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Offline jherzjherz

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A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« on: January 12, 2023, 03:37:00 pm »
Hello AHA Forum friends. Happy 2023.

I want to share what the American Homebrewers Association has in store for 2023. For a taste of what is new please check out my most recent Directors Cut column https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/news/directors-cut-looking-ahead-to-2023/.

We've announced going back to first round entry process for National Homebrew Competition https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/national-homebrew-competition/ (entry window opens 1/24), a new Zymurgy Live Webinar series https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/presentations/zymurgy-live/ (the first one is 1/25 with Charlie Papazian and Crispy Frey - WOW), AHA Governing Committee updates, our work on legalizing homebrew shipping and more. 

As always, please reach out direct if you have any questions, comments or simply want to talk beer.

Julia
American Homebrewers Association
julia@brewersassociation.org
HomebrewersAssociation.org https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/

« Last Edit: January 23, 2023, 06:57:04 pm by jherzjherz »
JULIA HERZ
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American Homebrewers Association | Boulder, CO 80302

Offline BrewBama

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A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2023, 05:47:27 am »
I apologize for this being so long. But I have been thinking about this along side the other post about why anyone other than white males don’t enter beers in competitions.

You want to grow membership? Three suggestions:

1) Quit running the organization like a woke trade group.  Run it like a motorcycle gang.  IOW run decentralized local chapters vs a centralized organization. (Example: the Army Aviation Alumni Association (AAAA https://www.quad-a.org/)). Not just a homebrew club that may or may not be a member of AHA but local chapters of a national organization. People want to belong to a local group of like minded individuals that share interests. Maybe a club can become a chapter or maybe several clubs make up a chapter. Maybe some clubs that make up a chapter will be all women, or Hispanic, or LGBQ… or just some members will be. Who cares. Quit focusing on the who and start focusing on the what.

2) Visit chapters. Snap photos. Publish them. It doesn’t have to be a forced event but when a member of leadership happens to be in an area and stops by a brewery for a beer tell some freakin body so they can meet and greet. Give the 2 minute elevator speech about where we’re headed and offer a toast. 30 minutes to an hour of management by walking around can do wonders to an organization.

3) Quit snubbing current membership. Find out where the membership is and meet them where they are. Quit with the excuses of the South can’t serve homebrew to the public. BS. We did it in Huntspatch and y’all were about to in Nastyville. Need nightlife, hotels, restaurants? Have you been to Knoxville, Atlanta, Asheville, Charleston, etc? Just quit with the excuses.

When I first started brewing beer in the 90(s) it was because I enjoy making stuff myself. I smoke meat, bake bread, cure bacon, garden, etc, etc. I wasn’t interested in sending my beer off to the county fair to have it judged against my neighbors to see who likes my beer. My satisfaction comes from combining raw ingredients into something I like to drink. That’s your target. Quit forcing diversity and find people. Not a certain gender. Not a certain color. Just people. People who like to make stuff. That target audience will naturally be diverse. Quit forcing it.

I had no idea there was a homebrew association back then. I later joined the AHA for a few years but was quickly turned off by the cost benefit analysis. As I said I don’t compete and it wasn’t worth me sending money to get a magazine full of advertisements for the latest shiny object, lists of competitors I don’t know, far off competitions, and endorsements and articles by celebrity homebrewers to add to the stack of other magazines in the bathroom. So I let my membership lapse years ago. The magazine and exclusive web access aren’t worth it to me.

Besides the negative cost benefit of membership, another reason I let my membership lapse is because of the big show put on every year on the West Coast, North, and N East Coast. The guys here have heard it before and I imagine they’re standing by with their ready made excuses. The fact is: Everyone is diligently working to try to grow the organization by including diverse groups while simultaneously ignoring the fact that over 25% of the current membership in the organization is based in the South yet hasn’t had a presence there in over a decade. Let that sink in.

A few years ago, the former grand poobah visited Nashville to set up the show there. Imagine that. All the excuses of why the show can’t come to the South were BS. Still are. Unfortunately, that show was cxl due to Covid. The show must go on so it’s back on the West Coast. Y’all have fun!

