2017 already! What? How did that happen? Amazingly, that also means that my second term as President of the Vancouver Branch of CAMRA BC is quickly coming to an end. Like most people around this time of year, it is time to do a little reflecting on what has gone in in 2016 – Check it out!
2016 was quite a busy year for our Branch of CAMRA BC. The Vancouver Executive Team has been hard at work trying to keep things running and pushing forward our agenda to Promote, Educate, Advocate and Enjoy! In the past year, we have seen a lot of ups, downs and things in between!
A lot of the work that has been done this year may have gone unnoticed by our members as a lot of it was infrastructural work. But just because it is quiet work on the public front doesn’t mean it isn’t crucial. One of the biggest changes we have undergone this year was transitioning from a volunteer created and managed membership database to one that was purchased and tailored to non-profits of our size. That may not seem like a lot of work upon initial reading, but it isn’t as simple as flipping a switch – sadly! A lot of the credit for researching and implementing this new solution got to Membership Coordinator Shawna and Communications Director Ashleigh. They led this complex initiative and helped plan our shift to the new system. That plan involved a lot of manual data manipulation of years of membership records by the entire executive team (and a team of Volunteers) in order to prepare the spreadsheets to be imported. We opted to handle the data migration ourselves to save the society the cost that would go into paying for support staff to do it for us. However, that would not have been possible without Education Liaison Kai’s in-depth understanding of advanced spreadsheet formulas. In the end, we managed to transition to Membee, our new membership database. This new system has many upsides (beyond being a reliable record of our membership information) it can be used as a robust volunteer management system, allows for personalized space for members on the camravancouver.ca website, amongst other things! It is our hope to see the full fruits of this new system brought into the fold in 2017.
Outside of that extensive membership database transition, we carried on offering some of the Vancouver area’s most popular beer events! We hosted the Mild May Cask Festival at the Belmont Gallery, celebrating the year of the Mild with some amazing breweries. We brought members from Vancouver to Port Moody and enjoyed a crawl through brewer’s row and got to taste and experience the amazing beer the city of Port Moody has to offer. We got out to a Vancouver Canadians Baseball game – in what has become one of our most anticipated summer events. As we have for a few years, we started our baseball day at the Main on Main for a beer and worked our way to the Nat to take in a Canadians game (Also, that was the day that Vice-President Kerry and I each ate our own 3 foot long hot dogs!) We hosted session cask festival at Central City Beatty Downtown – this was our first event at the newly minted venue and we were absolutely blown away by the amazing management who took us in and helped us get our event off the ground! Outside of that, we held member meetups at Bridge Brewing, Deep Cove Brewery, Big Rock Urban Brewery, The Lamplighter Pub, 12 Kings Pub… Wow! What else? We were present at events across the community including Vancouver Craft Beer Week, Burnaby Beer Festival, Squamish Beer festival, Whistler Beer Festival, Coquitlam Beer Festival, BC Beer Awards, Tri-Cities Cask Festival and the Craft Brew Cruise. The list goes on, we held a Members Appreciation Night at the John B Pub in Coquitlam which was widely successful. We hosted Beer Trivia with IQ 2000, and most recently, we hosted Vancouver Craft Cider Festival at the Beaumont Gallery. That was a lot – I hope I didn’t miss anything!
We showed a continued dedication to education in the community by offering Education classes every month at Big Rock Urban Brewery and 12 Kings Pub. We hosted classes including but not limited to Craft Beer 101, Craft Beer 102, Sour and Wild Ales, The Business of Beer, The Science of Beer, Big Beers, Off-Flavours, German Beers, Yeast 101, Cider 101 and Cider 102. We offered corporate education programs to businesses around the city that wanted their staff to learn about beer. As always, we offered corporate education for pubs and restaurants that wanted their staff to learn more about the beers they offered. We embedded our education programs into our festivals and our community presence; we offered education on Milds at the BC Beer Awards, we taught cider production and cider history at Vancouver Craft Cider Festival, to name a few examples! All in all, we managed to keep beer education at the forefront of our mandate this year.
Lastly, the advocate front – always an interesting one as it comes with its fair share of challenges. Amidst calls from our membership to do so, we started the year with an initiative to reignite our Fess Up to Serving Sizes campaign which focused on the proper adherence to serving standards dictated by the law. This wasn’t as successful as we had hoped as the campaign had been carrying the stigma of the previous incarnations from the years past. Since then, we have connected with MPs on the federal level to discuss cross-provincial beer issues, lived through a few more liquor reforms, began analysis of newly formed bylaws in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam and began the framework for some larger campaigns in 2017. While we didn’t see as much traction as we would like, we are quite pleased with our activity on the local front – and look forward to seeing a continued dedication from CAMRA BC leading the charge in the coming year.
There have been other things that have gone on, including Executive board meetings, late night article writing, tweeting, instagraming, facebooking, website management, the list goes on and on! I have been privileged to work with our Executive Team this year, and hope to work with them again in the coming year (assuming the membership will have me for one more term.) I want to take the time to thank Kerry, Ashleigh, Shawna, Kai, Alex, Ksenia, Adam, Renata for the time they dedicated to our society this year! They put in hours of unpaid work for the love of the organization and for love of the community. While the work is hard, it is incredibly rewarding; I am sure each and everyone of our executives this year would agree! If you would like to learn more about these people and the work they have done this year (and maybe consider a role for next year) join us Tuesday, January 17, 7pm at Main Street Brewing for an Executive Meet and Greet. If not, please join us at our AGM on February 26th to see the new board elected and have your voice heard!
Finally, I would like to thank our membership for their continued support of the work we have been doing! You are all amazing people, doing amazing things! We have spent a large part of this year building infrastructure that will allow us to properly scale our branch and grow in many new ways in the coming year. I hope you are looking forward to it, I know I am!
CAMRA BC – Vancouver Branch