Brewers Association

Michigan Brewers Guild on the Cutting Edge

Michigan Brewers Guild on the Cutting Edge

Earlier this month, the annual winter conference of the Michigan Brewers Guild was held in beautiful, but cold, Kalamazoo. The three day conference, devoted to all things Michigan brewers and beer, was hosted by the state's activist and influential association of small brewers.

Similar in structure to the Brewers Association’s Craft Brewers Conference, the event consisted of educational seminars and networking opportunities. From technical brewing issues, like yeast propagation/management and brett brewing, to sessions on trademark protection and preparing for state workplace safety audits, the programming ran the gamut of brewing topics. Consumer-oriented issues also received plenty of attention, with presentations on cooking with beer and wait staff beer training.

The BA’s Pete Johnson attended the conference, updating guild members on the national legislative and regulatory landscape and participating in the government affairs roundtable discussion. The roundtable highlighted the far-reaching and varied work of the guild on legislative matters. Some of the government affairs accomplishments in 2010 included a very successful Legislative Day in Lansing, MI. Guild members visited their elected officials in their Capitol offices to discuss issues of importance to small brewers, the passage of a joint resolution proclaiming July as Michigan Craft Beer Month, and success in getting craft beer added to legislation dealing with off-premises tastings.

The guild has even greater ambitions for 2011, and has begun the year by formalizing a major initiative, the formation of a political action committee (PAC). The Michigan Craft Brewers PAC is meant to support lawmakers who positively impact the Michigan craft beer industry. This is the first instance of a state guild forming a PAC that we are aware of, and points to the innovative and forward-thinking activities of the Michigan Brewers Guild. 2011 holds great promise for Michigan’s small brewers with a variety of State House activities and legislative proposals already on the docket; and with the guild leading the charge, success is sure to follow.

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