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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Club of the Year

If you want to piss off a homebrewer, win an award that they can't, and do it with grace and humility in front of 1500 of their peers.

The Brewing Network won the Club of the Year award at the National Homebrewers Conference last week, and the virtual beer universe has been on fire with the questions.  People questioning if we are really a club, if we are really allowed to win the thing, and how unfair it is that we all don't meet regularly under the name "Club Meeting".  Hopefully I can answer some of these questions, as they are all (acutally) pretty decent.  Maybe.

The BN is getting heat from folks for registering as a homebrew club.  Just to be clear, we did NOT register ourselves as a club.  I'm not sure who did it, but it was not anyone on "staff".   I know you really want to think that this was some creative social media thing to promote our shows and all of that, but we aren't that clever.  We just go the standard route of providing rad information in an entertaining (to some) way.  Then, word of mouth.  But really it all came about from one person entering our name as their club.  To me, this points at how many homebrewers simply do not have enough people in their area to create a club. Or maybe the club nearest them is full of douches.  Has anyone ever thought of that?  Think back to your club meetings - remember that guy who could never really fit in, and that everyone ran away from when he came to meetings with his beer.  THAT person is welcomed in our club.  And THAT is the person that we want.

This whole thing is becoming about The Brewing Network, and it shouldn't be.  We never asked to be a club, nor did we think that we would ever even be in the running for Club of the Year.  The fact is there are enough people out there that feel tied to one another through our shows and our forum to want to put our name on their beers.  These people ARE a club.  We meet every year at NHC, and every Sunday in the chat room, and many folks meet on their own to taste eachothers beers. So we can't meet every month - what about that guy in your club who can never make it to a meeting?  Is he still in your club?  I bet he is if his dues check clears.  We have no officers, no cute club name - but are those requirements to enter homebrews in the NHC? 

What really burns me is that some of these questions have been brought up by a friend of the show.  Someone in the club that came in second place.  Interesting.

We are a club for the people who have no club.  The "Island of Misfit Toys" but for beer.   A listener who had no club registered TBN, and it grew from there.

It's not about us.  It's about them.

This post reflects my thoughts on the subject, and is not the opinion of The Brewing Network, its advertisers, or anything like that.  So don't take this post and run it up your forums like it's a statement from the BN.  It's just me.


  1. I was a bit surprised when I saw who made the initial post on the AHA boards.

  2. Yeah, me too. Surprised and dissapointed.

  3. “I’d never join a club that would have me as a member…” -G. Marx

  4. All points well taken and well said.

    You must however admit some truths:

    1. A lot of people who submit beers under this club do live in major metros where there are clubs, not because there are no local options. They understandably feel more connected to the BN because they probably listen every day as opposed to the once a month they might get to their local club. You guys are the cool kids of home brewing and everybody wants to be in the cool kids club. I personally considered entering as the BN for this reason, but decided my local club needed representation more.

    2. As a virtual club with no physical or membership requirements, the BN will always be the largest club, and will as a result likely always win.

    Of course, the little clubs are just as jealous of the giant west coast clubs as those guys are of the BN. Some 10-member club in Alabama will never have a chance to win because of the sheer numbers of members available in the pool on the west coast. In this way at least you have knocked them down a peg. Were the Falcons or DOZE talking about fairness before the BN?

    So when it comes down to it, being a member of club of the year doesn't mean much. It used to be an advantage you had from living where you do, and now the BN has nullified that advantage. Good on you (the listeners).

  5. One only has to look at the amount of BN t shirts and hats people were wearing at the NHC to realize the following the BN has. I am am member of both a local club and the BN.

  6. Lets not forget that most people who speak at their local club are spouting off something that they heard from the BN or another internet place. The BN is helping clubs everywhere, not just their named BN entrants. Most people are not doing their own experimentation nor do they have the same experience brewing as some of the BN-ers do. I consider myself both a BN-er and a local clubber. But I know I have gotten more information from the BN than I have from my club mostly because my club members are getting the same information that I am from the BN.