Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What does it mean to be a member of the Brewers of Indiana Guild?

Brewers and brewery owners, please take heed. The Brewers of Indiana Guild isn't perfect, but we've accomplished quite a lot in recent years. There are no dues, and this is rare. To make it work, you need to be involved. Collective action is how we've achieved what we have. Combined efforts reduce the heaviness of the lift for everyone.

Read up. Questions? Let em know. I'll answer them, or direct you to someone who can.


Thoughts on Membership

Whether it is a club, a gym, a union or a professional association, generally we buy memberships in order to receive special “members only” benefits.

Prospective members should have three questions:
  1. Does this organization reflect my values?
  2. What does it cost?
  3. What will I get?

Your Values, Your Guild

The Brewers of Indiana Guild is a trade association whose sole purpose is to serve the best interest of Indiana’s craft breweries. We advocate throughout the year to make our state a place where the brewing industry grows in numbers and popularity, to give each individual brewery the best chance for success and profitability.

For the last 15 years your Guild has strategized and fought to make Indiana the fertile ground for craft breweries that it is today. The Guild is respected at the Indiana State House, at the Brewers Association, and by other guilds throughout the country.

“Cost” of Guild Membership

We are proud to be one of the only guilds in the country that does not charge dues. Other guilds require member breweries to pay annual dues ranging from nominal to significant. Some are flat-rate, and some are based on production volume. Our border states illustrate the variants seen around the country: 
  • Illinois: $250 to $1,500, based on volume
  • Kentucky: $200/year, flat-rate
  • Michigan: $250/year, flat-rate
  • Ohio: $500 to $12,000, based on volume

You “pay” for your Guild membership in the following ways:
  • Festival Participation. 
    Our Guild is funded by three highly successful festivals. These aren’t just fun PR events, they are fund-raisers, providing 99% of the Guild’s operating budget. 
  • Involvement. 
    Be as involved as you can be. At the very least, this means opening and reading emails from the Guild, and attending the Annual Meeting. Those who can dedicate significant time and energy should consider serving on a committee or running for a board position.
  • Legislative Support.
    Attend the annual legislative reception. Say YES when we ask for beer and volunteers for legislative events. We support candidates who support our industry, regardless of party or other platforms.

Benefits of Membership

As a member of Brewers of Indiana Guild, you receive the following:
  • Representative Government.
    Your current Board consists of 14 directors, representing large, medium and nano breweries from all over the state, brewpubs and production breweries alike. Anyone willing to commit the time and energy can run for a board position.
  • Professional staff. Three full-time staff members manage communications, member relations, festivals and all day-to-day business of the Guild, as directed by the Board. You may only see us at festivals, but we are here, working for you, year-round. (Read more about us in last month's member memo.)
  • Drink Indiana Beer.
    Our state-wide campaign keeps beer enthusiasts informed about Indiana’s beer industry and brings new people into our circle. We maintain a constant social media presence, work with traditional and new-age media, and collaborate with businesses and organizations to spread the gospel about craft beer in Indiana. As a member, your brewery is featured on our fabulous drinkIN.beer website. You may also use the “Drink Indiana Beer” logo on your website or promotional items.
  • Tomlinson Tap Room.
    The Guild is part-owner of Tom Tap, a beer bar at the historic Indianapolis City Market. Its sole purpose is to showcase Indiana beer. Tom Tap will buy and serve your beer whether you distribute or not. No other guild in the country has anything like this. We. Own. A. Beer. Bar. 
  • Active Lobby.
    Our Government Relations committee works with a professional lobbyist. This partnership has delivered some great legislation in recent years, while defending attacks on existing benefits: exclusive rights to fill growlers and to sell carryout beer on Sunday; and self-distribution (up to 30,000 bbls annually). The 2015 session raised the annual barrel cap to 90,000 and eased food service requirements for tasting rooms, among other wins. 
  • Education.
    The first Indiana Craft Brewers Conference was a sellout and a smashing success. This will be an annual event. Between conferences, the Guild hopes to initiate other programs to support new brewers and help all breweries maintain the highest professional standards. 
  • Purdue Partnership.
    After two-plus years of development, collaboration with Purdue University’s renowned Agriculture School is about to bear fruit. An internship program will allow breweries to interview and hire students from the Fermentation Sciences program. Additionally, we are partially funding a new staff position at Purdue, a biochemist who will be available to consult with breweries on bacterial issues and product testing/analysis.
  • Networking.
    The above-named benefits are all important, but in the end, one of the best things you can get from your Guild is the opportunity to meet and befriend your peers. Some of the most valuable “lessons” at the Brewers Conference were gained at the social events, one-on-one, beer in hand. 

Enjoy your membership.

Use your membership.

Value your membership.

Lee Smith
Executive Director
Brewers of Indiana Guild

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