SOFB and Stout Meeting Cancellations

Due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, your officers have made the difficult decision to cancel this coming Saturday’s BURP meeting (scheduled for 3/21 in Annandale). In addition, Spirit of Free Beer for this year will also be canceled.

Neither of these decisions were made lightly. The officers have been in touch over email for the last few days, and we held a conference call last night to discuss our options. We reached out to the other DMV homebrew clubs to see what they’re doing, we reached out to the AHA for guidance, & of course we have all seen the situation rapidly develop in the news over the last couple days.

Spirit of Free Beer, while further out on the calendar, comes with its own logistical hurdles given the circumstances. Canceling now limits the number of refunds we’d need to issue to entrants and preempts anyone dropping off entries. While things might return to normal by mid-April, there are simply too many unknowns.

At this time, we will keep our meeting for Saturday, 4/25 on the calendar–hopefully we’ll return to some sense of normalcy in the next 6 weeks. Our stout competition & education event will be rescheduled for the April meeting (St. Patrick’s Day in April!). The Spirit of Free Beer team will be looking at some options for a “mini-SoFB” for BURP members only–potentially over the summer during one of our meetings without a competition. And your Ministers of Enlightenment are brainstorming ideas for a virtual education event over the next few weeks where members can participate via webcam or phone to fill the void between now and 4/25 (thanks Mark Raker for the great idea!). More to come on all of this!

Lastly, I want to thank a few people for their help on this. This was a group decision and it was not an easy one. Thank you to all the officers for their quick responses over email and for getting on a conference call on a Sunday night (Pam Leifer, Dan Rozman, Chuck Hughes, Matt Peppe, Jeanne Burns, Matt Scholfield, James Wisnieski, & Lon Holland). Thank you to SoFB Organizer, Dave White, for his work on the competition this year, for joining us on last night’s call, and for acting as a sounding board on GChat the last few days. And thank you to Pat & Janet Crowe for reserving (and now canceling) the meeting space for the month.

I’m sure many of you are disappointed in these decisions, but I hope you understand that it’s in the best interest of everyone’s health and safety. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or one of the other officers. I hope we can scale back our “social distancing” in a few weeks and catch up over a few beers on April 25!

Cheers, Prost, & Sláinte,

Mike