CLEVELAND, Ohio – The next time you order a craft beer and hold your glass, don’t forget to toast Andy Tveekrem.
Tveekrem, head brewer at the Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City in Cleveland, has always been concerned about the quality of beer. And like seasoned brewers, he is well versed in the technical aspects of his trade. And there are a lot of them, given that it takes daily chemical experience to brew beer.
Tveekrem was recently appointed president of the Master Brewers Association, an international organization with approximately 5,000 members. Tveekrem has been involved since 1994 and in the last few years has worked with the national technology-focused committee. This led him to be part of the executive committee, where he rose step by step to the presidency.
“We exist to educate the brewers, keep the technical discussion between the breweries and organize training courses,” he said. This means organizing training seminars on malting, utilities and packaging. The organization publishes books and promotes an interactive online forum.
It’s an apolitical body, so it’s not about lobbying. It emphasizes the technical aspect of the trade to help as many brewers as possible.
It’s kind of a “rising tide floats all the boats,” Tveekrem said.
If a brewer has a problem, the organizational structure promotes networking, and this foundation of problem-solving helps brewers correct any issues that may arise.
While all of this may seem far removed from the average drinker, there is a tangible effect.
The craft brewing community is amazing. It is rare in the business world, but common among brewers. While Coca-Cola didn’t want to talk to Pepsi, “communication between brewers” leads breweries to help each other improve, Tveekrem said. It means the industry is getting stronger. And that leads – hopefully – to pouring a well-made beer into Joe’s or Jane Sixpack’s pint. With over 8,000 breweries in the country, this is no small feat.
Originally, the organization – which has been in existence since the 1880s – held meetings in German, as many participants were immigrant brewers, Tveekrem said. It is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, with over two dozen districts around the world.
“It is one of the world’s leading industrial trade groups,” he said.
And while the effects of diacetyl and linalool research may sound Greek to the average person, the group’s ultimate mission is simply to make sure the beer tastes good. So, the next time you hold a drink with local moss, give a toast to Tveekrem and the Brewmaster Association.
I am on cleveland.comlife and culture team and cover topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories, here is a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills from WTAM-1100 and I talk about food and drink usually at 8:20 am on Thursday mornings. Twitter: @ mbona30.
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