Director’s Cut: AHA Update (September/October 2022)

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The following article is the Director’s Cut column from the September/October 2022 Zymurgy magazine. Access all Zymurgy magazine issues through 2000 instantly online!

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By Julia Herz, American Homebrewers Association Executive Director

Hello, everyone. We all love reading Zymurgy amazing magazine to further our love of homebrewing. Zymurgy features, articles, and interviews bring us closer to brewing, beer appreciation, and this community. I love talking about why we brew and the romance behind our beloved hobby.

Since joining the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) staff in December, one of the top questions I have been asked is, “What has the AHA been up to?” So, in this installment of my column, I’d like to offer some answers to that question. Don’t worry—more musings are in store for future issues!

In 2022, your devoted staff and membership leaders have been delivering and serving the 37,000 members of a forty-plus-year institution with grace and gusto.

AHA Governing Committee

The AHA Governing Committee (GC) is an advisory committee to AHA staff and the Brewers Association (BA) board of directors. In 2022, we said goodbye to three outgoing members and hello to three new members from a slate of 12 ballot candidates (see the May/June 2022 issue of Zymurgy). AHA members elect the GC, who then appoints two members as designates to the BA board. As of July 2022, we now have a new executive subcommittee.

  • Chair and BA board designate: Shawna Cormier
  • Vice chair: Amy Martin
  • Secretary: Goose Steingass
  • Past chair: Jill Marilley
  • BA board designate: Roxanne Westendorf

Additional 2022 work of the GC included reimagining the AHA subcommittees (stay tuned for service opportunities); formalizing the GC work/meeting process, mission, and role; supporting AHA Homebrew Holiday recipe selection; selecting Homebrew Con educational sessions; and vetting the AHA National Recognition Award winners. Access GC meeting summaries on HomebrewersAssociation.org.

New Group AHA Membership Offering

The AHA now offers a new form of membership for groups of 25 or more. This offer is for non-brewing companies interested in bulk purchasing AHA memberships for their staff and teams as a reward or organizational benefit. Interested parties are welcome to contact me at julia@brewersassociation.org for more information.

Beerside Chats with the AHA

This talk is offered to homebrew clubs and groups open to learning more about the AHA. In 2022, I presented to the Indian Peak Alers Homebrew Club, Weiz Guys Homebrew Club, MALT Beer City Homebrew Club, Southern California Homebrewers Festival, TCHOPS Homebrewers, The Brew Hut, Cornell E-class, Pink Boots Society Florida Chapter, Central Florida Homebrewers, and more. Please reach out if I can present at an upcoming gathering virtually or in person.

Government Affairs and Advocacy

Exciting homebrew privileges were expanded in several states in 2022, including inspiring legislative progress in Ohio (see the March/April 2022 issue of Zymurgy). The AHA is here to support unified state efforts to advance homebrew privileges on safe and responsible brewing and sampling. Check out our State Statutes resource on HomebrewersAssociation.org, where staff review and update each state throughout the year.

New Ways to Contribute Recipes to the Community

Hallelujah! Members now have a new, streamlined way to contribute recipes to Zymurgy, to HomebrewersAssociation.org, and for consideration for the AHA’s annual Homebrew Holidays. Check out the AHA Recipe Submission form.

Media

Media is relative these days. That can mean social, visual, public relations, or something else. No matter the form, we do it all; AHA media relations are ongoing. To help share the good word on the value, reward, and benefits of AHA membership and homebrewing, regular pitches are sent out. Recent coverage has included the New York Post (“Stories worth chugging beer over in salute to National Homebrew Day,” May 6, 2022) and the Denver Post (“How Julia Herz hopes to make homebrewing more accessible to women and people of color,” Feb. 3, 2022). If you are a beer writer or food and beverage journalist and would like to be added to our media list, please contact brewerspr@backbonemedia.media.

Shop and Club Support

Throughout the year, AHA staff have been busy supporting numerous free resources, articles, online presentations, and videos for shops and clubs. Also in 2022, staff supported hundreds of groups involved in the AHA referral program, granting discounts to AHA membership for those group’s networks. Additionally, the shop resources include the Supply Shop Directory (620 listed), Industry Support Page, Media Contact List request form, Support Your Local Homebrew Shop stickers, and Go Brew Yourself! (FREE) brochure fulfillment. Club resources include the AHA Club Directory (more than 2,000 listed), Homebrew Club Insurance, and more.

New Instagram Account

In early 2022, I launched a new dedicated homebrew Instagram channel: @ImmaculateFermenation is where I share my homebrewing and travel adventures, along with where the most recent hose clamp ring has been stashed. What the heck is that? you ask. I hide a hose clamp on the grounds of a homebrewing event or gathering for a chance to collaborate on a homebrew with the finder and feature them in Zymurgy and on our website. Follow @ImmaculateFermentation to learn more.

Homebrew Con and National Homebrew Competition

Homebrew Con and the National Homebrew Competition (NHC) were held in Pittsburgh in June. Homebrew Con featured 45 educational sessions; three headline speakers (Keith Villa, PhD; Dr. J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham; and Bill Covaleski); more than 40 sponsors; book signings; a Club Night that showcased 40 clubs; the Homebrew Industry Reception; brewery tours; the Homebrew Expo; NHC judging and awards; Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Beer, Mead, and Cider exams; and more. Staff upload all seminar audio recordings and presentation materials for members to access on HomebrewersAssociation.org. Mark your calendars for June 22–24, 2023, when Homebrew Con will be held in San Diego.

Member Services

The team fielded thousands of phone calls and emails to ensure you have support when you need it. We are available to answer any questions Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time. Email: info@brewersassociation.org or call 303.447.0816 or 888.822.6273.

24/7 Membership Benefits and Resources

HomebrewersAssociation.org is your hub for all things homebrewing. It serves hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors with top landing pages for the AHA Forum and our Recipes collection. We published Zymurgy magazine along with the biweekly What’s Brewing Newsletter, and executed Big Brew on May 7 with nearly 900 brewers from 30 countries.

Ongoing is our support of the AHA Brew Guru app and maintaining AHA Member Deals of more than 2,000 discounts at homebrew supply shops and breweries. Collectively, we have hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Follow @HomebrewAssoc on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Lessons

We continue to live in unprecedented times. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, newbies found their way to the hobby, and many longstanding homebrewers found their way to brewing again or brewing more.

That said, many shop owners are struggling to stay in business and continue to need support. Most homebrew clubs found a way to meet virtually and, as of this summer, most appear to be again meeting in person. In the coming years, look for new ways the AHA supports the growth of the hobby that, in turn, benefits shops, clubs and their officers, and each of us as individual brewers.

I’ve also learned that many AHA members are not fully aware of the suite of benefits and resources we offer. If you don’t feel that your membership of less than $50 per year has value after reading this, please let me know! I want to learn why.

Cheers, and here is to the rest of 2022 and beyond. We thank you each for your continued membership and are honored to work on behalf of our members to deliver value each and every passing day.

— Julia

Julia Herz is executive director of the American Homebrewers Association. Follow her on Instagram @ImmaculateFermentation.