After Ryan flew to Maryland to pick up our new truck on Monday of last week, he flew to a meeting of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild at Departed Soles Brewing Company in Jersey City. The recent snowfall made it difficult for some members to make it, but 25 intrepid soles braved the elements. Here’s what went down:
- Executive Director Don Russell gave his report, including news on this year’s beer festivals. Brews by the Bay fans should mark their calendars — the 2016 event will take place on September 10.
- Eric Orlando of the Kaufman Zita Group gave the legislative report. Remember those three bills that would allow for greater job creation within the industry? Since they weren’t put to a vote before the new year, they had to be resubmitted. Now, we’re waiting for them to be assigned to committee.
- Jeremy “Flounder” Lees of Flounder Brewing Co gave the membership report: 38 limited breweries, 11 restricted breweries, 1 contract brewer, 19 in planning, and 21 allied trade. Boom.
- Ryan — Guild Prez — went over the importance of the Guild’s Best Practices document. “I want to make sure all of our members are marching to the same beat,” he says. “If we’re not regulating ourselves, it makes it difficult to negotatie, and difficult to to advocate for legislation.”
- Ryan also discussed his plans for the upcoming Guild meeting, being held April 4 at Flying Fish. Neighboring guilds from Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania will be invited to attend a presentation given by Matt Stinchfield, Safety Ambassador for the Brewers Association, about affordable practices that can improve well-being in the brewhouse. “There are a lot of people getting into the craft brewing business who have no manufacturing experience, and now they’re tasked with operating heavy machinery and working with dangerous chemicals,” Ryan says. “We’re fortunate enough to have a safety manager on staff, but not everyone has that. I don’t want to see anyone hurt. The party can end real quick if you’re not careful.”
- Three new brewery openings were announced, including Slacktide in Cape May County, Dark City in Asbury Park, and (almost launched) Alementary in Hackettstown.
- Everyone was reminded to sign up for the Craft Brewers Conference, coming at you May 3-6 in Philadelphia. We’ll be there.
- Meeting adjorned. Everyone enjoyed snacks and tasty beer.