« on: April 12, 2019, 03:59:11 PM »
I would like to get input from the august members of this forum to something that has bothered me for a while.  Basically, I have a far greater interest in homebrewing than I do in craft beer, and I feel like craft beer in America  owes way more to homebrewers than vice versa. 

And yet I can't help but feel that the AHA, because of its relationship with the Brewers Association, is viewed as a marketing wing for "independent" or "craft" (or whatever it is calling itself these days) brewing rather than focusing 100% on advocating for homebrewing and improving homebrewing.  I'm not saying that there aren't synergies between BA and the AHA and that they shouldn't work together where it makes sense, but I feel like homebrewing gets treated like the red-headed stepchild sometimes and is tolerated because homebrewers are reliable craft beer purchasers. The biggest and most annoying example for me is the annual Zymurgy Best Beers in America poll and issue.  I joined the AHA to discuss and learn about brewing my own damn beer, not to discuss craft beer.

Am I the only one that feels this way? If so I'll shut up.  But the older I get and the more the craft beer world becomes pastry stouts and IPAs, the more homebrew I drink. What say you?  Is there too much craft beer/BA influence over the AHA?
Brian Welch
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Offline rburrelli

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2019, 04:35:50 PM »
I simply don’t understand why this annual report upsets so many homebrewers. It is simply information to use or not to use.  Your choice.  I do not mind knowing who is on the list. Gives me opportunities to check them out.  If you consider this marketing or advertising, so be it.

I don’t know the exact relationship between BA and AHA, and neither do you.  But I do assume AHA is advocating for us and not for craft brewers per se.

I will agree that there are some trends in craft brewing that are a bit out of the norm.  But hearing about them only provides me with more information about what is going on in the beer universe. I don’t choose to be cloistered in my own little circle. I am sure you don’t either.
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Offline denny

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2019, 04:36:21 PM »
I hear you, but I don't necessarily agree.  I really don't have much care about what commercial breweries are doing.  I'm a homebrewer and intend to stay that way.  But from my perspective, the AHA only gives the members what the majority wants.  One of my goals on the GC is to try to keep the focus on homebrew.  Personally, I'm not real happy about the fact that the keynote speaker at every conference is a commercial brewer.  We have lots of great homebrewers with experience and perspective to share.  But that's not what a majority of homebrewers want.  MANY homebrewers harbor dreams of going commercial...more than I ever would have guessed.  We can't ignore that.

I can assure you that the AHA remains a strong advocate of homebrewing and the fact that they feature a lot of commercial brewing doesn't diminish that fact.  I have my own issues with the "Best Beers" thing, but again, I'm not the majority.

Let me turn this around to see of we can get some ideas...what would you like the AHA to be doing in regard to homebrewing that it isn't doing?  Is there something missing?  If so, let us know and we'll try to find a solution.  If you simply object to the coverage of commercial brewing, you can do what I do....ignore it.
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Online dmtaylor

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2019, 04:39:24 PM »
Meh.  I'm pretty laid back, go with the flow.  Political type discussions generally do not excite me.  I for one intend to kick back, relax, and not worry.

 8)

Cheers.
Dave

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Offline brian_welch

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2019, 05:03:50 PM »
I simply don’t understand why this annual report upsets so many homebrewers. It is simply information to use or not to use.  Your choice.  I do not mind knowing who is on the list. Gives me opportunities to check them out.  If you consider this marketing or advertising, so be it.

I don’t know the exact relationship between BA and AHA, and neither do you.  But I do assume AHA is advocating for us and not for craft brewers per se.

I will agree that there are some trends in craft brewing that are a bit out of the norm.  But hearing about them only provides me with more information about what is going on in the beer universe. I don’t choose to be cloistered in my own little circle. I am sure you don’t either.

From the footer on the AHA website: The AHA is a "division of the Brewers Association."

The Brewers Association "is an organization of brewers, for brewers and by brewers. More than 4,956 US brewery members and 46,000 members of the American Homebrewers Association are joined by members of the allied trade, beer distributors, individuals, other associate members and the Brewers Association staff to make up the Brewers Association." https://www.brewersassociation.org/brewers-association/purpose/

But what is the purpose of the Brewers Association?
"To promote and protect American craft brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts."

