Brewers Association

BA Pioneers: A Narrative History

An Introspective Audio History of the Brewers Association by 2012 Board of Directors and Staff

As important as it is to look to the bright future of American craft beer, we must also remember the past. In January 2012, newly appointed Brewers Association Board of Directors Chair, Sam Calagione took the opportunity to record some of the major players in the industry at a gathering of the board at The Kitchen in Boulder, Colorado.


"...we're lucky to be in an industry that's only 30 or so years young—so vibrant and growing—but that our pioneers are still so active in our industry. We have a great opportunity to record the beginnings and evolution of our industry from the folks who started it." - Sam Calagione


Speaker and DescriptionTime Stamp
Sam Calagione
An introduction from Sam Calagione, founder and president of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, inviting people to share their stories. 0:22
Ken Grossman Ken Grossman, founder and owner of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., talks about joining the Brewers Association of America (BAA), its history and origins and attending his first convention in the early 1980s. 3:17
Charlie Papazian Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association (BA), covers the origins of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), and the evolution of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). He also recognizes Ron Siebel and Roger Briess as instrumental in building the craft beer industry into what it is today. 10:22
Kim Jordan Kim Jordan, CEO of New Belgium Brewing Company, talks about the painstaking two-year process of merging the BAA and the Association of Brewers (AOB) and her experience serving on both boards. 16:30
Sam Calagione Sam Calagione, covers the origins of the Pro-Am Competition and its booth at GABF. He also thanks The Kitchen staff. 24:36
Nick Matt Nick Matt, of F.X. Matt Brewing Company, talks about how he came into the industry. He discusses serving on the board before and after the merger of the AOB and BAA and how the association has grown. 27:00
Gary Fish Gary Fish, president of Deschutes Brewery, shares his first memories of GABF, the after-parties he attended in the rooms of Anchor and Alaskan breweries, a failed BAA coup and the faux-pas of cocktail drinking at beer institute meetings. 33:36
John Pinkerton John Pinkerton, brewmaster of Moon River Brewing Company, shares his experience attending the AOB conference in 1994 as a homebrewer searching for a job. 41:49
Steve Hindy Steve Hindy, president of Brooklyn Brewery, tells of some shenanigans at the 1993 Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in New Orleans. 45:04
Chris Frey Chris Frey, AHA Governing Committee Chair, talks about being on the AOB board of advisors during the merger, past fancial problems of the guild and the uniqueness of having tens of thousands of hobbyists supporting a trade association. 46:41
Marc Sorini Marc Sorini, partner of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, speaks about working pro bono for the Rubber Boot Society, riding an airport shuttle with Fritz Maytag, the one voice committee and the beginnings of cell phone etiquette in meetings. 50:31
Dick Cantwell Dick Cantwell, co-owner and brewmaster, of Elysian Brewing Company, chats about a 1993 GABF Amtrak prank and how serving on the board has helped him grow along with the brewing industry. 55:39
Ken Grossman Ken Grossman tells an endearing story involving Fritz Maytag and an overhead projector. 01:02:24
Marc Sorini Marc Sorini shares a story of a cab ride that ties into Ken Grossman’s previous story. 01:05:22
Charlie Papazian Charlie Papazian remembers wearing a frog costume.
01:05:55
Paul Gatza Paul Gatza, director of the BA, provides some pre-history of the BAA, which included the tale of an excise tax bill that was created in 1944 and didn’t pass until 1975. He also talks about his experience working in a Boulder homebrew shop, seeing the opening of Left Hand Brewing Company and drinking Fat Tire in its early days. 01:06:25
Eric Wallace Eric Wallace, co-president and co-founder of Left Hand Brewing Company, shares the story of opening of the brewery, starting with homebrewing and ending with hiring Brian Lutz. 01:12:07
Sam Calagione Sam Calagione introduces Ray Decker from The Kitchen. 01:17:41
Ray Decker Ray Decker, general manager of The Kitchen Restaurants, talks about his experience preparing the meal and picking the beers to pair with it. 01:18:26
Rob Tod Rob Tod, founder and brewmaster of Allagash Brewing Company, talks about his difficulties labeling bottles in the early days. 01:26:01
Sam Calagione Sam Calagione shares a memory of an early meeting with Brooklyn Distributing in 1997. 01:30:35
Eric Wallace Eric Wallace comments on his first taste of Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA. 01:32:18
Charlie Papazian Charlie Papazian shares his first memory of Dogfish Head from an All About Beer review. 01:33:50
Gary Glass Gary Glass, AHA director, reveals his experience starting at the AHA in 2000, taking over as AHA director in 2006 and the amazing changes and growth the organization has seen. He recognizes the importance of the input of the governing committee and having Randy Mosher as a strong leader. He also touches on the origin of "craft brewing" as an industry term. 01:34:20
Mark Edelson Mark Edelson, director of Iron Hill Brewery, shares his satisfaction and pride working in the industry, and describes how the brewing community fosters growth. 01:43:52
Nancy Johnson Nancy Johnson, event director of the BA, talks about her experience at the 1993 New Orleans conference, the birth of her daughter at CBC and makes a toast to Danny Williams. 01:49:58
Eric Wallace Eric Wallace remembers a time his infant daughter shared a sled with a case of beer. 01:57:13
Bob Pease Bob Pease, COO of the BA, remembers Danny Williams and toasts Charlie Papazian. He touches on the BAA/AOB merger, Kim Jordan’s first association meeting and visiting Dogfish Head with his family. 01:58:00
Chris Frey Chris Frey shares a recent experience with a cellared Dogfish Head stout, and compels Chris Graham to speak. 02:02:07
Chris Graham Chris Graham, More Beer! COO, speaks about homebrewing, starting More Beer!, placing his first ad in Zymurgy magazine and how Bob Pease helped change his business for the better. 02:03:02
Steve Brandt Steve Bradt, head brewer at Free State Brewing Company, talks about the BAA/AOB merger and how those behind it made it successful and educational process. 02:07:09
John Mallet John Mallet, production manager at Bell's Brewery, talks about meeting Charlie Papazian and being asked to join AOB, starting the technical program with John Harris and how the BA brings the industry together. 02:14:00
Julia Herz Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program director, shares her journey into the BA, the importance of keeping the fun in craft beer, trickle-up economics and the importance of the symbiotic relationship between BA staff and the Board of Directors. 02:19:40