- Steering Committee: in charge of initial work until a board of directors can be elected by the membership. This group is often comprised of a few motivated individuals interested in organizing the guild and willing to shoulder the weight of bringing parties together to create this formal structure. From the steering committee, a process of nominations and voting for the board can be established.
- Board of Directors: generally between 5-9 people, most often composed of brewers and owners. These are the people who will do the bulk of the work in organizing events and programs until paid staff is hired. The board should be elected by a vote of all brewery members with representatives from breweries of all sizes. When paid staff is brought on, they report directly to the board and follow through on the board intitiatives.
- Officers: President, Vice President, Secretary (responsible for taking meeting minutes and communicating the board's work to the membership), and Treasurer, (responsible for keeping track of finances).
- Paid Staff (Executive Director/Coordinator/etc.): essential to realizing every guild's full potential. Sometimes part time, sometimes full time, but always a mainstay in the nation's strongest and most advanced guilds.
Your Board of Directors
Because most guilds/associations do not start out with a paid staff member, your board of directors is a very important group. These are the people who will do the bulk of the work in organizing events and programs. The board should be elected by a vote of all brewery members with representatives from breweries of all sizes.
From within the board, you will elect officers, such as President and Vice President. You may also want to elect a Secretary, responsible for taking meeting minutes and communicating the board’s work to the membership, and a Treasurer, responsible for keeping track of finances.
Beyond the board of directors, you may want to consider forming committees to handle programs and projects such as events, membership recruitment, and government affairs.
To assist you with hiring an executive director, we’ve created a document that provides a blueprint for finding the right candidate for your guild. Based on the input of a few state guild directors, this document outlines the duties guilds often perform through the year. Please note, if you are going to have any paid guild staff, there are additional paperwork requirements that you will need to learn about by contacting your state’s Department of Revenue.
Most guilds hire EDs as Independent Contractors. You can access a general job description and an example of one state’s contract for hiring their first part-time Executive Director here:
Another fine example of a guild support job description for California Craft Brewers Association's Associate Manager role:
The Massachusetts Brewers Guild outlined the general description of their ED's role:
“Ensure that the MBG achieves its strategic mission and short-and-long-term goals by collaborating with the BOD to establish and pursue said goals. Provide overall organizational leadership in developing programs, organizational and financial plans to include: budgets, event planning, government affairs, and public relations. Additional duties will include: routine bookkeeping, returning phone calls/e-mails, press releases, monthly/quarterly meetings with multiple groups, introducing and then regularly publishing a quarterly newsletter, and running continuing education programs.”
The search for an executive director by its very nature provides the guild’s BOD with a chance to reassess the guild as a whole and to reevaluate its needs, goals, strengths, and challenges. Hiring an executive director is one of the most important actions that a guild takes. The board is dependent on the director for day-to-day operations to achieve the guild’s purposes and objectives within the limitations of its budget. This is not an easy task to accomplish, year after year! In addition, the working relationship between the director and the board, owners, brewers, promoters, affiliate members, sponsors, state associations, and other agencies can significantly influence the guild’s effectiveness and reputation in the community.
Hiring a director is similar to what you’d go through in hiring a staff member for your brewery. You’ll organize the hiring committee, check out our guild duties/job description document, outline the profile of your ideal candidate, advertise the position, qualify your prospects, gather references, interview candidates, select your finalist, make the offer, and start the work. Numerous guilds have found that they already have an outstanding prospect without going through a formal search. Keep your eye out for these folks—sometimes they already promote the festivals you’ve attended, or come recommended by someone in the industry.
It is imperative that we have strong state guilds across the nation in order to promote and protect the small brewer interests in each state, and to unify the larger community of the nation’s brewers. If you find that important opportunities are slipping by, meetings are no longer being held, or administrative tasks are being neglected within your association, perhaps it’s time to discuss the hiring of paid staff support.
Each committee is chaired by a member of the Board of Directors. Many guilds have the following committees:
- Government Affairs: to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry within the state by developing and articulating to the industry a consensus from within membership as it relates to regulatory, legislative and governmental affairs.
- Marketing/PR: manage the website, media relations, promotional materials, social networking, advertising/promotions for events.
- Events: manage/vet festival promoters, manage guild festivals, organize technical conferences, enthusiast member events, etc.
- Executive Committee: group of directors appointed to act on behalf of, and within the powers granted to them by, the board of directors. Typically it consists of a chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, and treasurer.