Beoir: A beer consumers' group for Ireland

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Beoir: A beer consumers' group for Ireland

Post by Admin » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:22 pm

The idea of a structured consumer group for craft beer drinkers in Ireland is something that's been hovering around ICB since its earliest days. It's not something we've pursued, largely because ICB works so damn well at what it does and the last thing anyone wants is to change how it works. However, in the last few months a couple of things have caused us to reassess this position. ICB's contact with the outside world at live events and through the media have shown that there's work to be done, promoting craft beer and brewing in Ireland and we have the people who can do it. Secondly, there was first contact with the European Beer Consumer's Union -- an organisation of people very like us with an enthusiasm for beer and an agenda to promote quality and choice for the drinker across the continent. The ICB admins have come to realise that we've reached a high watermark of what we can do. Without a properly funded and organised group, we'll never be more than an ad hoc bunch of beer drinkers. Finally, the site itself is in need of a software overhaul and modernisation.

So, we have decided that the time has come for an organised beer consumers' union, and we intend to subsume Irish Craft Brewer into it. We've chosen "Beoir" as the name because it's catchy and broad. Irish Craft Brewer -- the board, the articles, will continue to exist and will continue to be free and public. Members who have no interest in the new group will still be able to use and contribute to ICB as ever. In fact, other than the redesign which the upgrade requires, there probably won't be many changes around here: this will take time to build and organise, and it'll depend completely on what resources we have available.

How it will work, initially, is as follows:
We've put together a draft Constitution for the new organisation, setting out its principles and some very basics of operation. The initial annual membership fee is set at €10, renewable on 1st July each year. The idea is that people sign up now and debate the constitution over the next few months in a dedicated forum on this board. Any paid-up member can propose changes to any part of the constitution, and there'll be a vote on amendments so that by 1st July we have the final agreed text. The group will officially come into being on 1st July 2010, and anyone who's paid their tenner by this point isn't due to renew until 1st July 2011. You can pay either through the ICB donation box, or sbillings and TheBeerNut will accept cash (and give you a receipt!). During the set-up process a dedicated business bank account for the group will be set up and all funds will be kept in that. And if for any reason the group fails to get off the ground, you will get your tenner back.

What do you get for your €10? Well, for now, damn all, really. Just the knowledge that you're one of the people actively trying to make a difference to the beer scene in Ireland and improve it in the drinker's interest. We will be aiming to get a voucher scheme set up to make your membership money redeemable for beer (like the Wetherspoons vouchers CAMRA give out), but it remains to be seen whether this will be practical. What initiatives we undertake will be decided by how much money we have and what the membership want to do. It will take time to grow into something bigger and more influential, but we don't think that can ever happen without taking this first step.

The draft Constitution is below. Feel free to ask any questions about the changes, though matters relating to the Constitution and the nature and workings of the group will be discussed in the Beoir members' forum.

Signed,
Barry M (Adeptus)
Sbillings
TheBeerNut

Edit: Constitution updated following first round of amendments.
Edit: And again after the second.
Edit: And again after the third.

Beoir: Constitution
v. 1.4
05/11/2011

Principles
1. Beoir is an independent group of consumers which seeks greater choice, quality and value-for-money for beer and cider drinkers on the island of Ireland.

2. Beoir is focused on supporting and raising awareness of our native independent microbreweries and craft cider-makers, defined as those companies on the island of Ireland which brew or make less than 20,000 hectolitres of beer and/or cider per year. Beoir also recognises the role of quality imported beer and cider in improving the choice available to Irish consumers and seeks to promote the widest distribution and retailing of such products.

3. Beoir promotes and encourages amateur craft brewing, and the making of other fermented beverages. It seeks to assist amateur brewers in improving the quality of their end product through the sharing of information.

4. Beoir encourages the lawful and responsible enjoyment of alcohol and supports freedom for adults to make their own decisions on purchasing and consuming alcohol.

5. Beoir is organised and administrated in an open and democratic manner by and for its subscribing members on a voluntary non-profit basis.

