Good Beer Hunting

Fervent Few

Fervent Few — Change We Can Believe In

This week’s topic is pretty straightforward: we asked the Fervent Few to name three things they would change or enact if they became the president of the Brewers Association (or their country’s equivalent organization). Let’s see what kind of change we can believe in.


Rob Steuart: “If I were the boss of the Independent Brewers Association (the Australian equivalent of the BA), I'd be mandating packaged-on and best-before dates on all beers. I'd also be pushing for equal taxation for alcoholic products across the board (taxation varies on type of alcohol, percentage, and how it’s packaged). Finally, I’d advocate for transparency of brewed by/for information.”

Arvo: “Change the Independent Craft Brewer seal to the Brewers Association logo instead. That way it would direct people to the website to learn more.

Create a different department/association for beverages that are not beer but are produced by craft brewers, so those numbers can be shared separately.

Hire Allagash’s social media team to do the Brewers Association’s [channels] so we can get more popular.”

Robbie Wendeborn: “Create criteria for quality that all members can adhere to, and make the list of qualifying members public (these criteria could be date coding, passing off-flavor tests in submitted samples, random pub/package inspections by the BA, etc.). Essentially, create quality grades that consumers can understand. Right now, there are zero barriers to entry for members based on quality. Adding a self-grading system would be a way to say that the BA equals quality.

Expand the BA to include all craft beverages, including distilled spirits, wine, cider, and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as cannabis. I find I have more in common with small cider makers, whiskey distillery workers, weed growers, etc. than I do with people who work at multinational conglomerates. Does independence matter more than ‘beer’ now that hard seltzer counts as ‘craft’?

Add a very strong, labor-side support aspect to the association. There are no requirements for safety, compensation, healthcare, PTO, childcare, etc. for BA members. A lot of brewers get burned out, get hurt, grow out of the job, or find it's not sustainable for a family. It would be nice to see the BA recognize the workers and their needs, and point them toward quality and sustainable employment, as well as hold members to some kind of standard. This includes equal pay and treatment of workers regardless of age, sex, gender, race, or religious affiliation.”

Casey Street: “I would strongly consider expanding the Independent Craft Beer seal to beer festivals. Despite all of the consternation over who is and is not craft, many beer festivals end up chock-full of macro labels with no transparency. Perhaps there is a way for festivals, at least the larger ones, to get a BA stamp of approval.

Pay more attention to the hyper-local breweries as a group. So much attention is put on the top 20 (Boston Beer on down). I realize they sell way more beer and probably pay way more dues, but the industry is trending towards the local, as evidenced in the BA’s own 2018 stats that showed an increase in the number of breweries but fewer barrels per brewhouse. BA events highlighting different nano-breweries would be a start.

Change the name to the Craft Brewers Association. I can’t believe they haven’t done this yet.”

Patrick Guo: “One thing I really want to do is rework the definition of ‘craft beer.’ It’s more like a marketing gimmick to me right now. Although number-based criteria are easier to work with, craft beer should never be about numbers. What matters most should be the vibe. All beer made with effort, intention, love, and sweat should be craft beer.

Another thing is to put packaged-on dates on bottles or cans instead of best-before dates.”

We’ll finish this week with the first response we got. Which was also maybe the best….

Josh Chapman: “I use my first change to make Dr J. the president of the Brewer’s Association, and then she gets to make the other two.”

What changes would you make? Join the Fervent Few’s community of beer enthusiasts, beer professionals, and those who want to support all of the great content Good Beer Hunting creates, and share your thoughts.

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