Turns out, during that visit, the grand poobah  made a whistle stop in Huntsville. Did he let anyone know he was in town? Nope. No AHA affiliated homebrew club came out to meet him. No announcement on AHA forum for a meet and greet. No one knew. Nada. He stopped by a local brewery drank a beer and snapped a photo with Keith. That’s how the local AHA members found out he was here. After the fact. What a wasted opportunity to touch base with local members that have been snubbed for over a decade. That photo could have been a few local homebrewers hoisting a glass at that brewery.  It could have been put in the magazine, here on the forum, and on the local clubs’ webpages. More beer sold for the brewery, membership getting a chance to rub elbows with the chief, photo op for the clubs and AHA. Win-win-win.  But no. The opportunity was squandered. Once again a snub to the members in the South.

And finally; We had a little fundraiser a while back. Local homebrewers brought donated, untaxed, homebrewed beer so the sponsor could sell a taster glass to the public to try the beer.  A cpl clubs came with a few members each. Here’s the thing: the ‘unaffiliated’ tent had more homebrewers under it than one of the clubs and was on par with the other. No one asked who anybody slept with, no one noticed what color the homebrewers or tasters were, no one asked what pronouns were used. No one cares. In the Deep South. We cared about coming together as homebrewers and the public to raise money for a cause. It was a naturally diverse group.

I was in the Army 21 yrs. The Army set up a framework to allow people from all walks of life to volunteer. I didn’t care who the soldier was next to me. I didn’t care what color they were, what sex they were, or what they did on their off time in their bedroom. What I cared about was performance. Can they do the job they were trained to do. Can they complete the mission.  I have many brothers and sisters I love and respect from all races, ethnic groups, genders, etc. That stuff just doesn’t matter.

The point: quit focusing on the who and start focusing on the what. Set up a framework so diversity can happen naturally. Quit forcing it.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2023, 07:54:47 am by BrewBama »

Offline Amy Martin

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2023, 09:28:25 am »
Thanks for sharing this, Julia! I'm getting super excited for Zymurgy Live. Also, that photo is just great  ;D
2023 is going to be a kick-butt year for homebrewing, I can just feel it!

Hello AHA Forum friends. Happy 2023.

I want to share what the American Homebrewers Association has in store for 2023. For a taste of what is new please check out my most recent Directors Cut column https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/news/directors-cut-looking-ahead-to-2023/.

We've announced going back to first round entry process for National Homebrew Competition https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/national-homebrew-competition/ (entry window opens 1/24), a new Zymurgy Live Webinar series https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/presentations/zymurgy-live/ (the first one is 1/25 with Charlie Papazian and Crispy Frey - WOW), AHA Governing Committee updates, our work on legalizing homebrew shipping and more. 

As always, please reach out direct if you have any questions, comments or simply want to talk beer.

Julia
American Homebrewers Association
julia@brewersassociation.org
HomebrewersAssociation.org https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/


Amy Martin
AHA Governing Committee Vice Chair
Michigan

"God made yeast, as well as dough, and loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Want to connect? Find me on Instagram: @polkadots_pints

Offline mainebrewer

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2023, 10:32:19 am »
I apologize for this being so long. But I have been thinking about this along side the other post about why anyone other than white males don’t enter beers in competitions.

You want to grow membership? Three suggestions:

1) Quit running the organization like a woke trade group.  Run it like a motorcycle gang.  IOW run decentralized local chapters vs a centralized organization. (Example: the Army Aviation Alumni Association (AAAA https://www.quad-a.org/)). Not just a homebrew club that may or may not be a member of AHA but local chapters of a national organization. People want to belong to a local group of like minded individuals that share interests. Maybe a club can become a chapter or maybe several clubs make up a chapter. Maybe some clubs that make up a chapter will be all women, or Hispanic, or LGBQ… or just some members will be. Who cares. Quit focusing on the who and start focusing on the what.

2) Visit chapters. Snap photos. Publish them. It doesn’t have to be a forced event but when a member of leadership happens to be in an area and stops by a brewery for a beer tell some freakin body so they can meet and greet. Give the 2 minute elevator speech about where we’re headed and offer a toast. 30 minutes to an hour of management by walking around can do wonders to an organization.