Organisation
6. Each member of Beoir will pay an annual subscription of €10 to the group, due on 1st July each year. New members joining between 1st January and 30th June may pay a part-year subscription of €5, renewable at the full annual rate thereafter. Paid members will have the right to vote in Beoir elections as well as propose and vote on group polls and attend the Annual General Meeting.

7. Membership is open to all persons over the age of 18, throughout the world.

8. Each year the membership shall elect a Treasurer and a Chair from among themselves. Nominations for both positions will open on 1st May each year and will close at the end of May, Irish time. On announcing their candidacy, each member standing for election must disclose to the membership any current financial interest they have in the drinks industry. The online poll will commence on 1st June and will close at the end of June, Irish time. The elected officers will take up their posts at the conclusion of the AGM which will take place after 1st July.

9. In the event that no candidate for either position receives more than 40% of the vote in the first ballot, a second ballot will be held between the two candidates with the highest number of votes. Should more than one candidate receive the second-highest number of votes, all such candidates will be eligible to run in the second round and rounds of voting will continue until one candidate has achieved more than 40% of the vote.

10. The Treasurer has responsibility for all Beoir funds, which will be kept in a dedicated bank account. The Treasurer will produce an annual financial statement to the members for the preceding membership year (1st July to 30 June) to be presented at the Annual General Meeting.

11. The Chair will act as official spokesperson for the group and will have a duty to raise the public profile of the group and its activities. The Chair has a casting vote in all elections and polls when the decision is tied.

12. The Chair and Treasurer may appoint ad hoc committees from the membership for specific events and projects from time to time. They may also appoint members to deputise for them for a limited period as and when the need arises.

13. Either officer may be removed following a simple majority vote of no confidence by the membership at any time.

14. In the event of a vacancy in either officership, a replacement must be elected as soon as possible.

Constitution
15. Following ratification, amendments to this Constitution will require a greater than two-thirds majority vote of the membership.

16. An Annual General Meeting will be held each year, as soon as practicable after the beginning of the new membership year (1st July). The Chair will give members a minimum of four weeks' notice of the date and location of the AGM. Once the AGM has been called, any member may propose an amendment to the Constitution. A minimum of one week's polling time must be allowed for, and all polls must be concluded at least one week prior to the AGM. Accepted amendments to the Constitution will take effect at the conclusion of the AGM.

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drinkstore Stoneybatter
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Post by drinkstore Stoneybatter » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:20 pm

Good idea , count me in, on a personal and commercial level.
Just a thought though, you should grab the domain name whilst it's still available. www.beoir.ie
[url=http://www.drinkstore.ie/store/department/2/CRAFT-BEER/]drinkstore[/url]

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Corkboy1
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Post by Corkboy1 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:27 pm

A union I can drink to!! I like it!! looked at some of the other country sites and found ICB site much better even using google translate!! How about 2/5/10 year or life membership rate It would generate some set up funds and people like me who hate annual renewals would be happy.
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Post by Barry M » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:30 pm

Just a thought though, you should grab the domain name whilst it's still available. www.beoir.ie
We actually have a domain registered, just not an .ie one :) (and not just because .ie domains are considerably more expensive).
Blogs: The Bitten Bullet (beer), The Bauernhaus (house renovation) and Occasional Tweets

Fermenting: -
Kegged: Death or Glory Oatmeal IPA II, Fichtenbier IV, various ciders
Planning: Lots!

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Ale Man
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Post by Ale Man » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:44 pm

You got my vote, :D
(I pay €38/yr for my .ie domain)
It is my design to die in a brewhouse; let ale be placed to my mouth when i am expiring, that when the choir of angles come, they may say "Be God propitious to this drinker" ..... Saint Colombanus

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Post by TheBeerNut » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:04 pm

Aside from the expense, we've always taken an all-island approach to Irish craft beer, which a .ie domain wouldn't really suit.
Beoir Chair

Fermenting: Cider
Running: Pale ale, IPA, Dry cider
Stock: Mead, Kit Barolo, Imperial stout, IPA, Quadrupel

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Diablo
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Post by Diablo » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:23 pm

.eu or .org ?

