Friends of FREE THE HOPS,

The newsletter took a three-month break during the Holidays, the New Year, and my own transition to a new job. But the Forces of Good weren’t asleep during that time; the campaign to overthrow the oppression of beer has continued to move forward.

Several key things have happened since I last wrote to you in November. 1) The incorporation as a nonprofit completed. FTH now has a tax ID and is a legally-recognized entity. That enabled number 2) we opened a bank account under the name “Free The Hops.” That means that if and when businesses want to make contributions, they can make a check out to “Free The Hops,” rather than to an individual. We will of course keep receipts and good records so we can be fully accountable for the money that flows through the organization. And the opening of a bank account enabled number 3) we now have links on the website for memberships. Yes, Free The Hops is officially open for memberships. More details here:

In addition to all of these activities, Lee Winnige and I had a great meeting with Harry Kampakis of Birmingham Beverage. Many of you may not realize that Birmingham Beverage is the distributor that brings the vast majority of specialty beers to much of North Alabama. Obviously Harry has a business interest in expanding the range of beers available in this state, but even more than that, he simply appreciates good beer just as you and I do. He himself is a connoisseur. Not surprisingly, he had been working towards getting these laws changed before FTH ever came into existence, and he is thrilled that a group of citizens is now interested in joining the effort. He really believes we can be the missing piece to the puzzle that will finally liberate beer in Alabama. It is our desire to work closely with Harry in the coming months to refine our action plan and to start lining up the dominoes that need to fall in order to get these laws changed.

One more thing to note: we are about to receive our first splash of publicity. This Thursday, March 17th, the “St. Patrick’s Day” edition of the Birmingham Weekly will hit newsstands. FTH will be the cover story. You can pick up the Birmingham Weekly for free at many restaurants and coffee shops around town. Be sure to check it out.

And be sure to join! We want FTH to be a loud, resounding voice of citizens who can say to the legislators, “These laws need to change.” A large membership roster will be one way to help send that message.

Drink good beer. FREE THE HOPS.