This year the American Homebrewers Association announced a new award, The Radegast Club of the Year, that was to be awarded to one of their clubs at the National Homebrew Conference. Radegast is the ancient Slavic god of hospitality who is also said to have created beer to help in his congenial endeavors. He is the perfect symbol of the new Radegast Club of the Year Award, acknowledging homebrew clubs not for their competitive merits, but for their efforts to interact with and support their local community.
The Carolina BrewMasters were announced by Gary Class, AHA Director, and Melody Meyer, member of Hopunion, as the winner at the Grand Banquet of the 2014 National Homebrewers Conference. On the outside CBM may look like any other club, holding meetings, hosting an annual competition, holding brew sessions, doing charity work, and encouraging education. However this particular group goes above and beyond in every effort (click here to see their submission).
CBM is the host of annual Charlotte Oktoberfest, which is one of the largest festivals in the country. Not only do they organize event, but they donate much of the profit to local charities and programs. In 2013, $75,000 was split between Second Harvest Metrolina, Classroom Central and Project Halo. This year Kids Rein, Classroom Central, and Camp CARE are going to be the recipients of proceeds from the event.
One of the ways that the club is able to increase participation is from having a points system, referred to as “karma points.” Club members are awarded points for participating in various ways including judging or stewarding in competitions, entering homebrew in competitions and ribboning, attending meetings, hosting brew sessions, or volunteering at community events. Throughout the year the points are awarded to members and then exchanged for raffle tickets in December for which members can use to win brewing equipment or beer. The member with the most points at the end of the year is declared the CBM Brewer of the Year and awarded a plaque at the yearly awards ceremony.
A total of 25 homebrew clubs were nominated for the Radegast award for its inaugural year. The nominees were reviewed and voted on by an impartial panel of judges from the AHA Governing Committee and select members of the brewing community. The winner received a stipend of $500 for the club as well as a $500 donation to the charity of the club’s choice.
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