3) Quit snubbing current membership. Find out where the membership is and meet them where they are. Quit with the excuses of the South can’t serve homebrew to the public. BS. We did it in Huntspatch and y’all were about to in Nastyville. Need nightlife, hotels, restaurants? Have you been to Knoxville, Atlanta, Asheville, Charleston, etc? Just quit with the excuses.

When I first started brewing beer in the 90(s) it was because I enjoy making stuff myself. I smoke meat, bake bread, cure bacon, garden, etc, etc. I wasn’t interested in sending my beer off to the county fair to have it judged against my neighbors to see who likes my beer. My satisfaction comes from combining raw ingredients into something I like to drink. That’s your target. Quit forcing diversity and find people. Not a certain gender. Not a certain color. Just people. People who like to make stuff. That target audience will naturally be diverse. Quit forcing it.

I had no idea there was a homebrew association back then. I later joined the AHA for a few years but was quickly turned off by the cost benefit analysis. As I said I don’t compete and it wasn’t worth me sending money to get a magazine full of advertisements for the latest shiny object, lists of competitors I don’t know, far off competitions, and endorsements and articles by celebrity homebrewers to add to the stack of other magazines in the bathroom. So I let my membership lapse years ago. The magazine and exclusive web access aren’t worth it to me.

Besides the negative cost benefit of membership, another reason I let my membership lapse is because of the big show put on every year on the West Coast, North, and N East Coast. The guys here have heard it before and I imagine they’re standing by with their ready made excuses. The fact is: Everyone is diligently working to try to grow the organization by including diverse groups while simultaneously ignoring the fact that over 25% of the current membership in the organization is based in the South yet hasn’t had a presence there in over a decade. Let that sink in.

A few years ago, the former grand poobah visited Nashville to set up the show there. Imagine that. All the excuses of why the show can’t come to the South were BS. Still are. Unfortunately, that show was cxl due to Covid. The show must go on so it’s back on the West Coast. Y’all have fun!

Turns out, during that visit, the grand poobah  made a whistle stop in Huntsville. Did he let anyone know he was in town? Nope. No AHA affiliated homebrew club came out to meet him. No announcement on AHA forum for a meet and greet. No one knew. Nada. He stopped by a local brewery drank a beer and snapped a photo with Keith. That’s how the local AHA members found out he was here. After the fact. What a wasted opportunity to touch base with local members that have been snubbed for over a decade. That photo could have been a few local homebrewers hoisting a glass at that brewery.  It could have been put in the magazine, here on the forum, and on the local clubs’ webpages. More beer sold for the brewery, membership getting a chance to rub elbows with the chief, photo op for the clubs and AHA. Win-win-win.  But no. The opportunity was squandered. Once again a snub to the members in the South.

And finally; We had a little fundraiser a while back. Local homebrewers brought donated, untaxed, homebrewed beer so the sponsor could sell a taster glass to the public to try the beer.  A cpl clubs came with a few members each. Here’s the thing: the ‘unaffiliated’ tent had more homebrewers under it than one of the clubs and was on par with the other. No one asked who anybody slept with, no one noticed what color the homebrewers or tasters were, no one asked what pronouns were used. No one cares. In the Deep South. We cared about coming together as homebrewers and the public to raise money for a cause. It was a naturally diverse group.

I was in the Army 21 yrs. The Army set up a framework to allow people from all walks of life to volunteer. I didn’t care who the soldier was next to me. I didn’t care what color they were, what sex they were, or what they did on their off time in their bedroom. What I cared about was performance. Can they do the job they were trained to do. Can they complete the mission.  I have many brothers and sisters I love and respect from all races, ethnic groups, genders, etc. That stuff just doesn’t matter.

The point: quit focusing on the who and start focusing on the what. Set up a framework so diversity can happen naturally. Quit forcing it.

Amen, brother!
"It's not that people are ignorant, it's just that they know so much that just isn't true." Ronald Reagan

Online Megary

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2023, 10:44:00 am »
From the "Director's Cut" link posted above:

Excitement and Optimism
Summarizing 2023 leaves me excited and optimistic, with an eye for growth. AHA growth means membership renewals and new memberships, both of which are essential to us and to the broader ecosystem of homebrewing as a hobby.

