On opening day of the 2018 American Homebrewers Association’s Homebrew Con, the United States Senate, led by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) passed a resolution honoring the 40th year of the American Homebrewers Association® and the man who founded it, Charlie Papazian, the godfather of homebrewing. With this resolution, Congress is celebrating the long history of innovation and excellence of our country’s homebrewing and brewing communities.
On October 14, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the bill that legalized homebrewing in the United States. Shortly after, Charlie Papazian and Charlie Matzen founded the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) in Boulder, Colo. The association has thrived over the last 40 years, and now has over 46,000 members worldwide. Among its many activities, the AHA hosts an annual homebrewing conference and competition, publishes a bi-monthly magazine, and serves Pro-Am beers at the Brewers Association’s Great American Beer Festival®.
Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.
Brewing and beer have come a long way in the United States since the AHA was founded. At the time, there were less than 50 breweries in the United States and light lager was the main style of beer. Charlie Papazian’s catch phrase, “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.” inspired a generation. Under his leadership, the AHA encouraged its members to try new styles and experiment with flavors, and most importantly, to brew beers that they wanted to drink. Many famous craft brewery founders, like Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing and Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company, started out as homebrewers. Thanks to Charlie’s efforts and the people he inspired, the United States now has more than 6,400 breweries, producing 1000s of beer styles from Berliner Weisse to Barrel-Aged Stout.
“We are all here today because of Charlie Papazian,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association. “His influence on the homebrewing and craft brewing community is immeasurable. Who could have predicted that a simple wooden spoon, ingenuity, and passion would spawn a community of more than one million homebrewers and 6,400 small and independent U.S. craft breweries.”
Congress has also noticed the influence that the AHA and Charlie have had on the United States. Thanks to the growth of the AHA and the Brewers Association, there are small and independent breweries located in almost every congressional district in the country. The House Small Brewers Caucus is the largest special interest caucus on Capitol Hill, and every year, hill staffers participate in a Capitol Hill Staff Homebrew Competition.
Let’s all join the Senate in honoring the AHA and celebrating its founder. Here’s to the next 40 years.