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Make Galway great again!

Started by Kevco5, January 25, 2020, 12:26:44 am

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Kevco5

Hi all.

Lately the homebrew club scene in Galway has gone very quiet, we've a large, active, WhatsApp group yet it seems there are very few events actually going on locally.

So I'm looking for volunteers! People with great ideas for the club and can follow through with organising meetings and events to put Galway back on the Homebrew map.

Personally I'm stepping down as a Galway Rep, as homebrewing has fallen on my list of priorities these last few years, and would like to nominate ronniedeb (Ronan De Bhaldraithe) to take the mantle for the meantime (if he'll have it!)

Regards
Kevin Connell

guest2162

I have been thinking a lot about the challenges in running a homebrew club in the west, and have been talking a lot to people from clubs around the world in Facebook groups about how to overcome them.

These are some ideas which I think could contribute to creating and maintaining a strong club...

1) find a brewery/brew pub to partner with which would provide a space for meets, demos, brew days etc. I think this partnership would have obvious benefits for the brewery/brew pub also.

2) also partner with a homebrew store to avail of discounts etc and work with them to trial new equipment, new ingredients etc. I know the national homebrew club has discounts with the main shops... but a bigger discount from a more local shop to a smaller more dedicated following might be more advantageous to all?

3) have meets on Saturday afternoons... I know this one probably wouldn't be popular with some due to family commitments, but I think once a month that sacrifice could be made... especially if the meets were made "family friendly" what this does is introduce the potential for members from further afield to travel and avail of public transport etc

4) organise guest speakers to come and talk... this wouldn't have to be every meet but it would give added incentive to attend a meet if there was a professional brewer or chemist or homebrew expert or BJCP judges or whatever planned... there may be costs involved with this, but Ireland is a small country and the brewing scene is relatively small so I'm sure people know people who know people

5) have a fairly rigid structure and agenda to the meet-ups so people know what to expect, and newcomers don't feel like they are sitting in on a strangers drinking session (that can happen after the meet!!)

6) have regular brew challenges, or informal competitions ... so everyone has to brew a certain style, or use certain ingredients, or methods and have the beer ready for the next meet.

7) set out the schedule of meets and nights out and bottle swaps at the start of the year, so people can plan in advance... something like the third Saturday of the month or whatever for meet ups...

8 ) organise club brews, group buys, possibly hop growing if a suitable location could be found etc etc. ... also, getting and filling barrels!!

9) think big, so instead of 'Galway homebrew club' rename it as 'Midwest homebrew club' or something to that effect, the bigger and better it is, the further people will be willing to travel to it... obviously not overnight, but over time if the reputation grows

10) organise brewery tours around the country

11) partner with an off licence to set up a beer club where we get discounts on monthly boxes of new craft beers for inspiration

12) maintain an active visible social media presence so members can interact, and non member can be drawn in

13) talk to homebrew shops and see if they can put up a section on their webpages to direct new brewers to the different clubs around the country for guidance and advice


I am based in Westport, but I would be interested in getting involved and volunteering for stuff!

There's an article in this magazine about a club in England which was set up by a guy I was chatting with and it seems to be a great success story, so it is possible!

https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/60596657/hopulist-issue-5

ronniedeb

Thanks Kev. Im also homebrewing less these days, but have made it to the odd meeting and there definitely seems to be a desire for a more active club. lll organise a meeting for February and we could discuss diversifying and expanding meetings and events there. AnGhrùdlannBeag  has some good ideas that we could adopt.

TheSumOfAllBeers

We kicked off/ restarted Waterford/southeast meets last June, and have met every month since without fail.

We are actually a tiny club - meeting attendance is 2-5 per month, but that's 8 meetings where beer gets shared, 2 social events and one club brew day.

We are trying to expand, and fingers crossed we might coax another 3 people to turn up regularly and that will change the club dynamic for the better.