So, please renew and recruit with abandon while we continue to over-deliver on benefits that help you recoup your marginal membership cost exponentially. Can we grow our 37,000 AHA member community to 50,000? To 100,000? Just think of what we could do.


I'm a bit confused by this.  Is the end goal to increase the AHA Member Community or to further spread the fantastic hobby of homebrewing?  It (sort of) feels like the AHA wants a larger percentage of current homebrewers to join instead of simply increasing the pool of potential members.  Nothing wrong with wanting a bigger slice of the pie of course, but I think making a bigger pie would be taking a more growth-sustainable approach.

Hopefully you can accomplish both.  All the best.

Offline HopDen

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2023, 03:26:01 pm »
I apologize for this being so long. But I have been thinking about this along side the other post about why anyone other than white males don’t enter beers in competitions.

You want to grow membership? Three suggestions:

1) Quit running the organization like a woke trade group.  Run it like a motorcycle gang.  IOW run decentralized local chapters vs a centralized organization. (Example: the Army Aviation Alumni Association (AAAA https://www.quad-a.org/)). Not just a homebrew club that may or may not be a member of AHA but local chapters of a national organization. People want to belong to a local group of like minded individuals that share interests. Maybe a club can become a chapter or maybe several clubs make up a chapter. Maybe some clubs that make up a chapter will be all women, or Hispanic, or LGBQ… or just some members will be. Who cares. Quit focusing on the who and start focusing on the what.

2) Visit chapters. Snap photos. Publish them. It doesn’t have to be a forced event but when a member of leadership happens to be in an area and stops by a brewery for a beer tell some freakin body so they can meet and greet. Give the 2 minute elevator speech about where we’re headed and offer a toast. 30 minutes to an hour of management by walking around can do wonders to an organization.

3) Quit snubbing current membership. Find out where the membership is and meet them where they are. Quit with the excuses of the South can’t serve homebrew to the public. BS. We did it in Huntspatch and y’all were about to in Nastyville. Need nightlife, hotels, restaurants? Have you been to Knoxville, Atlanta, Asheville, Charleston, etc? Just quit with the excuses.

When I first started brewing beer in the 90(s) it was because I enjoy making stuff myself. I smoke meat, bake bread, cure bacon, garden, etc, etc. I wasn’t interested in sending my beer off to the county fair to have it judged against my neighbors to see who likes my beer. My satisfaction comes from combining raw ingredients into something I like to drink. That’s your target. Quit forcing diversity and find people. Not a certain gender. Not a certain color. Just people. People who like to make stuff. That target audience will naturally be diverse. Quit forcing it.

I had no idea there was a homebrew association back then. I later joined the AHA for a few years but was quickly turned off by the cost benefit analysis. As I said I don’t compete and it wasn’t worth me sending money to get a magazine full of advertisements for the latest shiny object, lists of competitors I don’t know, far off competitions, and endorsements and articles by celebrity homebrewers to add to the stack of other magazines in the bathroom. So I let my membership lapse years ago. The magazine and exclusive web access aren’t worth it to me.

Besides the negative cost benefit of membership, another reason I let my membership lapse is because of the big show put on every year on the West Coast, North, and N East Coast. The guys here have heard it before and I imagine they’re standing by with their ready made excuses. The fact is: Everyone is diligently working to try to grow the organization by including diverse groups while simultaneously ignoring the fact that over 25% of the current membership in the organization is based in the South yet hasn’t had a presence there in over a decade. Let that sink in.

A few years ago, the former grand poobah visited Nashville to set up the show there. Imagine that. All the excuses of why the show can’t come to the South were BS. Still are. Unfortunately, that show was cxl due to Covid. The show must go on so it’s back on the West Coast. Y’all have fun!

Turns out, during that visit, the grand poobah  made a whistle stop in Huntsville. Did he let anyone know he was in town? Nope. No AHA affiliated homebrew club came out to meet him. No announcement on AHA forum for a meet and greet. No one knew. Nada. He stopped by a local brewery drank a beer and snapped a photo with Keith. That’s how the local AHA members found out he was here. After the fact. What a wasted opportunity to touch base with local members that have been snubbed for over a decade. That photo could have been a few local homebrewers hoisting a glass at that brewery.  It could have been put in the magazine, here on the forum, and on the local clubs’ webpages. More beer sold for the brewery, membership getting a chance to rub elbows with the chief, photo op for the clubs and AHA. Win-win-win.  But no. The opportunity was squandered. Once again a snub to the members in the South.

