Earlier in 2019 the SABC conducted a questionnaire to find out what the membership enjoyed, wanted to do more of, see less of and the direction we should go in. The feedback we got was very positive. With that comes the hard part — how do we keep going offering the same meetings, activities, projects, events and get-togethers that our membership enjoyed?
It’s difficult for a club with a paid subscription to attract new members and maintain existing members with the pressures of life. There are also many avenues on social media to ask questions and get answers on how to brew better beer or overcome any challenges brewers face.
Forums and social media can quickly generate answers to a wide range of questions any homebrewer needs. Likes on a photo of a brewer’s ‘perfect’ creation can rack up but you can’t taste photos, friends and fellow brewers can’t smell the aroma from a picture. They can’t help with recipe design and other flaws.
It’s hard to get adults to join a club but everyone who has joined us recently has been pleasantly surprised by what they discover and the friendship we offer. This year we grew by around 25 members (that’s also 25 per cent) and now sit precariously on the verge of 100 members.
Our main focus is on how our members can benefit from what we do. Our special events are subsidised, the prizes for our competitions are for members to win, now our Facebook group is by-and-large for paying members and the unique opportunities like brew days are open only to our members to take part.
The most important thing we ask whenever the committee plans events is how much benefit does it offer our members and can we offer it for no extra money.
This year’s calendar has been choc-a-block and I did some back of an envelope calculation and estimated that if anyone came to at least half of the year’s regular meetings, attended a few of our special events, took up any of the special offers and benefits that come our way and maybe won a raffle, they’d have value that easily exceeds the $60 membership fee.
This year our meetings some great special guests. Many of you told me they enjoyed Stephen Nelsen from TAFE but we also had Gabi from Gladfield and Dermott from BeerCo. We went to the German Club, Little Bang and Pirate Life’s new digs and a tour of Southern Vales breweries.
Other highlights were presentations by members on water, lagers and kegging.
BeerBQ was again a highlight for the year – not only for Keiren’s green glitter beer but everyone else’s beers, the food was again on point and it was free for members again.
A brew club should brew beer and this year we were grateful that Brad at Left Barrel helped a group of members brew a pro-size batch of beer for them to all takeaway and make their own fermentation decisions. The rest of us got to try the results.
Brewing at Glen’s house was another great day of making beer and friendship and great pizza.
We’ll be doing both of these again soon.
We also kicked big competition goals. John Van de Zalm won SABSOSA’s Best of Show. Keiren Vercoe and Greg Weider shared silver at the Aust. National Homebrew Competition and SA best overall state.
The ‘Nats’ were held alongside the Nat. Homebrew Conference in Melbourne and a sizeable number of SABC-ers attended. Our beers were head and shoulders above other bigger clubs at the social club night and our theme bar took the equal top spot with a beer pouring Dalek. Gary’s saison also took silver in that unofficial competition.
I can’t write about our own competitions without by noting the work and passion of our competitions director Gary Waters and IT whizkid Julien Gibson. Gary’s passion was also rewarded. He was accepted into the associate judge program for the Independent Brewer’s Awards for the next year.
Our Summer Competition was saison, NEIPA and milk stouts and with 50+ entries, we had to look to the King’s Head as a venue to judge and then we came to the winter comp. At 75 entries for ‘All things American’ from club members, it was our biggest yet and judging day at the Irish Club was a suitable test run for SABSOSA.
That’s a wrap for the year but I can’t sign-off with acknowledging the hard work of the committee. It’s their ideas and support that really make things happen for the benefit of you the members.
Angus Kingston, President, SABC 2018-19