The best advice I can give you is this:
- you need to guarantee a meet every month, not just whenever you can get a quorum. This may mean that one unlucky sod is the only attendee.
- partner up with a good host. You need a place where you have privacy to do your discussion, and they let you byo into their venue. It works best if the venue is public accessible (craft pubs)
- make the meeting format interesting, try to guarantee a presentation, but be relaxed about its format - a slideshow of phone pics of personal kit or a process is good enough

Will give you some more tips later

Flanagan

I'm not getting around to much brewing these days and I'm not going to offer up any efforts (yet) around organising stuff and the background work that goes with that... but a few suggestions FWIW:

- Case swaps: Lots of people can't make the meetups so you just arrange a drop off and pick up point and someone to mix the bottles. Can set up a whatsapp group for feedback and scoring, add voting & prizes if you want.
- Brew demos: At someones house, garage or ideally in a brewery.
- The odd local comp in the Oslo of an afternoon. Try to find a few judges who might stick around for a pint afterwards.

Thanks to Kev for running the show for many's a year.

On a side note I always thought Galway was crying out for a small-scale low-key craft beer festival, and the old Connacht printworks would be a great location. Apparently it is being turned into a food hall now. A beer fest in a good venue with a quality product and the right crowd is the dog's bollix. But that's a pipe dream.

Hopefully might make a few meetups later this year. Chur!

Will_D

The most important thing for a club meet as already mentioned is consistency!

Pick a date in the month (ok or 2 Tuesdays as the NCB do!!! 8)) and stick to it.

When I see other groups polling for a meeting date I think "FFS this is a disaster".

When people know that the meet is on say the 3rd Wednesday of the month at least they know in advance for the next 6 months or more that there will be a meet.

When it comes to our Christmas party then its just a doodle lottery. Not all of our 25 plus members can make any specific date in December but we do our best.

Will
Remember: The Nationals are just round the corner - time to get brewing

fishjam45 (Colin)

Best of luck with it lads, more power to ya!
Garden County Brewers

https://gcbrewers.wordpress.com/

nigel_c

Another thing we do in the north county is each man throws €2 in the pot per meet up and this pays for our Christmas party and any other things we might need over the year. Subsidies group buys etc.

TheSumOfAllBeers

Quote from: Will_D on January 25, 2020, 10:46:35 pm
Pick a date in the month (ok or 2 Tuesdays as the NCB do!!! 8)) and stick to it.

When I see other groups polling for a meeting date I think "FFS this is a disaster".

 
If your active membership is high, ie double digits, then you can do this.

But if you are getting started, or have a small active membership you have to micromanage the meetup date.

At Copper Coast we always wanted a fixed predictable date, like Nth FooDay of month, for all the benefits you mentioned, but it's not practical for us. We have to float the date around to maximise attendance

What's important is we guarantee a meetup every month, poll or no poll

fishjam45 (Colin)

We aim for the 2nd Thursday of every month but that can change due to the venue being pre-booked or it not suiting most of the group members - we'll always bounce it around the whatsapp group first.
We've started running a kitty recently too -  a pint glass on the table and if you want you can chuck in €2. This kitty will go towards group buys and the likes.  We recently bought 100 Garden County Brewers glasses from the UK
Garden County Brewers

https://gcbrewers.wordpress.com/

Callan86

Hi All,

I recently moved from the county into the city, my brewing went on hiatus during the move but I'm looking forward to getting back on track in 2020. I'd be delighted to volunteer with Galway Brewers, some good and positive ideas here on how to improve things and I can't say I've anything to add yet, but I'd look forward to meeting with other homebrewers before long.

Blueshed

Great thread with some interesting points. Royal county brewer's will be taking notes and hopefully improve the club.

St. Fursey

It didn't help that nearly all of our original members went pro :D
It's definitely time to revitalise the club, some great ideas here!

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk


TheSumOfAllBeers

One issue to watch out for, is that you start with great intentions and energy, but run out of steam.

It happens to all groups, and we planned for it when we launched Copper Coast Round Table meetups. Basically we made it everyones responsibility to present on some topic, and then lowered the bar as to what constitutes a presentation (a photo slideshow from your phone is perfectly ok).

If you dont do that, then you are going to have a continuous chairperson who just burns out, and without that source of energy the meetups become less interesting and attendance tails off.

Callan86

Not a suggestion on how to improve the Galway HC, but it might be of interest to people commenting/viewing this thread, here's the water report that I ordered from Murphy's Lab, this is for the Galway city water supply:

Ions (All Figures in ppm)   
pH   6.68
Nitrate   1.2
Total Hardness (as CaCO3)   179
Calcium   63.56
Magnesium   3.46
Chloride   20.39
Sulphate   47.
Alkalinity (as CaCO3)   108