Support and development of State Brewers Guilds remains a major focus of the Brewers Association in 2011. The addition of Acacia Coast, the Brewers Association’s State Brewers Association Coordinator has helped the BA become more of a resource for existing and fledgling guilds. Acacia has been busy crisscrossing the country attending state brewers association meetings with many of them centered on initial guild formation.
Recently, Acacia provided an update on Arizona’s guild.
With over 30 people in attendance at the December 6th Arizona Craft Brewers Guild meeting, there simply wasn’t enough room in the room! The group consisted of brewers and owners, the guild’s executive director, reps from Northern AZ University, distributors, the guild’s marketing company, and the homebrew club president. In addition, the Arizona Legislature District 21 representative Tom Forese joined the meeting.
The Arizona guild is a very successful association with a high percentage of in-state brewers in the membership ranks. In February, the guild is hosting its 12th annual Strong Beer Festival in downtown Phoenix. This festival raises the majority of the funds for the guild, and has an excellent attendance each year. This celebration kicks off Arizona Beer Week, Feb.18-25, 2012.
The guild is contracting Northern AZ University to do a study to determine the impact of the craft brewing industry on Arizona’s economy. Once the data is gathered, the university will use economic assessment software to find the “Big Number”. The guild will be able to utilize that information for fundraising, marketing, drawing in new membership, and working with state associations. This data is also excellent to have when educating elected officials about the contributions small brewers make to the economy and their communities.
The guild is considering a legislative push to raise the production cap for small brewers in the state, with much of the meeting spent on this lively discussion. With the economy struggling, and in light of the numerous jobs that will be created when breweries raise production, the group agreed that it’s an important issue to pursue. Representative Forese also offered the observation that legislators look favorably on anything that might increase jobs in the state at this time.
Because the guild is so successful in their fundraising and marketing outreach, they voted to give back to their community a portion of their success. The Arizona Brewers Guild is making a donation of $7,000 to be divided between 3 charities supported by Operation Santa Claus: Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, and Operation Home Front. During this season of sharing, celebration, and delicious holiday ales, the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild is truly a shining example of how to promote and protect Arizona craft beers.
Learn more about Guilds in the Government Affairs section of BrewersAssociation.org.