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Charlie Papazian Announces Upcoming Exit from Brewers Association

Charlie Papazian Fist Bump

The godfather of American homebrewing will soon be saying his goodbye to the very organization he helped launch. Charlie Papazian, who famously penned The Complete Joy of Homebrewing has announced that he will be exiting his role with The Brewers Association on January 23, 2019, to coincide with his 70th birthday and 40 years serving the craft beer community.

In 1978 Papazian co-founded the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) with Charlie Matzen and published the first edition of Zymurgy magazine announcing the legalization of homebrewing, the formation of the AHA, along with a call for entries to the first AHA Competition National Homebrew competition.

Papazian also debuted the Great American Beer Festival in 1982, and went on to found the Association of Brewers, which would eventually merge with Brewers’ Association of America to form the Brewers Association in 2005.

In his final year of service to the brewing world, Charlie will seek to complete the craft brewing history archive project. The archivee will include over 100,000 publications, photos, videos and artifacts documenting 40 years of craft beer history.  His work has passed down a lasting legacy of homebrewing for generations to come, and his recognition and fist bumps at the Great American Beer Festival has inspired so many brewers to strive to produce greater quality, and innovation in beer. For more read the full press release from the Brewers Association below:

Charlie Papazian Self Fist Bump
Charlie Papazian Self First Bumps for 35 Years. Photo © 2016 Jason E. Kaplan, DRAFT Magazine / Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers—today announced that founder and past president Charlie Papazian will exit the Brewers Association on January 23, 2019, marking his 70th birthday and 40 years building the craft brewing community and inspiring brewers and beer lovers around the world.

“We are all here today because of Charlie Papazian,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association. “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.”

Charlie Papazian, founder of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) and the Association of Brewers, set the stage for homebrewing back in the 1970s. His expertise and friendly tone assured people that making good beer was possible at home. He stressed his catchphrase of “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew” in his first book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and inspired millions to pick up the hobby of homebrewing.

In 1978, Papazian, along with Charlie Matzen, formed the AHA in Boulder, CO. They published the first issue of Zymurgy magazine, announcing the new organization, publicizing the federal legalization of homebrewing and calling for entries in the first AHA National Homebrew Competition. Today, the AHA is more than 46,000 members strong.

In 1982, Papazian debuted the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Boulder, CO. Now in its 37th year, GABF is the largest ticketed beer festival in North America with more than 60,000 attendees annually and its accompanying competition is one of the most coveted awards in the brewing industry.

The following year, the Association of Brewers was organized to include the AHA and 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.

When asked, “Charlie, did you ever imagine that beer would become this?” His answer is always yes.

“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,” mused Papazian.

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.

Brewers and homebrewers are invited to share their well wishes and Charlie Papazian stories on the AHA and BA Facebook pages.

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