This post is the third in a series of posts called, “Get to Know a Brewers Association Committee.” Keep an eye out for more committee highlights like this in the future.
Q: What does it mean to be responsible for the financial health of a large and vibrant association?
Meet the Finance Committee
The characters who make up the Brewers Association (BA) Finance Committee are long on personality, life experiences, and respectful good intention. They are committed to being thoughtful stewards of the active well-being of the BA and therefore its members.
For example, did you know that the Finance Committee is the sole committee actually required by the BA bylaws? What does that mean? It means that the committee members are responsible for monitoring the financial systems of the BA. It also includes some checks and balances, like reporting the financial status of the BA to the Board of Directors at each Board meeting. The committee also gets to meet with the BA’s external audit firm to validate the BA’s internal controls, procedures, and financial statements. While this may seem like dry work, it’s a critical function for our association’s financial well-being.
“I find it rewarding to know from the inside how well the BA is operated. It is a very open organization and committee service lets a broad spectrum of members contribute to the industry’s success; not every organization lets so many folks participate so closely in its operation.”
Jeff Schrag, Mother’s Brewing
If you do this in your own household, never mind your business, you know this is no small undertaking. Yet, this committee does way more…
Beginning in 2014, the committee also took on the role of Investment Committee. These responsibilities include oversight of the BA’s precious reserve funds. The committee does this through an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that was entirely rewritten and updated in 2018. Every five years, the committee also evaluates investment firms through a critical request for proposals (RFP) process and recommends an investment adviser to the Board. It’s all necessary work as the committee assesses the reasonableness of investment returns and adviser fees.
“I believe deeply in the mission of the Brewers Association to promote and protect American craft brewers. The work of the BA and its members have helped transform the American brewing industry to be the best and most diverse in the world. Serving on the finance committee allows me to utilize my skill set to help ensure that the association will have the financial resources that can help advance our industry for years to come.”
Peter Skrbek, Deschutes Brewing
The Finance Committee members have significant and varied experiences in diverse accounting and finance functions, yet another watershed of value they all bring to bear and share with the association. Each member is an engaged, quality resource for internal BA finance staff and the entire brewing industry. Larry Chase, a numbers-loving professional brewer and treasurer of the Brewers Association Board of Directors, gets to chair the Finance Committee and lead the team.
Beyond financial and investment oversight, the committee also drove the development of the Brewers Association Cost of Goods Sold Manual for breweries. Like all BA resources, this gem of a document is available to all BA members free of charge (yes, really).
“We are lucky to have so many experienced brewers and industry veterans donating their time and energy across a wide spectrum of committees solely to support the rest of us. Serving on the Finance Committee is the best way I can give back a fraction of that energy to the BA and its members. I take great pride in being part of the committee that can shape the long-term financial stability of the BA.”
It’s imperative to the long-term financial security of the Brewers Association and its members to have the Finance Committee. Next time you see a committee member, shake their hand or give them a hug and thank them. Get them a fresh beer and enjoy the financial fruits of the labors of the community.