Beer Aliens recently abducted and interrogated, er interviewed Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) to discuss AHA Rallies, homebrewing, AHA and more.
Here is the information extracted from Gary Glass before he was returned:
How does a brewery get chosen to host a Rally?
It’s a mix of breweries approaching the AHA wanting to host a rally and the AHA staff reaching out to breweries that we think would make good rally hosts.
How many Rallies do you host in a year?
In 2013, we had 15 rallies, which is pretty typical for the number we’ve had in past years. This year we are looking to double that to 30 rallies.
What did the AHA do to directly support the legalization of Home Brewing?
Over the last several years, the AHA has worked with local homebrewers in Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama and Mississippi to legalize homebrewing in those states. We can draw upon our understanding of the various homebrew laws around the country to help craft bills and navigate the legislative process. Once a legalization movement gets going, the AHA can mobilize members in any state to contact legislators to push bills through a grassroots campaign. Without the financial resources to have lobbyists in every state, uniting homebrewers in support of homebrewing legislation is the only way to bring about change.
How has the legalization of home brewing in 50 states affected AHA?
Specific to the AHA, there has been recognition that this is a significant milestone for homebrewing, and that having a national organization representing homebrewers helped make that milestone a reality.
In a broader sense, the legalization of homebrewing in Utah and Oklahoma and last year in Mississippi and Alabama have allowed homebrewers in those states to more openly practice their hobby. We’ve seen new shops open, new clubs form and new events launched within the homebrewing communities in those states that have recently legalized homebrewing. That means more exposure for homebrewing and more people getting into the hobby in those states.
In your role as director of AHA, what is your passion that you strive to promote within the home brewing community?
As a long-time homebrewer, I am very passionate about the hobby of homebrewing. As director of the AHA I am extremely fortunate to serve the entire community of homebrewers. I think homebrewers are the best people on earth, so it is a real pleasure to come into work every day knowing my job is to serve our amazing members and help them make better beer.
Does the AHA solicit businesses to participate, do businesses solicit the AHA or is it a mixture of both?
It is a mix of both.
Do businesses offering benefits to AHA members report back the amount of benefits given?
No, we do not attempt to track usage at individual locations.
Is it free or do businesses pay a fee to offer the AHA members a benefit?
It is free to participate, though breweries that participate must be members of the Brewers Association Professional Division to participate.
Which AHA event is your favorite and why? Would you like to see more like these?
I love the National Homebrewers Conference. There is nothing else like getting thousands of homebrewers from across the country and around the world in one place to share knowledge and their homebrew.
Doing more than one National Homebrewers Conference would be an immense logistical challenge. I don’t see that happening in the near future, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility entirely. One of the reasons we are doubling the number of AHA rallies held in a year is in recognition that not all members are able to attend the National Homebrewers Conference. More AHA rallies means more members from around the country have an opportunity to get together with fellow members and enjoy an event organized by the AHA.
Do you partner with other networks to share members and/or benefits?
There is some sharing of benefits between the AHA and the Brewers Association Professional Division. We do work very closely with the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) and will be adding some administrative assistance to the BJCP in 2014.
Do you still homebrew? If so, what are you brewing right now or what did you brew last?
Of course! I’ve got an imperial stout that is going to be aged in an oak barrel, and am planning to brew a rye saison next week.
What is your all-time favorite recipe that we could share with our readers?
Well, I’ve never brewed the same recipe twice, but I have been doing variations on a saison recipe (doing one next week) that was used as one of the commemorative beers for the 2009 AHA National Homebrewers Conference. That beer was brewed by Lost Abbey based on recipe created by San Diego homebrew club QUAFF members Chad Stevens and Dave Levonian. The recipe appeared in the May/June 2009 issue of Zymurgy magazine. We used some Beer Alien technology to image the recipe from the magazine issue:
For more information about Gary Glass and the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), visit their site.