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 her trip to Colorado.
Despite all the brewery tours, tap take overs, beer dinners, and numerous other amazing beery events surrounding the 2012 Great American Beer Festival, I’m happy to report Colorado brewers still found time to come together for a Colorado Brewers Guild (CBG) meeting. Organized by the CBG’s Executive Director, John Carlson, the CBG board and numerous brewery members, as well as my colleague, Pete Johnson and I attended the meeting on the Friday afternoon of the festival.
The meeting started with an educational TasteDesign® session led by Frank Vecchiarelli of Sahm, Inc. Frank guided the group through numerous beer styles, each being poured into multiple types of glassware. We were able to learn more about the different sight, smell, and taste consequences serving glasses can impart on their contents. It was a unique and engaging way to kick off the guild meeting, and everyone really enjoyed the experience.
Frank has offered to lead a similar presentation for guilds nationwide. This is an excellent example of how numerous state craft brewers guilds are engaging allied trade vendors to lead similar educational demonstrations at guild meetings. It’s a great opportunity for suppliers to showcase their products, and an equally beneficial opportunity for brewers to learn more about goods they need or use every day. Send me a note if you’d like Frank’s contact information to present an educational glassware demonstration at your guild meeting. Also consider outreach to all kinds of allied trade members for educational seminars and sponsorship at your annual guild meetings.
John continued the meeting with introductions of the CBG Board members, updates on membership, committee updates, and government affairs news. The CBG lobbyist has been working with the guild for over 15 years now, and the last 5 have been very active for Colorado brewers. He gave an overview of the regulatory issues and key players in the legislature in 2012.
This year, the Colorado Brewers Guild has had much to celebrate. Every year, CBG members participate in an annual Capitol Hill Climb, with a craft brewery reception in the evening. In a historical move by the Colorado state house, legislators organized a Colorado Beer Caucus, forming the only organized caucus in the state house. Colorado’s elected officials established this caucus to learn more about the value Colorado’s small and independent brewers bring to local communities and economies.
One very important tool Colorado’s craft brewers will use to educate their elected officials is the 2012 CBG Economic Impact Study on the effects small independent craft brewers have on the state’s economy. The CBG conducted the study in partnership with the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder. With over 160 established craft brewers located across the state, John and the CBG Marketing Manager, Steve Kurowski, spent exhaustive hours gathering the data for the survey, and had an exceptionally high percentage of response. This report speaks volumes for the craft brewers of Colorado, especially to their local legislators when it comes time to influence alcohol laws. As John eloquently said, “The freedoms we [brewers] currently enjoy often come to breweries from a mere inference or interpretation of a law that can be revisited, and detrimental, at any time.”
The CBG has numerous successful marketing programs, including active social media, monthly newsletters, and their newly redesigned website. Be sure to check out the 21 Great Things About Colorado Craft Beer. The guild has a strong enthusiast program, SOCIAL, with over 2000 members. Membership can be purchased online, but it’s been explosively popular when the CBG breweries help sell the membership at their brewery. The membership fee covers materials, a portion of the proceeds go back to the brewery, and the rest goes to the guild fund. The guild also has a very successful allied trade membership network, with numerous partners happy to be a part of the greater CBG family.
A great best practice that John arranged at the festival this year was affix to brewery banners a CBG Member sign with the CBG logo on every Colorado Brewers Guild member with a GABF booth. I LOVED this! It’s a clear demonstration of those breweries supporting their super crucial craft brewers guild. I hope more guilds do this in the future!
The CBG hosts numerous fundraising events throughout the year, including the Colorado Brewers Rendezvous, Denver Beer Fest, Burning Can, and many more. They are also already starting conversations about the World Beer Cup and Craft Brewers Conference coming to Denver in 2014. Great beer and lots of exciting things to come from Colorado’s roaring craft beer industry!
Find your state guild contact here!