How does the constitution prevent Diageo loading the organisation with marketing employees and block voting to align the constitution with the Diageo marketing strategy ? Disclosure of interest requirement ?

I'll sign up anyway. Even if nothing new was being set up I feel I owe a donation to the maintenance of the website. Edit: I did buy a couple of teeshirts a while back so presumably that helps too.
Last edited by Diablo on Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dr Jacoby
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Post by Dr Jacoby » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:24 pm

Fantastic idea! And much needed. You can certainly count me in. If there are any general tasks that need doing, I'd be happy to help out in any way I can. Best of luck!

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Post by TheBeerNut » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:35 pm

Diablo wrote:How does the constitution prevent Diageo loading the organisation with marketing employees and block voting to align the constitution with the Diageo marketing strategy ?
It doesn't. I think it would be a beautiful thing if that happened, though. I'm writing the press release in my head right now.
Diablo wrote:I did buy a couple of teeshirts a while back so presumably that helps too.
It really really does.
Beoir Chair

Fermenting: Cider
Running: Pale ale, IPA, Dry cider
Stock: Mead, Kit Barolo, Imperial stout, IPA, Quadrupel

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Hendrixcat
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Post by Hendrixcat » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:33 pm

A great idea.

Is the limit of 20,000 litres a little low though? Even a small brewery could do more than that if busy. For example, Trouble's set up (when it is eventually running...) could do that brewing only twice a month. This rules out The Porterhouse, Carlow and most of the Northern brewers too.
The spread of secondary and latterly of tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought. - Peter Medawar

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sbillings
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Post by sbillings » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:36 pm

Hendrixcat wrote:A great idea.

Is the limit of 20,000 litres a little low though? Even a small brewery could do more than that if busy. For example, Trouble's set up (when it is eventually running...) could do that brewing only twice a month. This rules out The Porterhouse, Carlow and most of the Northern brewers too.
That should be hectolitres. It's the government definition of a microbrewery.
Fermentor: Brown Porter
Serving: Pale Ale

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Hendrixcat
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Post by Hendrixcat » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:40 pm

The figure looked familiar alright. It's a huge volume for a micro. I remember speaking to Oliver of the Porterhouse about it. He said they are nowhere near it and won't be.
The spread of secondary and latterly of tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought. - Peter Medawar

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Post by TheBeerNut » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:54 pm

Grr. Stupid maths.

Post fixed. Just give us a tenner and STFU.
Beoir Chair

Fermenting: Cider
Running: Pale ale, IPA, Dry cider
Stock: Mead, Kit Barolo, Imperial stout, IPA, Quadrupel

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delzep
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Post by delzep » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:54 pm

would a €1 donation in a glass per person every meet up night for homebrew in the Bull And Castle (or at other meetup nights that occur around the country) not be more than enough to fund the cost of software and other technical stuff for this site? The fact that the likes of CAMRA charges people for the information on beers really annoys me..I'd hate to see this site go the same way. I really can't see how if certain people would spend a tenner on a 'membership' or whatever it happens to be called is going to be beneficial. For example, if someone who has paid a tenner finds out some information about a beer or a brewery or something like that, are they going to post it here like they normally would, or are they going to post it on beoir.ie where only paid members can read it?

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sbillings
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Post by sbillings » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:06 am

Don't worry delzep. That's not what we're at. ICB will stay as it is. All of the articles will remain free and that includes new articles. The members area of the forum will only be used for discussions directly relating to Beoir campaign activities. Any threads about beer or brewing, or indeed general interest which are started in the Beoir area will be moved to the appropriate area and will be available to everyone. The tasting sessions will remain open to all.

We are starting this organisation so that we can campaign and be taken seriously. "We have a website with X number of registered members" or "We are a consumer group with X number of paid up members", which would be taken more seriously?
Fermentor: Brown Porter
Serving: Pale Ale

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