And finally; We had a little fundraiser a while back. Local homebrewers brought donated, untaxed, homebrewed beer so the sponsor could sell a taster glass to the public to try the beer.  A cpl clubs came with a few members each. Here’s the thing: the ‘unaffiliated’ tent had more homebrewers under it than one of the clubs and was on par with the other. No one asked who anybody slept with, no one noticed what color the homebrewers or tasters were, no one asked what pronouns were used. No one cares. In the Deep South. We cared about coming together as homebrewers and the public to raise money for a cause. It was a naturally diverse group.

I was in the Army 21 yrs. The Army set up a framework to allow people from all walks of life to volunteer. I didn’t care who the soldier was next to me. I didn’t care what color they were, what sex they were, or what they did on their off time in their bedroom. What I cared about was performance. Can they do the job they were trained to do. Can they complete the mission.  I have many brothers and sisters I love and respect from all races, ethnic groups, genders, etc. That stuff just doesn’t matter.

The point: quit focusing on the who and start focusing on the what. Set up a framework so diversity can happen naturally. Quit forcing it.

Well said!
Thank You for saying what I am thinking!!

Offline Skeeter686

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2023, 04:11:17 pm »


The point: quit focusing on the who and start focusing on the what. Set up a framework so diversity can happen naturally. Quit forcing it.

Great post, and I totally agree.  Beer is beer and I don't care who is brewing it.  If they have knowledge (or beer!) to share, I'm there. 

Creative people who enjoy beer plus cooking and / or science should naturally gravitate to homebrewing.  Just grease the rails for them.

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Offline tommymorris

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A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2023, 11:29:27 am »
Hello AHA Forum friends. Happy 2023.

I want to share what the American Homebrewers Association has in store for 2023. For a taste of what is new please check out my most recent Directors Cut column https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/news/directors-cut-looking-ahead-to-2023/.

We've announced going back to first round entry process for National Homebrew Competition https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/national-homebrew-competition/ (entry window opens 1/24), a new Zymurgy Live Webinar series https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/presentations/zymurgy-live/ (the first one is 1/25 with Charlie Papazian and Crispy Frey - WOW), AHA Governing Committee updates, our work on legalizing homebrew shipping and more. 

As always, please reach out direct if you have any questions, comments or simply want to talk beer.

Julia
American Homebrewers Association
julia@brewersassociation.org
HomebrewersAssociation.org https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/


Thanks for you and your team’s hard work to improve the AHA.

Offline pete b

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2023, 06:51:18 am »
I am glad to hear the AHA and BA are fighting for legalizing mailing of beer. It comes up a lot here as being a pain. I actually think that having a focus on a meaningful change for home brewers can energize an organization like the AHA. There has probably been a lack of focus since legalizing hb in every state. I let my membership lapse years ago just by forgetting but never joined back up because I can still use the forum, wasn’t using other benefits, and didn’t really see AHA as furthering the hobby that much once it was legal everywhere. I will consider joining again.
I am also glad to hear of DEI initiatives and hope you are in it for the long haul. I work for an organization that embarked on this work around when I started about 15 years ago. There was plenty of resistance, especially at first, along the same lines you are hearing of don’t focus on certain groups, just do your thing well and if those people are interested they can join in. The fact is you need to learn why groups are not joining in and find ways to remove barriers that are not always visible to the in group.  My organization overcame this resistance and continued to focus on the work and it has paid off in both the work we do and financially. My life in a rural homogeneous town is greatly enriched by my relationships with many people I interact daily with who have different experiences and outlooks.
The Army is a great example. BB highlited the trust and fellowship there among diverse people. That doesn’t come out of no where, it’s the result of decades of work focusing on many aspects of Army life, including recruiting certain groups specifically, training existing personnel, and much more I am sure. I know that there was a great deal of resistance at every turn but our armed forces are stronger for this work.
So you will need to be patient and persistent.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2023, 06:55:43 am by pete b »
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline Wilbur

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2023, 11:34:05 am »
Is the AHA/BA working on trying to legalize mailing beer, or just commercial beer? I thought the last piece of legislation I had read was focused on allowing breweries to ship/sell beer by mail.

