Just weeks after President Carter signed the bill that legalized homebrewing, Charlie Papazian and Charlie Matzen launched the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) in Boulder, CO on December 7, 1978 with the publication of the first issue of Zymurgy magazine.
The newly founded AHA held the National Homebrew Competition and Gala Homebrewers Ball on May 5, 1979. Twenty-four brewers submitted 34 entries into 6 categories in that first year’s single-day event. This event eventually split off into two separate events, the AHA National Homebrew Competition and the Great American Beer Festival.
In the fall of 1984, Charlie Papazian’s book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, was first published and helped encourage a revived culture of homebrewing around the world.
Representative David Skaggs of Colorado announced May 7th as National Homebrew Day before Congress on Monday, May 2, 1988. The American Homebrewers Association celebrates National Homebrew Day every year with Big Brew, held on the first Saturday of May.
Since then, the AHA has grown to nearly 20,000 members strong, continued to add events and competitions throughout the years, such as: Mead Day, Learn to Homebrew Day, the AHA National Homebrewers Conference, AHA Rallies, AHA Club-Only Competitions and the Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition, all while still hosting the AHA National Homebrew Compeititon and producing Zymurgy magazine.
The AHA continues to fight for the legallization of homebrew in all 50 states. Utah HB51 passed both houses of the Utah Congress and was signed by the Governor, making homebrewing legal there as of May 12, 2009. Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma remain as the only three states in the Union where homebrewing is not yet legal.
The AHA works for the world’s community of homebrewers, providing events, competitions, legislative work and membership benefits for all to enjoy. Become a member of the AHA and you too can be a part of history!