My wife and I run a club out of Chestnut Hill that has been pretty small for the past few years (lucky to get 8 people at times). That said, we have been gaining members at a decent rate lately. I like the format of our club at the moment, but fear if we grow too large, it may be tough to keep said format. Right now, we're around 20-25 regular attendees, again, with more coming each month. A few more people, consistently for the next 3 months, and we'll be too large for our current location. I'm waiting for us to be at max capacity for 2-3 months before we start looking for a new place, since our current place has been so kind to us (no charge for the meeting space).
As to our format:
- People check in as they arrive, and write down what they brought, style, and ABV.
- We try to get business out of the way right off the bat, because meetings do get loud as people start their own side conversations, and of course as the beer flows
- We try to order the beers from low ABV to high ABV, and of course by styles that won't ruin your palate
- We ask whomever is passing their beer around, to tell us a little about the beer, if they remember. Maybe some strange brew practice (cat fell in the pot, I brewed this at midnight under a full moon, etc), or what kind of hops they used. We are not huge sticklers for style and color, etc. That isn't to say that we don't have enough knowledge in the group that can lend a hand to that if questions arise though.
- we try to have a "theme" to the month. For instance, this month is beer and cheese pairing, April will be SMaSH beers, november is traditionally strong ale (a beer over 7%, or is older than a year)
- As a club, we try to do one "group" activity a month; be it a group brew day, brewery tour, bike/bar crawl, etc.
- I organize a mini "group buy" that gets included in the South Jersey Grain Buy (basically put in a big order and go pick it up for everyone)
In the coming year, we're going to introduce AHA Club Only Competitions to the group. Hoping to get people to maybe try a different style they wouldn't normally brew. And if it's picked as the best by the group, the entry will be shipped off as our club's entry in the AHA competition.
I've also accumulated quite an assortment of equipment that I no longer use (who hasn't). We're going to setup a "loaner" program, where people can "check out" a piece of equipment, and "Check in" when they are done with it. We'll see how this goes. May be good, may be bad. I'd like to think that the people are responsible enough not to "walk away" with it.
I know this is a bit long winded, but I'm trying to figure out how, as we grow larger, to keep mainly the meeting itself intact. I like the fact that everyone tries everyone else's beer. That anyone can comment on the beer, and offer helpful suggestions if something is deemed "off". I also like the fact that everyone knows everyone else. We haven't gotten to the point yet where we need name tags, etc. This may be needed at some point, if we continue to grow at this rate. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
And that all said, what do you like about your club that may be different from what I've laid out here? Anything that your club does that you think rocks?