On January 18th a crowd of around 100 people descended on the Little Creatures brewpub in Kennedy Town for the Craft Beer Association of Hong Kong's Annual General Meeting. The association is only a few years old but has grown steadily and aims to promote the craft beer industry in Hong Kong. The CBAHK takes this chance each year to summarise changes and trends in the craft beer industry and to announce the new board members for the year.
The Board from last year included Thomas Lau (Thirsty Brothers, Roundhouse, Coedo), Adam (Tramline), and Ging (Kowloon Bay), who gave one final presentation before handing the baton over to the newly elected board. The focus of this meeting, and of this post consequently, is on the new board and their objectives rather than the past year. That being said, I think that the previous board did a fine job in trying to expand membership of the association and to start steering it into a more organised direction - that which resembles similar mature organisations abroad.
So, around 35 corporate members voted on the new board and as a result, Philip Hafstad (852Beer) was chosen as the new president of the board!! Accompanying him are Sandra Kwong (Coaster Magazine) and Tom Champion (Little Creatures) as co-vice presidents. I'm particularly happy to have this group on the board because Philip and Sandra are both passionate and vocal about craft beer in Hong Kong and for promoting the need for more craft education for both the consumers and the servers. On the one hand, 852Beer has kicked off in 2016 with a mission of educating bar staff to take better care of their beer, to know more about their products, and to be able to pass that knowledge on to their patrons. On the other hand, Coaster has also launched in 2016 to help spread the word about craft beer events and backstories of the industry to a wider public in Hong Kong. In both cases, they would support the vision of Back to School Brewing. What I appreciate about Tom Champion is that he brings the experience of being involved in larger and more mature organisations in Australia. That can certainly help to shape the direction of the relatively young CBAHK.
Philip grabbed the mic, and after a brief introduction, jumped right into some of the priorities of the board for this year. Amongst those were the following:
- expanding membership to consumers (which is already the case, but there hasn't been much of a push since there wasn't a clear interest in membership for those outside of the industry)
- introducing a CBAHK card to easily identify members
- encouraging craft beer businesses to offer discounts or exclusive offers to card-holding CBAHK members
- launching a certification for bars/restaurants that identifies them as a "good practice" bar in terms of the handling of their beer (maintaining clean lines, etc)
- endorsing a craft beer festival in Hong Kong
- discouraging grey market importing of craft beer
Otherwise, the AGM carried on into the night with free-flowing draft and bottled beer, as well as delicious sliders and fries from Little Creatures. I wouldn't mind seeing them host again if they keep up that standard!
Congratulations to our new board members and let's hope for a productive 2017 for craft beer in Hong Kong!