Texas Guild Update

Support and development of State Brewers Guilds remains a major focus of the Brewers Association in 2012. The addition of Acacia Coast, the trade group’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 the Texas Guild.

Over a weekend in Austin in mid-February, I toured through many of the city’s award winning craft breweries. I witnessed busloads of tours, tasting room crowds spilling out the doors, and excellent beer everywhere in town. By our count at the Brewers Association, Texas has over sixty craft breweries and pubs and that same number of breweries in planning. The Texas Craft Brewers Guild has an opportunity at this juncture to fundamentally steer the craft community in Texas and after attending their annual guild meeting Feb. 19th, I see them doing just that.

We met in Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s renovated 100 year old building on the edge of Houston’s central business district. Though there was record attendance for the annual meeting, we used only a small fraction of the real estate in Saint Arnold’s famed German-style beer hall. The day started out with an educational seminar on water quality and analysis given by Steve Holle, followed by lunch and the guild business meeting.

I introduced myself and talked about my role, describing the varied means of support the Brewers Association has to offer to guilds across the nation. I brought numerous resources collected from guilds across the nation to share, including fundraising ideas, enthusiast membership benefits, and a guild duties document to help them discern the skills necessary for the perfect candidate.

The president of the guild, Tim Schwartz, of Real Ale, will be finishing his term this year; succession planning for the next guild president is of top priority to the board. New members to the board include Scott Metzger, Freetail Brewing, and Kevin Brand of (512) Brewing Co.

For 2012, the guild has a goal to promote and protect Texas craft beer. Boosting enthusiast membership, improving the consistency of membership communication, making the website more dynamic, creating a Texas Beer Trail Map, and fundraising are going to be a few of the main focal points this year. They intend to hold their successful guild festival again this year on October 6th with more space and brewery participation. Work will also begin on legislative issues to improve craft beer’s access to market when their next legislative session starts again.

With the Texas breweries doubling their barrel production from 2010 to 2011 and the potential to double the total number of breweries in the state, I think the new Texas guild executive director will certainly have their work cut out for them! As we move into 2012 and the guild leadership leverages the new director, the massive growth of the Texas Craft industry will be bolstered by a more robust Texas Craft Brewers Guild.