J.B. Zorn

J.B. Zorn

The following statement was prepared by the candidate, and the views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the American Homebrewers Association.

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My brewing journey started 14 years ago with just a simple stew pot, an extract kit, and my dad (my first and foremost brew partner); and since then the hobby and its community have been an integral part of my life. I appreciate the opportunity to share my story with you below, which, I believe, makes me uniquely suited for the AHA Governing Committee.

I’ve been blessed to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard for my entire career, and, for better or worse, that has included coast to coast moves with my exceptional wife and two young boys. While challenging, one thing that has remained constant is the ability to learn, create, and share life’s pleasures through homebrewing. As I’ve grown as an officer, I’ve also grown as a homebrewer across almost every major facet of the hobby. Each tour has brought new opportunities and (thankfully) successes including awards (like the 2019 Capitol Hill Competition collaborating and brewing alongside my hill coworkers), organizing competitions and charity festivals, BJCP Judging, commercial work as a Certified Cicerone® (one of the first on active duty), a feature in Joshua Bernstein’s great book Homebrew World, and most recently writing for Zymurgy (like Homebrewing, One spreadsheet at a time).

But, it’s one thing to be a passionate hobbyist and another to contribute strategic vision and get results on a national level – both of which I can provide, backed by years of leadership and professional experience. Most recently, I’ve served as a Legislative Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives working on a wide range of issues including defense, trade, tax, and even craft beverage policy. Before that, I’ve led diverse teams of Engineers/Naval Architects and Marine Investigators on highly technical projects with local, regional, and national impact. I have also led messaging and communications to national and international audiences during major hurricanes and other crises. For the AHA, this would bring someone with proven performance in leadership, governmental affairs, and communications.

While it’s difficult to fully address the myriad of topics to be tackled by the AHA, I’ll put in the work! – I’ve spoken with current members of the AHA GC and I’m confident we’d continue to develop partnerships and execute strategies to promote the craft with a bias for action. I’ll aim to champion and grow our diversity to provide advocacy across everyone’s unique brewing goals, setups, and resources. Similarly, we know that collaboration breeds innovation so we need to look across the homebrewing landscape in and out of the AHA to maintain relevance and usefulness. Maintaining and growing community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and AHA staff downsizing, will likely continue to be a challenge, so I’ll focus on social elements and enhancing access and relevance of content, education, and engagement. In addition, we need to ensure our hobby continues to evolve with the modern world, so I’ll fight to advance meaningful policies and legislation, like the ability to ship homebrew through the USPS legally.