Kia ora koutou. It is an honour to become the new President of SOBA.
My background is in secondary school teaching but I am now the General
Manager of a not for profit trust that advocates for improved education to employment pathways.
Through teaching, I have travelled all around the world and tasted many fine beers. Being the GM of a not for profit trust has given me a set of skills that I hope can be useful as SOBA President. My gateway beer was London Pride and when I returned to New Zealand, I was keen to emulate that as a homebrewer.
My New Zealand gateway beer was 8 Wired Hopwired which I still enjoy today. After years of kit brewing I moved to brew in a bag and now I am the proud owner of an SS mash tun. I strive to make a range of good beers but my favoured styles are my red IPA, a pale ale using Rakau hops and, of course, my London Pride clone which is always consumed at cellar temperature.
Recently, I was part of the Naki Homebrewers Barrel Club barrel- aged Belgian Quad project. This was one of the most satisfying and interesting brews I have been involved in. I have been a member of SOBA for a number of years and a committee member in charge of Regional Coordinators for two years.
I put myself forward as President because I am proud of what we have achieved but there is more to be done. The Pursuit of Hoppiness and the National Homebrew Competition are excellent products and it’s important that we retain and strengthen these. While “craft beer” is everywhere in the main centres, there is a lot of work to be done in the regions.
If we return to our mission statement: “We are a consumer-based organisation with a mission to educate, promote, and advocate for the appreciation of, and access to, a diverse range of quality beer”, it is clear that we still have a role to play.
We continue to see major breweries stretching trade marking intent by stealing style names for their beers, and beer is often paired with media stories about alcohol excess and abuse. Wine still has the edge in the media when it comes to food matching and general drinking sophistication. Restaurants continue to offer extensive wine lists alongside limited beer choices. We must continue to challenge these positions.
Our executive members will meet soon to re-group and re-visit our mission to ensure we are relevant and having an impact. We will also be examining what we have to offer our members and reviewing our systems and IT. I look forward to your support as we undertake this review of SOBA and I hope that we emerge bigger and better as a result. Cheers!