A lone figure walks the dark, winding path to the large structure in front of him. He’d often imagined what it looked like close up, and he was glad to see that the opulance of the place did not disappoint his imagination. He paused for a moment, taking a deep breath to steady his nerves and take in the sound of the revelry that was coming from inside. Deciding he was finally ready, he leaned forward and knocked on the very solid wooden door.
“Hello, Hello. Come inside and welcome to the Craft Club! May I see your invitation, please?”
“Ah, very good, welcome, welcome Mr Yuengling, I was told to expect you. My name is Brewers Association but you can just call me ‘BA’. My official rank here is Sargent-at-Arms, but I find the title baby sitter more appropriate at times, if you get my drift. Anyway, I’m here to welcome you to the Craft Club and to give you a brief orientation before you join the others.”
[The two begin walking down a long hallway]
“I hope you don’t mind me saying Mr Yuengling, but I was very please to hear your membership had been approved. Don’t let this get around, but I’ve sometimes felt that the Club suffered from a certain amount of, well shall we say, youthful exuberance that caused some of members to act impetuously from time to time.”
“I’ve often said, well not here of course, that what this club needed was a shot of maturity! Someone who has been around for awhile. Someone who doesn’t just jump at every new fad or trend out there, you know?”
“Now as the host tonight it is my job to go over a few things that are required of you now that you are a Craft Club member. Did you bring your application? No? That’s OK I have a copy right here. Always be prepared! That’s what I say Mr Yuengling! Hahaha.”
“But seriously, you’ve been accept as a basic member of the club, with a probation period of course, but there is room to move up in the ranks to more, shall we say prominent positions in the club and as you might imagine, these positions enjoy certain perks, and if you’ll allow me to say, prestige.”
“But that’s for later, lets cover what’s going to happen in the short term. First, we’re going to get the word out. OH yes, I know we tend to have the guise of being somewhat cloistered to the outside world but we do love, and expect, our members to have a certain level of exposure. Tastefully, of course.”
“First, we’ve alerted certain news outlets that are highly regarded and they’ve been busy spreading the word of your arrival. The big ones of course – Huffington Post, Fortune, USA Today, and, of course, Oliver Gray.”
“Second, we’re going to start getting you out into better social circles. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the people you hang out with now, fine folks all of them, but we just need to boost your visibility within our circles a bit. To that end, we’ll start getting you into to some pairing events.”
“Nothing fancy at first, maybe a grilled cheese event or, hey! Girl Scout cookie pairings are VERY popular now. I’d highly recommend one of those.”
“We’ll get you started with a handful of these to, you know, let you be seen around town, and then once we’ve got a good buzz going, we’ll see about getting you into the dinner pairings circuit. These functions are guaranteed to elevate your q-score, or as we like to call it here, your c-score, to the general craft public and of course show you as a major contributor to the core missions of our club to the other members. Once more people see you paired up with dish or two at some of these events, the word will quickly spread that you’ve arrived, believe me.”
“Now when we get to that point, we’re going to need to talk about dress. I know, I know, you’re very comfortable in your pint glass and it looks AMAZING on you! Is that Libby? Yes, I thought so. But I’m thinking we can spruce you up at bit. Now for you…..I’d say Tulip. Just every now and then to show people that you can travel with the upscale crowd. Not all the time though, the Club approved your membership because they liked your appeal to the common people and we certainly don’t want to do anything to change that. Oh, and some of the socialites in here might suggest you go full Snifter, don’t listen to them. I think that would look a tad bit pretentious on you. Don’t you agree?”
“OH Greg, so glad we ran into you. This is Mr Yuengling and he’ll be joining our little club. Could you see about getting an Untappd badge set up for him? Nothing fancy, maybe something that shows off his Summer Wheat side. Thanks! He’s such a dear.”
“Anyway, let’s get back to your application [flips pages], hmmm I see that no one has ever hooked you up to a Randell. We’ll have to see about getting that changed fairly soon.”
“And it appears that nobody has had an argument yet on whether-or-not you are sessionable. Well don’t worry, haha, that will happen soon enough. It always does once you’ve joined.”
“Speaking of which, now that you’ve become a member of our club you’ll be more attractive to other clubs out there. I’m sad to say that we’ve lost quite a few members to other organizations. They can be very seductive, with their temptations. Especially the INB…..ah, but we don’t like to say that name around here.”
“Now I know that before you joined us, you had a long, proud history of being your own person. Keep that in mind. And if any of these clubs ever start to pester you, feel free to come to me.”
“Now that covers the basics I think but I did want to take a minute to cover some of our member’s committees that are open for you to participate in. These committees are very popular and really help you distinguish yourself within the Club.”
“First, there’s the Limited Release committee – very select group, meets only every so often. But let me tell you, the craft crowd just eats it up. Then of course there’s the HOP group, I don’t have to tell you how popular they are right about now, if not a bit over crowded.”
“Have you ever thought of an aggressive Barrel Aging Program? No? Well if I must say, I didn’t think so. You strike me as a little more down to earth than that. OH yes, I’m very good at reading people. You have to be in my position, Sir.”
“Oh, and I would recommend the Collaborations Committee. Absolutely fabulous way to network within the Club, and the craft people seem to adore seeing our members working together.
“Then of course there is the Sours committee, but just between me and you, they’re a little out there if you know what I mean. And I’m obligated to tell you about the Odd Ingredient folks. One of our more fringe groups in the club. Tread lightly, that’s my recommendation.”
“AH! And here we are, the GABF Hall. You’ll find all the other members inside, plus a few other hopeful candidates. You have your name badge? Good. Just go in and mingle, I’m sure you’ll fit in nicely.
[Whispers] But as a word of advice, I’d stay clear of Mister Adams over there in the corner. Let him come to you. He used to be the big man around here until you showed up.
Now go in and enjoy yourself. Here wait, let me fix your neck label. First impressions you know!”
[Steps aside smiling as he watches Mr Yuengling stroll confidently into the room. BA stands surveying the members until he becomes aware that a couple of other people have walked up next to him.]
“AH, Mr Founders! Mr Elysian! Nice to see the two of you again. [Puts a hand on Mr Founder’s shoulder and together the three of them start to walk back towards the main entrance] I can’t tell you how sad I was to hear that you two will be leaving our little club………………”