Given the explosive growth of the number of beer festivals and events held each year, and the increasing demand upon Alabama brewers to donate their beer and resources for those festivals and events, the Alabama Brewers Guild believes it is in the best interest of its membership to establish Guidelines for Participation in Beer Festivals and Events.
Given that objective, it should be clearly understood that while the Alabama Brewers Guild offers these Guidelines to its membership, these are not intended to be mandates for member breweries to follow, void of conscious thought. Every brewery needs to evaluate its own marketing practices and charitable donation policies while at the same time clearly understanding their own rights and the importance of protecting their brand in the face of the distinct differences in events that our members may choose to participate in.
These Guidelines were adapted from the New York State Brewers Association’s Bill of Rights and Guidelines for Brewers Participation in Beer Festivals and Events.
Types of Events
There are three common types of events: (a) For-profit events, (b) 100% not-for-profit events, and (c) blended events that purport to allocate a portion of the funds raised through ticket sales for a charitable cause.
The objective of the for-profit event is clear and should be clearly understood by the member.
The objective of the 100% not-for-profit event is to raise money for a qualified 26 U.S.C. 501 entity and its cause.
The object of a blended event is not as clear. While many are well-intentioned, the possibility of misleading the public, lack of transparency or intentional misconduct is possible. Blended events must be carefully examined to fully understand how the proceeds are handled.
Every brewer and brewery works extremely hard to craft its product and build its brand. Therefore, the Alabama Brewers Guild offers the following guidelines so that every member may feel confident in knowing what should reasonably be expected from a festival or event promoter.
- Breweries Should Participate in the Alabama Brewers Guild. Since this is your association, the Alabama Brewers Guild encourages you to participate in any event sponsored by or sanctioned by the Alabama Brewers Guild. The Guild protects its trademarks and brand, and it provides permission to use the Guild name only after careful consideration of the benefits to its members.
- Breweries Should Never Pay a Fee to Attend a Festival or Event. Breweries and their necessary participating attendees have a right to attend a festival for free. No brewery participant should be required to pay an entry fee or “table fee” to be a part of an event, unless there is a direct, adequate and fairly compensable benefit provided in exchange for participation (ie, hotel room, retail purchase of beer). Breweries and their necessary attendees provide enough of their time and energy to a festival and any upfront fee for attendance without an adequate and equally compensable benefit for a reasonable number of brewery representatives is unwarranted.
- Breweries Should Never Provide Free Beer to For-Profit events. Breweries have a right to be fairly compensated for their beer. Beer festivals and events are big business with high profit margins if run correctly. Festival and event promoters that ask a brewer or brewery to donate beer in exchange for the promoter “exposing a brand to the public” or “getting a brewery name out there” are simply efforts designed to take advantage of the work and energy a brewery has invested in creating its beer and brand. The Alabama Brewers Guild urges each brewer and brewery to recognize that there is no longer a need for a member to give beer away when asked to do so for a for-profit event. No matter the size or stage of a brewery, the festival organizers can afford to pay for the hard work and effort invested in the beer and the brand, and the Alabama Brewers Guild strongly supports that fundamental right.
- Breweries Are Entitled to Proof of Licensing & Insurance of Events. Every brewery has a right to receive proof that the festival or event in which they have agreed to participate in has been properly licensed by the promoter, covers the participating brewery, and is properly insured for what the festival or event is doing.
- Breweries Have a Right to Proof of Valid Not-For Profit Status and Proportion of Proceeds Donated. Breweries often support charitable endeavours. However, breweries also have the right to written proof that a festival organizer, or promoter which claims to be a charitable organization, is a valid 501(c) not-for-profit entity. Moreover, breweries have the right to clearly know what proportion of proceeds from the event are being given to a not-for-profit organization.