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A voice for suds

Brewing industry advocate steps down after four decades of association work

Photo: Brewers Association

March 2, 2018
By Walt Williams

Charlie Papazian has long had a passion for brewing beer and sharing that love with others—even when it wasn’t entirely legal.

The former president and founder of the Brewers Association got his start in the industry teaching homebrewing in the 1970s, before the federal government eased restrictions on the practice. One day Papazian received a tip from students that an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be taking his class. He wasn’t sure whether to believe it at first.

“I found out when he showed up in my class and he was the only guy wearing a white shirt and a black tie. This was Boulder (Colo.) in the 1970s,” Papazian recalled, laughing. “I told people it is against the law. Don’t sell it. And I said the ATF has better things to do than to bust homebrewers.”