Melbourne Brewers Club History
In the year 2000, our club changed its name from the ABAV (Amateur Brewers Association of Victoria) to The Melbourne Brewers.
The ABAV was formed in 1972 by Gordon Clark to act as an association to co-ordinate the activities of the Victorian brew clubs. This concept never got off the ground as the clubs wanted to remain independent.
So the ABAV actually became a club in its own right, and it held its meeting on the last Wednesday of each month in Gordon's Glen Waverley brewery. Gordon was, and still is, a legend in amateur brewing circles throughout Victoria. He is referred to as the father of amateur brewing because of his pioneering brewing even before it became legal in 1972.
Gordon served as President of the ABAV from 1972-1981, and Barry Hastings from 1981-1992 and 2000. We have had a variety of Presidents since 1992. Meetings at Gordon's brewery were legendary . He malted his own barley and grew his own hops, Bullion, in his back yard. He had a million and one contraptions in his brewery and scattered around his back yard . At one stage, I think he had 5 lauter tuns. He would improve on his last invention, and the predecessor ruthlessly consigned to the back yard.
From 1981 - 1992 the meetings alternated mainly between the Clark and Hastings breweries.
In 1992, Barry Hastings suggested to a meeting of members of the ABAV, that the club go national and call itself the ABAA. This was rejected by the membership as they did not want the responsibility of running and financing the proposed new national magazine, Ausbeer.
Subsequently, Barry Hastings resigned as President of the ABAV to form the new national amateur brewing association, the ABAA. This association at its peak boasted 650 members, who all received Ausbeer by mail. Ausbeer lasted 22 issues over approx 7 years. I was voted in as President for one last time in 2000 to reform the ABAV and change its name. It was ridiculous to be known as the ABAV because it never was an association, it was a regular club. Also, we wanted the club to be open to all brewers in Melbourne and not just a region within it, hence the new name, The Melbourne Brewers.
The ABAV started running Beerfest around 1999 under the due care of Michael Guenzel.