In 2014, the Radegast Club of the Year Award was established to honor a homebrew club not for its competitive prowess, but the effort its members make to use homebrewing as a tool to benefit their greater local community. The award is based on philanthropy, homebrew promotion, education initiatives, and diversity efforts. This year, the Radegast Club of the Year Award was sponsored by YCH HOPS.
During the Grand Banquet at the 2016 National Homebrewers Conference in Baltimore, the Hogtown Brewers were honored with this year’s Radegast Club of the Year Award, which includes a $500 award to the club and a $500 donation to a charity of the club’s choosing.
The Gainesville-based Hogtown Brewers have been supporting Florida homebrewers since 1985, which not only predates the first microbrewery in Florida (Dunedin Brewery, established in 1993) but makes them the oldest club in the state that still actively meets. With their 200-plus membership base, the Hogtown Brewers have been able to not only create a meaningful network for local homebrewers but has also been an engine to help support greater community efforts through the power of beer.
In the past year alone, the Hogtown Brewers have raised over $40,000 for local charities and non-profit organizations through participating in events like the annual Hoggetown Medieval Faire and the club’s own Hogtown Craft Beer Festival. These large-scale events are no easy feat to execute, garnering 60,000 attendees at the Medieval Faire and 1,600 at the Craft Beer Festival, and the club makes sure the attendees don’t go thirsty. A portion of the profits from the Medieval Faire goes to charity, while all profits from the Hogtown Craft Beer Festival are donated entirely to philanthropic organizations to help better the community. And this is on top of 10,000 volunteer hours supporting other local endeavors!
When the Hogtown Brewers aren’t busy supporting local charities, they’re out spreading the homebrew gospel. Most notably, two Hogtown members host an internet radio show called Homebrew Talk on homebrewjockey.com, which has a following across the country. The show discusses various aspects of homebrewing to elevate the interest of homebrewers, new and seasoned, beyond their current knowledge base.
We hope the Hogtown Brewers will act as a perfect example of the potential homebrew clubs can have on positively affecting their local communities, all while enjoying the beverage that brings us all together: beer.
If you think your club has what it takes to be the 2016 Radegast Club of the Year, tell us why!