We had a great meeting last night.  It was the first meeting Harry Kampakis made it to, even though we’ve been having them at his office for several months : )  So lots of folks got to meet him for the first time.  We also had several members for whom it was their first meeting.  I enjoyed meeting a couple of new folks.

At the top of our agenda was a discussion about the August 17th meeting with the legislators.  Unfortunately, with the special session currently being conducted we can’t get any more firm committments right now for me to be able to release names, but we strongly believe we’re going to have about four legislators.  Once they finish hammering out the budget, we’ll be able to get back in touch with them and then we’ll let you know who you can expect to see at our meeting.  We plan on developing a “program” of sorts to give the evening some degree of order.

One idea we’re currently tossing around is having some publicly advertised beer tastings at some places around town that already do wine tastings (thus they have the necessary on premise license), specifically aimed at macro lager drinkers.  I’m thinking of calling them “Beer 101.”  We probably can’t involve any out of state beer, but there’s still quite a bit of beer currently sold in this state which is far superior to what most beer drinkers around here currently consume.  If even a fairly small percentage of those folks try better beer and like it, we could gain a huge number of new supporters.  Think about it and let me know if you want to get involved in something like this.  Shoot me an email at danner@freethehops.org.

Another idea discussed last night was the possibility of having a private Beer Tasting specifically for select restauranteurs and grocers who could really benefit from seeing just how “gourmet” beer can really be.  Obviously, it would be very beneficial to gain support from some establishments that don’t currently sell fine beer.  Of course we all know that any fine restaurant should have a gourmet beer list just as impressive as its wine list, and we all know the many upscale grocery stores around town that boast enormous wine selections also ought to boast enormous beer selections.  But for some reason, they don’t know it.  Unfortunately, beer suffers from an image problem largely created by the American macro lager breweries.  Here is a scathing commentary about this very topic: http://beeradvocate.com/news/stories_read/643/

We just want to do our part to shed light on quality beer and reveal it for what it really is: a product more diverse and complex than wine, which is crafted just as carefully as wine, which pairs with food as well or better than wine, and which ought to be viewed on par with wine as a fine beverage to be slowly enjoyed for its depth of flavor.  Again, if you have a passion for fine beer and want to help with our efforts to educate Alabamians about the complexities and greatness of specialty beer, let me know.

In other news, notice the changes that have been made to the site.  The page on this site formerly known as “Promotional Material” has been renamed “FTH Gear” and we’ve added images of all the merchandise we’re selling through CafePress.  Then we added a page called “Printed Materials” where you can download various PDFs to print yourself for various promotional efforts.  If you’ve already downloaded our flyer, please go ahead and check this page for the specific guidelines i’ve recommended for distribution.  We’d really like an organized, coordinated effort in distributing flyers.

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