I don't know the annual best beers in America issue bothers me so much, but it does and I know I'm not alone.  Just seems like a waste of pages that should be spent on homebrewing.


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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2019, 05:05:41 PM »
I imagine there is a lot going on in the background with the AHA and what they do for homebrewing.  Will I, being in NH, know what's going on in Texas with regards to Homebrewing laws?  Probably not, but I bet those in TX appreciate it.

I take Best of Beer lists with a grain of CaCL2...every list will be different and maybe the best beer in America is being made in Boise, ID but only a select few can get it.
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Offline brian_welch

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2019, 05:21:30 PM »
I hear you, but I don't necessarily agree.  I really don't have much care about what commercial breweries are doing.  I'm a homebrewer and intend to stay that way.  But from my perspective, the AHA only gives the members what the majority wants.  One of my goals on the GC is to try to keep the focus on homebrew.  Personally, I'm not real happy about the fact that the keynote speaker at every conference is a commercial brewer.  We have lots of great homebrewers with experience and perspective to share.  But that's not what a majority of homebrewers want.  MANY homebrewers harbor dreams of going commercial...more than I ever would have guessed.  We can't ignore that.

I can assure you that the AHA remains a strong advocate of homebrewing and the fact that they feature a lot of commercial brewing doesn't diminish that fact.  I have my own issues with the "Best Beers" thing, but again, I'm not the majority.

Let me turn this around to see of we can get some ideas...what would you like the AHA to be doing in regard to homebrewing that it isn't doing?  Is there something missing?  If so, let us know and we'll try to find a solution.  If you simply object to the coverage of commercial brewing, you can do what I do....ignore it.

Love your keynote example.

Let me be clear. I think the AHA does a great job. I think Zymurgy is a great magazine. I don't think I want more from the AHA. I just have a sense that there is a slightly unsavory and unspoken connection between the AHA and the BA. There are 46,000 dues paying members of the AHA.  Are those dues enough to cover the costs of running the AHA if it were independent of the Brewers Association?  I don't know. If not, I'd like to know that.  Maybe I'm naive and maybe I'm an idealist, but there is something pure and good about the hobby of homebrewing and I'd like to keep it that way.
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2019, 05:26:16 PM »
I simply don’t understand why this annual report upsets so many homebrewers. It is simply information to use or not to use.  Your choice.  I do not mind knowing who is on the list. Gives me opportunities to check them out.  If you consider this marketing or advertising, so be it.

I don't really mind it, but it seems like it's a bit pointless from a few perspectives.
  • It emphasizes large and national beer brands, which is counterproductive to the BA's drink local/independent approach.
  • It misses a lot of great beer, at at very least interesting beer. Pliny and Two Hearted are great beer, but is it interesting? There's nothing new or interesting for either one.
  • It takes time and space away from other content. I'd rather read someone on the latest IPA, or traditional brewing in north central Siberia, or the latest yeast.

If they're going to promote craft beer, I'd rather see something more regionally focused. A breakdown of brewing trends in each region, and great craft beers for each you can try might be a more beneficial read for me as a homebrewer.

I think the AHA has done a lot of good stuff for homebrewers. I don't know how much support the BA gives the AHA, if any, but it's quite possible shared resources allows the AHA to perform a lot more outreach.


Offline smkranz

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2019, 05:29:39 PM »
The biggest and most annoying example for me is the annual Zymurgy Best Beers in America poll and issue.  I joined the AHA to discuss and learn about brewing my own damn beer, not to discuss craft beer.

