On Tuesday the Brewers Association announced its newest Board of Directors. The BA 2012 Board of Directors includes: Vice Chair Gary Fish, Deschutes Brewery (OR); Secretary/Treasurer Mark Edelson, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant (DE); Past Chair, At-large Member Nick Matt, F.X. Matt Brewing Co. (NY); Steve Bradt, Free State Brewing Co. (KS); Dick Cantwell, Elysian Brewing Co. (WA); Chris P. Frey, AHA Representative; Chris Graham, AHA Representative, Beer, Beer & More Beer (CA); Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (CA); Steve Hindy, Brooklyn Brewery (NY); Kim Jordan, New Belgium Brewing Co. (CO); John Mallett, Bell's Brewery (MI); John Pinkerton, Moon River Brewing Co. (GA); Rob Tod, At-large Member, Allagash Brewing Co. (ME) and Eric Wallace, Left Hand Brewing Co. (CO).
Your new Board Chairman: Sam Calagione (DE).
West Coast Directors: 4
Midwest Directors: 2
East Coast Directors: 5
South Directors: 1
Colorado Directors: 2
A bunch of big names in brewing, to be sure. I think it's interesting 4 states, including the brewing Mecca of Delaware (?!) have multiple representatives while breweries from entire swaths of the country are completely absent, most notably Texas and the South-West and any Mountain state other than Colorado.
I'm not implying that every state needs a brewery represented on the Board, that's absurd; but I would argue that craft breweries in the South-West face vastly different challenges than breweries in New York. The interests of breweries in Wisconsin seem to have little voice except to the extent that our interests overlap with the interests of breweries in Michigan.
I'd further assert that perhaps some parts of the country are better-represented at Brewers Association events such as Great American Beer Fest, Savor, etc. because the BA has buy-in from those areas of the country which is directly related to the fact that prominent, influential breweries in that region are the Board. It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem, however, I think: they get buy-in because they have members in those regions that are in powerful positions, but the members are in powerful positions precisely because they have buy-in from that region.
From my own empirical observations, it doesn't appear that Wisconsin breweries are particularly interested in the Brewers Association. Heck, they're barely interested in their own Brewer's [sic] Guild. Indeed most Wisconsin breweries seem to have very little interest in anything other than Wisconsin. A mistake in my opinion; but, for some reason, we have a very myopic group.
What can we learn from this? Probably not much, other than that it is going to be business-as-usual in 2012 for the Brewers Association.