Farewell, Charlie Papazian

By Gary Glass, American Homebrewers Association Director

The following is an excerpt featured in the March/April 2019 issue of Zymurgy magazine.

January 23, 2019 marks Charlie Papazian’s last day as an employee of the Brewers Association (BA). The BA is a not-for-profit organization that evolved from the American Homebrewers Association (which is now a division of the BA) that Charlie founded with his friend Charlie Matzen 40 years ago. Today, the AHA has 46,000 members and the Brewers Association Professional Division includes 4,900 member-breweries. The Great American Beer Festival, that Charlie also founded, attracts 62,000 attendees and features more than 4,000 different beers from over 800 breweries. Charlie’s Complete Joy of Homebrewing, first published in 1984, has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to the art of homebrewing, yours truly included.

Charlie’s mantra of “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew” has, for the past four decades, helped remind homebrewers that brewing shouldn’t be hard and enjoying a homebrew is fun.

Charlie’s legacy includes helping to bring homebrewing from the fringe of society to a hobby that boasts more than a million participants annually producing a combined 1.4 million barrels of homebrew in the USA. If it weren’t for Charlie’s influence, we would not have seen the meteoric rise of small, independent breweries in the USA, which counted fewer than 50 at the time the AHA was founded to over 7000 today.

It’s been a great honor for me to work with Charlie over the past 19 years. While I know he’s not going away from the home and craft-brewing scene, I sure will miss getting homebrewing advice from the legendary Charlie Papazian after work at the Brewers Association bar. Yep, I know, I’m a lucky man.

Cheers to you, Charlie!

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