Small brewers unite

AOB, BAA merge into single group to represent industry

Oct 4, 2004 - Two organizations representing America's small brewing industry have struck an agreement in principle to join their groups into one. The Brewers Assocation is expected to begin functioning Jan. 1, and will be based in Boulder, Colo.


The boards of directors of the Brewers Association of America, formed during World War II, and the Association of Brewers, born in 1979, both approved the agreement unanimously. The agreement is subject to approval by the membership of both organizations.

"This is a great day for small brewers in America," Gary Fish, Chairman of the BAA and President of Deschutes Brewery, said at a press conference in Denver, where the agreement was announced. "We believe that a combined organization will result in a stronger voice for small brewers in the media, in the nation's capital and in state legislatures."

Charlie Papazian, founder and president of the Association of Brewers will serve as president, but will not sit on the board of directors. BAA President Daniel Bradford has been offered the position of Legislative Director. He said at the press conference that he does not know if he will accept the job.

"There now are more than 1,500 breweries in the United States, more than any other country in the world, and a united voice will enable us to tell our story to the world more effectively," Papazian said. "This merger represents the best of the new and the best of the heritage of small brewing in America. A merger will greatly strengthen our marketing and our political initiatives."

Tom McCormick, publisher of, agreed. "Ultimately, it will be better for the industry. The divisiveness will expectantly be replaced with focus, and the partisanship between those who supported one group or the other will hopefully wane," he said. "It is now incumbent on the transitional board to ensure that a unified direction takes form."

Some of the highlights of the agreement:

  • Ongoing programs of both organizations will be carried forward.

  • The new board will consist of a minimum of 13 directors and a maximum of 15 directors, serving staggered three-year terms. There will be 11 board seats for professional Brewers, 7 packaging brewers and 4 brewpub brewers. All will be elected by the membership. There will be up to 2 at-large members elected by the membership. There will be two homebrewer members, elected by the membership of the American Homebrewers Association.

  • A transitional board composed of seven members from the AOB and seven from the BAA has been selected and will serve one year.

  • The new board plans to develop a strong committee system to develop policy for the Brewers Association programs and initiatives. The committees will be made up of board members and others with relevant expertise and interests.

    Members of the transistional board from the BAA are: Jim Koch, Boston Beer; Stephen Hindy, Brooklyn Brewery; Gary Fish, Deschutes Brewing Co.; Richard Doyle, Harpoon Brewery; Kim Jordan, New Belgium Brewing; Nick Matt, F.X. Matt Brewing Co.; and Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

    Members from the AOB are: Chuck Skypeck, Bosco's Brewing; John Carlson, Colorado Brewers Guild; Ralph Olsen, Hop Union; Randy Mosher, American Homebrewer's Association; Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Steve Bradt, Free State Brewing; and Brock Wagner, St. Arnold's Brewing.