Since KS state law now allows sampling homebrew at club meetings, I’m thinking about starting a new club in my area. The big question is where we will meet. I’m looking for ideas. As the title suggests…where does your club meet (house, bar, brewery, church, etc.)? How many people normally attend? Any advice on selecting a location? If you rotate locations, how do you coordinate that so everyone knows where to show up?
Right now we rotate to peoples house. I started a facebook page and post the time and location of future meetings. We also have the option of meeting at the local beer distributor but we havent done it, the house party thing is a lot of fun. We usually get 15-20 people and it is a carry in format. Not everyone volunteers to host but we have enough to keep it from being a burden on any one member.
We have a couple of local pubs willing to let us steal a corner to geek out.
A bigger club like St Louis Brews used to meet at a beer distributor, then switched to a Catholic church. Catholics mnow how to party.
We used to meet at houses and then beer pubs but now we have 110 members and it is too many people for either place. We have been lucky in that some Craft breweries have let us have the place on their closed night.
That sounds like a guild not a club!
Not in any clubs here in Rochester (yet), but my two clubs in Baltimore met in several places, I thought a pub or bar with an under/under-utilized private room was the best:
-people can order beer (and have a server bring it to them) during the meeting
-can be quiet
-don’t have to worry about a huge group of (mostly) dudes descending upon someone’s house
-win/win for the bar as they can get people in there who love good beer on what are usually slower nights
One club also met at a homebrew store for the last few months I was there. Good, but not ideal (people had to bring their own chairs, no tables for writing/scribing minutes, fridge space tough for home-brewed samples).
My club is quite large… currently sitting at about 150 members that will grow to 200+ by years end I’m sure. We are lucky in that one of the original members is now the head brewer at a local Iron Hill Brewery. We meet the first Tuesday every month in one of their back rooms. Meetings are usually pretty full. I’m guessing anywhere around 75-100+ showing up for most meetings. It can get hectic and loud so we’ve enacted a few rules. The first 10-15min are to discuss club matters followed by a speaker (if there is one that month). There is no opening, sharing, drinking home brew during these early parts of the meeting. Afterwards it opens up to a social gathering. Sharing beer, recipes, or just BSing with each other.
There have been a few months where we had to change venue due to some event or party going on at Iron Hill. It’s always been easy to convince a restaurant/bar owner to allow 100+ beer drinkers and generally big eaters, to have a meeting in a spare room somewhere on a random Tuesday night.
Those would be my suggestions when looking for a location. Find a brewery, brewpub, etc and just go talk to them. Explain you’ll be bringing in guys who love beer and will surely come to spend money on beer and food. I know we pack the bar at Iron Hill for no less than 60-90 minutes before our meetings even start, which I’m sure is greatly appreciated on a Tuesday night.
My club meets in the party room of a local restaurant. They normally have draft specials for us and let us bring our own in for sampling/sharing.
Pietro, Are you in Rochester NY or MI? I’ll be in NY memorial weekend competing in the roc city rib fest. It will be our 4th year there. Last year we placed 10th overall in the kcbs comp. If you’ll be there stop by for a brew!
About a dozen members meet at my house (the club is a bit larger than that but not everyone makes it to each meeting). It’s nice to have a predictable spot. I ask members to bring their own glasses because tasters and water glasses ended up being “one more thing” to wash and deal with. I also eventually ran out of chairs so new members pay $10 which is how much a folding chair costs. It’s not too much of a hassle if you have the space (it helps that we have great members).
Way the hell out in the suburbs. I’d love to join my local club, but all I’d be doing is paying dues!
Bozeman Brewing Company
Madison River Brewing
Yes I am a lucky man!
Thanks for your feedback guys. We’re going to be meeting at a LHBS that has kindly volunteered to host until we outgrow their space…which won’t be long. We can maybe fit 15 guys. We’ve already got 8 guys planning to go and we haven’t really tried spreading the word yet.
My experience is that you can get 25-30 people and you’ll have 15 show up to any one meeting. I’ve quit trying to get people to be in our club though, we have a comfortable number now. I do like to advertise the club through participation in events so people are aware that there is one.
Just had our first meeting tonight. Not surprisingly it was a lot of fun. We had 10 guys show up and we didn’t really try to spread the word.
One of the guys brought a sample of La Petite Orange. Very good kit.
Our club used to meet out at a bar, but meets at a club member’s house now. I think I like that more, meeting at a club member’s house. It’s just more personal, quieter, and can see their setup.
I don’t host meetings though. My place is too small and I’m not a hosting kind of person.
My theory (maybe it’s wrong) is that meeting at someone’s house is suboptimal until the club has been established for a while, you have a core group of members and you don’t care about growing any further. Two reasons:
(1) I would not want to post my private address on a website/Facebook group if I were the host
(2) Some potential visitors might be uncomfortable about showing up at a stranger’s house; whereas, a public location feels safer
I bet we could easily grow club attendance to 30-40 in our area–with a much larger floating membership. Personally I am not interested in becoming a large club. I’m thinking about just keeping the meeting at the current location and letting the space naturally regulate attendance. Maybe that would be a good way to get me booted as the default leader of the club (a role I do not want, but ended up with).
We are getting to the point where we have to plan on finding a new venue soon or just allow our current venue size to regulate membership/attendance. So I’m thinking a little about options.
Has anyone out there explored meeting at a VFW post? I’m guessing they won’t let a club meet there for free.