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2023, 01:50:42 pm »
Is the AHA/BA working on trying to legalize mailing beer, or just commercial beer? I thought the last piece of legislation I had read was focused on allowing breweries to ship/sell beer by mail.

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Mailing homebrew. It was a work in progress when I joined the GC in 2006. It was one of my main priorities while I was on the GC, and the AHA/BA continued to work on various ideas for it that whole time. I assume they still are. One of the main drawbacks is that the shipping cos don't see enough $ in it to make it worthwhile for them. Mailing commercial beer is already legal many places.
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Offline Skeeter686

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2023, 04:27:43 pm »
I'm thinking about how I ended up joining AHA.  I joined after being gifted some old Zymurgy magazines, which happened after I'd already started brewing.  I wasn't aware of the AHA prior to reading the magazines.

I had a couple friends who brewed a while back, but I can't say that I ever thought enough of their beers to consider brewing, myself.  I assumed that really good beer was beyond the homebrewer, based on my experience with their beers.

I finally ended up getting into brewing a couple of years ago because my wife was looking to replace another hobby that we could no longer easily do.  I decided to give it a shot and was pleasantly surprised by the results, which kept me going.

I have attended brew fests for about two decades, but had never considered brewing.  Which is odd, because my wife and I smoke, make sausage, and when we had a garden we used to can and dehydrate plenty of stuff.  Making beer aligns perfectly with many of the other food craft hobbies of ours, but I had discounted it because I'd never had a really good homebrew.

I don't recall ever seeing homebrew clubs or any representation of the AHA at any of those numerous beer fests.  If I had known years ago that I could be making great tasting beer, there's no doubt that I would've been brewing and would have joined the AHA years ago.

I feel that it's more than just advertising the existence of the AHA.  Homebrewers are likely to join, but if people have never tasted good homebrew and have no interest in the hobby, they're not going to join an organization like AHA even if they know it exists. 

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Offline pv

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2023, 08:39:28 am »
I apologize for this being so long. But I have been thinking about this along side the other post about why anyone other than white males don’t enter beers in competitions.

You want to grow membership? Three suggestions:

1) Quit running the organization like a woke trade group.  Run it like a motorcycle gang.  IOW run decentralized local chapters vs a centralized organization. (Example: the Army Aviation Alumni Association (AAAA https://www.quad-a.org/)). Not just a homebrew club that may or may not be a member of AHA but local chapters of a national organization. People want to belong to a local group of like minded individuals that share interests. Maybe a club can become a chapter or maybe several clubs make up a chapter. Maybe some clubs that make up a chapter will be all women, or Hispanic, or LGBQ… or just some members will be. Who cares. Quit focusing on the who and start focusing on the what.

2) Visit chapters. Snap photos. Publish them. It doesn’t have to be a forced event but when a member of leadership happens to be in an area and stops by a brewery for a beer tell some freakin body so they can meet and greet. Give the 2 minute elevator speech about where we’re headed and offer a toast. 30 minutes to an hour of management by walking around can do wonders to an organization.

3) Quit snubbing current membership. Find out where the membership is and meet them where they are. Quit with the excuses of the South can’t serve homebrew to the public. BS. We did it in Huntspatch and y’all were about to in Nastyville. Need nightlife, hotels, restaurants? Have you been to Knoxville, Atlanta, Asheville, Charleston, etc? Just quit with the excuses.

When I first started brewing beer in the 90(s) it was because I enjoy making stuff myself. I smoke meat, bake bread, cure bacon, garden, etc, etc. I wasn’t interested in sending my beer off to the county fair to have it judged against my neighbors to see who likes my beer. My satisfaction comes from combining raw ingredients into something I like to drink. That’s your target. Quit forcing diversity and find people. Not a certain gender. Not a certain color. Just people. People who like to make stuff. That target audience will naturally be diverse. Quit forcing it.

