Radegast is the ancient Slavic god of hospitality who is also said to have created beer to help in his congenial endeavors. He is the perfect symbol of the new Radegast Club of the Year Award, acknowledging homebrew clubs not for their competitive merits, but for their efforts to interact with and support their local community.
During the Grand Banquet at the 2014 National Homebrewers Conference, AHA Director Gary Glass and Melody Meyer of Hopunion—the sponsor of the award—announced the Carolina BrewMasters as the first-ever recipient of the Radegast award.
The BrewMasters are in many ways the same as a lot of local clubs. They gather each month for a meeting to discuss brewing topics, share beer and socialize. Group brew days are held to encourage camaraderie and learning. Local compettions are organized. But, they also go above and beyond these usual club endeavors.
To encourage club participation and community among members, the club developed a points system, referred to as “karma points.” The idea being that club members are awarded points for participating in various club events, judging in competitions, community outreach and so on. At the end of the year, the points are tallied up to award a member the title of CBM Brewer of the Year. Points are then exchanged for raffle tickets which members can use to win fun prizes, brewing equipment and beer. This point system has been great motivation for club participation!
The BrewMasters are also the driving force behind the annual Charlotte Oktoberfest, one of the largest festivals in the country. Not only do they organize event, they donate much of the profit to local charities and programs. In 2013, $75,000 were split between Second Harvest Metrolina, Classroom Central and Project Halo.
For more information on the Carolina BrewMasters and their noble deeds, download their Radegast Club of the Year report. If you are in a club, you will surely find inspiration on how get your members more involved with your local community.