District Caribbean Heritage

From Master Brewers’ two collections of district histories, the 75th Diamond Jubilee Edition published in 1962 and the 100th Golden Jubilee published in 1987, we salute District Caribbean! Once again, I have included digital images of both histories for you to read and enjoy.

The impetus for choosing District Caribbean came from our March 30, 2017, BOG WebEx meeting. I listened to the attendee-speakers. And during the “New Business” portion of the meeting, District Caribbean BOG Representative Michael Bowen encouraged everyone to attend his district's upcoming May event. I went to the District Caribbean web page to discover that they are hosting their 56th District Caribbean Convention. It runs from May 9 to May13, at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino.

Wow!

Now, I am the first to admit that any District Caribbean Convention, beyond its practical reasons for being, is certain to be a fun time for all if there ever was one. Admittedly, my mental images of the Caribbean have been created by a half-dozen cruise ships. Over the years, my wife and I have completely circumnavigated that alluring gem of water. I can say “rum punch” in several dialects. The very word “Caribbean” conjures up Hemingway-esque bouts with blue marlin and bar stool gymnastics. I suspect I am not alone in these perspectives. And the Diamond and Golden Jubilee histories of the district confirm my suspicion.

Reading from the 1962 75th Anniversary history, the seed for the conception of a District Caribbean was first planted in 1958 by Charles W. Frizzell. He initially lobbied other area brewmasters and generated enough interest to get the ball rolling. Tom Kelly organized the formation of the district and finally applied for an MBAA Charter in March of 1961. The Charter was granted, and officially presented at the 74th Anniversary Convention in Montreal on September 25, 1961. Ironically, District Caribbean received its charter at the very first MBAA convention ever to be held outside the boundaries of the United States. Its first elected officers included: Antony G. Kelly, President; Charles W. Frizzell, Vice-President; William H. Hedmann, Secretary; and Michael F. Porter, Treasurer. 

DistrictCaribbean1.jpg
Click on the document to read the full-size version.

 

DistrictCaribbean1.jpg
Click on the document to read the full-size version.

In 1962, all MBAA districts were asked to submit a concise history of their district for the 75 Year Diamond Jubilee Convention. The histories would be published and distributed in a special edition of the Communicator.

Upon reading District Caribbean's submission, I noticed that the entire history was a summary of the 74th MBAA Convention when they received their charter, and a summary of their first District Caribbean Convention in Jamaica in May of 1962. I realized that when they submitted their history, the district was barely one year old! Those two initial conventions, one national and one local... were their history! 




In 1987, all MBAA districts were again asked to submit a concise history of their district for the 100 year Golden Jubilee Convention. The histories would again be published and distributed. That District Caribbean history was written by then President Michael Redhead. He updated the 1962 history by listing local conventions the district had hosted by country and date. President Redhead also confirmed my previous, aforementioned speculation about a perpetual fun-time-for-all mentality of the district by listing a few of their legendary convention moments! He set the stage with his own words:

“District Caribbean Conventions have their own distinctive flavor.”

I love that line, and I couldn't have said it better. Redman went on to provide examples of that “distinctive flavor,” including:

  • Cruising off Kingston, Jamaica, in the “clays” in a luxury cabin cruiser.
  • Jungle parties in Guyana.
  • Hair-raising bus drives in Barbados.
  • Convention attendees being physically frisked by armed gunmen before entering a bar in Caracas, Venezuela

But one convention example won the Heritage Chair's grand prize, bestowing genuine bragging rights.

  • During their 1965 Convention in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the nation endured a full-scale revolution. All the conventioneers were able to leave the country, courtesy of intervention by none other than the U.S. Navy!

Talk about designated drivers!

Clearly, District Caribbean has a rich and colorful history. It is clear that they have challenges unique among the districts... the sheer geographical expanse of their district boundaries, the number of nations, islands, all complicated by the vastness of the sea itself. In what I am certain have been exhaustive efforts, they continue to pull it off. The fact of hosting a “56th District Caribbean Convention” on St. Kitts-Nevis showcases and celebrates their uniqueness.

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