I had no idea there was a homebrew association back then. I later joined the AHA for a few years but was quickly turned off by the cost benefit analysis. As I said I don’t compete and it wasn’t worth me sending money to get a magazine full of advertisements for the latest shiny object, lists of competitors I don’t know, far off competitions, and endorsements and articles by celebrity homebrewers to add to the stack of other magazines in the bathroom. So I let my membership lapse years ago. The magazine and exclusive web access aren’t worth it to me.

Besides the negative cost benefit of membership, another reason I let my membership lapse is because of the big show put on every year on the West Coast, North, and N East Coast. The guys here have heard it before and I imagine they’re standing by with their ready made excuses. The fact is: Everyone is diligently working to try to grow the organization by including diverse groups while simultaneously ignoring the fact that over 25% of the current membership in the organization is based in the South yet hasn’t had a presence there in over a decade. Let that sink in.

A few years ago, the former grand poobah visited Nashville to set up the show there. Imagine that. All the excuses of why the show can’t come to the South were BS. Still are. Unfortunately, that show was cxl due to Covid. The show must go on so it’s back on the West Coast. Y’all have fun!

Turns out, during that visit, the grand poobah  made a whistle stop in Huntsville. Did he let anyone know he was in town? Nope. No AHA affiliated homebrew club came out to meet him. No announcement on AHA forum for a meet and greet. No one knew. Nada. He stopped by a local brewery drank a beer and snapped a photo with Keith. That’s how the local AHA members found out he was here. After the fact. What a wasted opportunity to touch base with local members that have been snubbed for over a decade. That photo could have been a few local homebrewers hoisting a glass at that brewery.  It could have been put in the magazine, here on the forum, and on the local clubs’ webpages. More beer sold for the brewery, membership getting a chance to rub elbows with the chief, photo op for the clubs and AHA. Win-win-win.  But no. The opportunity was squandered. Once again a snub to the members in the South.

And finally; We had a little fundraiser a while back. Local homebrewers brought donated, untaxed, homebrewed beer so the sponsor could sell a taster glass to the public to try the beer.  A cpl clubs came with a few members each. Here’s the thing: the ‘unaffiliated’ tent had more homebrewers under it than one of the clubs and was on par with the other. No one asked who anybody slept with, no one noticed what color the homebrewers or tasters were, no one asked what pronouns were used. No one cares. In the Deep South. We cared about coming together as homebrewers and the public to raise money for a cause. It was a naturally diverse group.

I was in the Army 21 yrs. The Army set up a framework to allow people from all walks of life to volunteer. I didn’t care who the soldier was next to me. I didn’t care what color they were, what sex they were, or what they did on their off time in their bedroom. What I cared about was performance. Can they do the job they were trained to do. Can they complete the mission.  I have many brothers and sisters I love and respect from all races, ethnic groups, genders, etc. That stuff just doesn’t matter.

The point: quit focusing on the who and start focusing on the what. Set up a framework so diversity can happen naturally. Quit forcing it.

Excellent response, you certainly are not alone.  Hope it is understood and makes a difference, but I am not holding my breath.
Upstate South Carolina

Offline Drewch

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2023, 08:38:37 pm »

I second the idea of local chapters — make yourself visible at the club level.

I'm also also glad the AHA is working on the mailing/shipping legality issue (I'd enter a lot more competitions if it were unambiguously legal for me to get my beer there). Frankly, lobbying (at the federal and state level) is what I need an organization line the AHA to do. I need the AHA to do the legwork to improve the asinine legal quagmire that surrounds anything involving alcohol.
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Member at large of the Central Alabama Brewers Society and the League of Drews.

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Re: A Look Ahead - 2023 and the American Homebrewers Association
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2023, 08:17:20 am »

I second the idea of local chapters — make yourself visible at the club level.

I'm also also glad the AHA is working on the mailing/shipping legality issue (I'd enter a lot more competitions if it were unambiguously legal for me to get my beer there). Frankly, lobbying (at the federal and state level) is what I need an organization line the AHA to do. I need the AHA to do the legwork to improve the asinine legal quagmire that surrounds anything involving alcohol.

Lobbying is exactly what they do.
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