The Brewers Association announced today that founder and past president Charlie Papazian will depart the Brewers Association on January 23, 2019, marking his 70th birthday and 40 years with the association.
“We are all here today because of Charlie Papazian,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association said in a press release. “His influence on the homebrewing and craft brewing community is immeasurable. Who could have predicted that a simple wooden spoon, ingenuity and passion would spawn a community of more than one million homebrewers and 6,000 small and independent U.S. craft breweries.”
The press release left out any mention of “retirement,” indicating that Charlie will remain active in the industry.
Charlie and Charlie Matzen founded of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) back in 1978 and soon after created the Association of Brewers. The AHA, with Charlie as the spokesperson and band leader, inspired millions of people to “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew,” a phrase from his first book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.
In 1982, Papazian debuted the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Boulder, CO. which is now in its 37th year and the largest ticketed beer festival in North America with more than 60,000 attendees annually. Even with “beer festival fatigue” setting in around the country, causing many longstanding festivals to decline in attendance, the GABF continues to sell out within hours of tickets going on sale.
In 1983, the Association of Brewers created the Institute for Brewing and Fermentation Studies to assist the emerging microbrewery movement in US. By 2005, the Association of Brewers and the Brewers’ Association of America merged to form the Brewers Association.
“I had a playful vision that there would be a homebrewer in every neighborhood and a brewery in every town. But what I did not imagine, couldn’t imagine, never considered, was the impact that craft brewing would have on our culture, economy and American life,” said Papazian in the press release.
According to the press release, Papazian will spend his final year at the BA completing many projects, including a craft brewing history archive project. The archive will house 40 years of craft beer history in the form of more than 100,000 publications, photographs, audiotapes, films, videos, and documents—including 140 video interviews of the pioneers of American craft brewing—and will be accessible to researchers via the BA. He will also deliver the keynote address at the AHA’s 40th annual National Homebrew Conference, “Hombrew Con,” in Portland, OR on Thursday, June 28.