In 1887, President Grover Cleveland began the third year of his first term. That year, he focused on modernizing our navy, and the U.S. Senate reciprocated by approving a new naval base to be established at Pearl Harbor. He worked with Congress to form the Interstate Commerce Commission to provide federal regulation of the ever-expanding railroads. And, he continued to address ongoing issues with U.S. tariff policies.
On March 21 of that same year, about 90 master brewers traveled to the windy city of Chicago. Some were members of brewing associations from New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Detroit. Others were not affiliated with any organization or association. In spite of the tragic and highly publicized Chicago Haymarket Riots of a few months earlier, these brewers traveled the distance and came together for the purpose of establishing a national brewing association. The goals of the new organization were to
- Promote the mutual acquaintance of its members
- Protect and further the interests of the brewery trade
- Develop, through an exchange of views, scientific questions and answers relating to the brewery trade
- Promote the training of competent brewers by creating a program for apprenticeship
- Help secure the protection of the brewing trade and its interests in the United States
Thus, the Master Brewers Association of the Americas was born.
MBAA’s 125-year timeline closely mirrors the challenges to an evolving and maturing United States of America: economic panics, recessions, depressions, local temperance, and national prohibition. And in a short period of time, two world wars resulted in transportation restrictions and shortages of material, equipment, and labor. There were also brewery attrition and several mergers. All of these have been issues requiring the attention and spirited dialogue of our leadership. MBAA has always delivered, providing ongoing and rotating leadership, the exhaustive efforts of annual national conventions and wartime conferences, focused efforts of committees, world-class educational endeavors, awards programs, and coordinated research. Our core values as written in that original 1887 charter and reflected in our current Long-Range Strategic Plan continue to serve us well.
It is with great pleasure that I offer a hearty “Happy Birthday” to our Master Brewers Association of the Americas! This coming March 21st, go to your favorite pub, raise your glass, and toast those original, forward-thinking founders and the 125-year tradition that brought us to this very day!