I've been brewing for ~25 years, but still find myself buying more craft beer than ever, because there are so many out there and I want to know them.  IMHO the poll has relevance to us (at least, me) as beer consumers.  I don't doubt your annoyance, but I don't get it.  I skip a lot of content when an article, or beer style discussion, or recipes are of no particular interest to me.  So I recommend just skipping that content.  Life's too short...
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Offline denny

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2019, 05:54:55 PM »
I hear you, but I don't necessarily agree.  I really don't have much care about what commercial breweries are doing.  I'm a homebrewer and intend to stay that way.  But from my perspective, the AHA only gives the members what the majority wants.  One of my goals on the GC is to try to keep the focus on homebrew.  Personally, I'm not real happy about the fact that the keynote speaker at every conference is a commercial brewer.  We have lots of great homebrewers with experience and perspective to share.  But that's not what a majority of homebrewers want.  MANY homebrewers harbor dreams of going commercial...more than I ever would have guessed.  We can't ignore that.

I can assure you that the AHA remains a strong advocate of homebrewing and the fact that they feature a lot of commercial brewing doesn't diminish that fact.  I have my own issues with the "Best Beers" thing, but again, I'm not the majority.

Let me turn this around to see of we can get some ideas...what would you like the AHA to be doing in regard to homebrewing that it isn't doing?  Is there something missing?  If so, let us know and we'll try to find a solution.  If you simply object to the coverage of commercial brewing, you can do what I do....ignore it.

Love your keynote example.

Let me be clear. I think the AHA does a great job. I think Zymurgy is a great magazine. I don't think I want more from the AHA. I just have a sense that there is a slightly unsavory and unspoken connection between the AHA and the BA. There are 46,000 dues paying members of the AHA.  Are those dues enough to cover the costs of running the AHA if it were independent of the Brewers Association?  I don't know. If not, I'd like to know that.  Maybe I'm naive and maybe I'm an idealist, but there is something pure and good about the hobby of homebrewing and I'd like to keep it that way.

The AHA is required to cover its costs.  Sharing office space with the BA helps, but that's about it.  But it's hard for me to understand what the real problem is if the AHA is giving you want you want.    And before I start giving out wrong info, I'll stop and wait for Gary to get back from his trip and chime in.
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Offline brian_welch

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2019, 06:07:01 PM »
I think maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Too much work, not enough time to brew.



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Offline kramerog

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2019, 06:22:43 PM »
The Best Beer in America issue is kind of a waste of an issue for me.  However, it does give homebrewers somewhat of a voice in commercial brewing.  None of the big boy breweries ever made the list until they bought craft brewers.  I suspect that the bought craft breweries are somewhat devalued in the Best Beer rankings relative to market share.

Edit: I think the bought breweries are no longer on the list although that wasn't always the case in the past depending on the definition of craft.  While the Best Beer in America issue could be considered to be an ad for the Brewers Ass'n and its members particularly when other publications reprint the list, it is also an ad for the AHA.

Offline denny

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2019, 06:39:27 PM »
I think maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Too much work, not enough time to brew.

Boy, do I know that!
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2019, 06:55:37 PM »
Let me turn this around to see of we can get some ideas...what would you like the AHA to be doing in regard to homebrewing that it isn't doing?  Is there something missing?  If so, let us know and we'll try to find a solution.  If you simply object to the coverage of commercial brewing, you can do what I do....ignore it.

I’d like the AHA to be the go-to source of accurate, up-to-date information for homebrewing. It seems that articles are reprinted for years/decades without update to the latest information.  Examples including the information on kegging, yeast rinsing, and the Scottish Ales come to mind.


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Online Robert

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Re: BA needs homebrewers more than homebrewers need BA--discuss
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2019, 07:07:35 PM »
One thought occurs to me seeing this topic.  I'm a homebrewer.  I respect and admire, and envy, homebrewers who've gone pro.  But honestly, I don't like much Craft Beer.   I started homebrewing with the dream of going pro, ~30 years ago.   Back then, it was about the only way to get fresh examples of the classic styles I like.  Now I still homebrew largely because... it's the only way to get fresh examples of the classic styles I like.  (And yeah because I just dig it no matter what.)  So for me, and I'm sure a group  of others, there's a disconnect between us, and our interests in brewing, and what the industry represented by the BA has become.  We may be the minority in the AHA, and maybe most of us are getting long in the tooth, but we still pay our dues and believe the hobby should be fostered for future generations.   But indeed, we don't see ourselves as the amateur wing of the BA membership.   That ship has sailed.
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