Sunday, May 04, 2014

News from the annual Brewers of Indiana Guild meeting on Saturday.

The Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG) held its annual meeting in Indianapolis on Saturday, and I must say that it was one of the most memorable on record, both for the volume of business discussed and my good fortune in being able to score tickets for Game 7 of the Pacers-Hawks playoff series being held just down the street from the Platform (City Market complex).

Thanks to Blake Montgomery for brokering the ducats, and to board members and attendees from other Indiana breweries.

Sticking with the basketball metaphor, BIG has many balls in the air. We're working with Purdue University on a fermentation sciences program, and have met with the state agriculture department about a grassroots explosion in hop- and malt-growing (think of the need for malt and oast houses). There's the state fair, and how beer sampling is to be integrated in the program for the first time since the late 1940s. Future legislative initiatives must be planned.

We also were regaled by representatives from the Indiana Department of Health, who were on hand to inform production breweries with little experience of gentle health department "guidance" that they're on the radar screen, and can expect friendly visits.

Floyd Countians: Load up on the KY Jelly.

I'm on the membership committee, answering to the esteemed Blaine Stuckey of Mad Anthony Brewing Company in Ft. Wayne. Blaine has spent much time working on a proposal, mimicking a program run by the Michigan Brewers Guild, to create an "enthusiast" membership tier, allowing fans of Indiana-brewed beer to "join." This is one way to build a cadre of loyalists among our bread and butter, the consumer.

It is my hope that we'll be able to achieve better communications between breweries, for a number of reasons. Networking is good. Mentoring to develop quality standards is vital. Solidarity for the purpose of legislative progress is essential.

As for internal matters, Clay Robinson of Sun King was re-elected president, and Chris Stanek from Crown remains treasurer. Rob Caputo (Flat12) succeeds Ted Miller as vice president, and Justin Miller (Black Acre) is the new secretary, replacing Jeff "Barley Island" Eaton.

There was a board reshuffle, the results of which I'm not entirely certain, apart from saying that one of my favorite folks in Indiana brewing is part of the board now: Jeff Mease, from Bloomington Brewing Company. Jeff, sorry I had no chance to chat; I was out the door to make the ballgame on time, but it's great to have you around.

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