Steering Committee

The steering committee is in charge of initial work until a board of directors can be elected by the membership. This group often comprised of a few motivated individuals who are interested in organizing the guild and willing to shoulder the weight of bringing parties together to create this formal structure. From the steering committee, a process of nominations and voting for the board can be established.

Resources: Guild Leadership RolesNomination Form

Board of Directors & Officers (BOD)

The BOD should be elected by a vote of all brewery members with representatives from breweries of all sizes. The BOD is generally between 5-9 people, and is most often composed of brewers and owners. Because most guilds do not start with a paid staff, your BOD is a very important group. These are the people who will do the bulk of the work in organizing events and programs until a paid staff is hired.

Officers, such as president and vice president, will then be elected from within the BOD. You may also want to elect a secretary (responsible for taking meeting minutes and communicating the BOD’s work to the membership) and a treasurer.

Beyond your BOD, you may want to consider forming committees to handle programs and projects like recruitment and government affairs.

Resources: Board Handbook ContentsSample Board Expectations

Executive Directors

To assist you with hiring an executive director, we’ve created a document that provides a blueprint for finding the right candidate for your guild. Based on the input of a few state guild directors, this document outlines the duties guilds often perform through the year. Please note, if you are going to have any paid guild staff, there are additional paperwork requirements that you will need to learn about by contacting your state’s Department of Revenue. Most guilds hire executive directors as independent contractors.

The search for an executive director by its very nature provides the guild’s BOD with a chance to reassess the guild as a whole and to reevaluate its needs, goals, strengths and challenges. Hiring an executive director is one of the most important actions that a guild takes. The board is dependent on the director for day-to-day operations to achieve the guild’s purposes and objectives within the limitations of its budget. This is not an easy task to accomplish, year after year!

In addition, the working relationship between the director and the board, owners, brewers, promoters, affiliate members, sponsors, state associations and other agencies can significantly influence the guild’s effectiveness and reputation in the community.

Hiring a director is a similar process to hiring a staff member for your brewery. You’ll organize the hiring committee, create a duties/job description document, outline the profile of your ideal candidate, advertise the position, qualify your prospects, gather references, interview candidates, select your finalist, make the offer and start the work.

Numerous guilds have found that they already have an outstanding prospect without going through a formal search. Keep your eye out for these folks—sometimes they already promote the festivals you’ve attended, or come recommended by someone in the industry.

It is imperative that we have strong state guilds across the nation in order to promote and protect the small brewer interests in each state, and to unify the larger community of the nation’s brewers. If you find that important opportunities are slipping by, meetings are no longer being held, or administrative tasks are being neglected within your association, perhaps it’s time to discuss the hiring of paid staff support.

Resources: DutiesExample Contract, ED Job Description


Each committee is chaired by a member of the BOD. Many guilds have the following committees:

Executive: Oversee operations of the board; often acts on behalf of the board during on-demand activities that occur between meetings, and these acts are later presented for full board review; comprised of board chair, other officers and/or committee chairs (or sometimes just the officers, although this might be too small); often performs evaluation of executive director.

Finance: Oversees development of the budget; ensures accurate tracking/monitoring/accountability for funds; ensures adequate financial controls; often led by the board treasurer; reviews major grants and associated terms.

Legislative: Monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry within the state by developing and articulating to the industry a consensus from within org membership as it relates to regulatory, legislative and governmental affairs.

Fundraising/Sponsorship: Oversees development and implementation of the Fundraising Plan; identifies and solicits funds from external sources of support.

Marketing: Oversees development and implementation of the Marketing Plan, including identifying potential markets, their needs, how to meet those needs with products/services/programs, and how to promote/sell the programs.

Events: Plans and coordinates major events, such as fundraising, beer weeks, technical conferences, annual meeting, etc.

Membership: Develops criteria for membership, credentialing members, overseeing elections, and developing and delivering programs/benefits for the members.

Technical/Safety: Determines and recommends solutions regarding pipeline and/or safety technical issues specific to the brewing industry.

Nominations: Identifies needed board member skills, suggests potential members and orients new members; sometimes a subcommittee of the Board Development Committee.

Public Relations: Represents the organization to the community; enhances the organization’s brand & image, including communications with the press.