It is with a certain amount of trepidation that I start this conversation because it is an emotive issue with good arguments for having and not having a system of personal ranking with in the guild. However we agreed as a body to have this conversation at some point & there is no time like the present.
The first thing that needs to be said is according to our charter membership to the guild is by subscription to the email list & by the function of the Guild Clerk. This conveys the rights, privileges and franchise of being a member of the guild not ones personal rank and I will personally oppose any changes that will cause this not to be so. As the strength of the guild is in the diversity of its members: not the rank of its members. Also I would like to add hear that taking on a role with in the guild should never be dependent on Rank. All guild officers should be open to all members and all members should get a say in whom the officers should be.
Over my two years as Clerk (one as clerk and one in the proto guild time) I have had a few conversations around what guild ranks means to different people and the opinions I have heard from different members has been varied to say the least. They have been from “there should be no guild ranking and if there is I will not be involved” though to “we must have a system & have it NOW.” One thing I have noticed in these conversations* is that the people who have wanted a system of ranking for what ever reason have not been recognized in the Kingdom award system. Where people who have been recognized tended to not like the idea of guild ranking. I am saying this so that people are informed and are mindful of other people’s point of view as we discuss this. I think given the robustness of our Charter we can accommodate most people’s point of view and the level of involvement they would like to have.
The one thing we should keep in mind though out this whole process is the aim of the guild is to network brewers, brew, educate in our art, expand our collective knowledge and make all this available to the Kingdom at large. Any thing that is going to impede these aims should be abandoned if a workable solution cannot be found.
In the coming months I would like to have a conversation about do we need a rank system (Why & Why not), if we do what should it look like (do we do what everybody else has done or do we make out own model), what level would the top rank be at, what skills are expected at each level, how do we measure it. And how do we administer it. To make this work people need to be involved other wise it is not worth much.
I remain yours in service,
Clerk of the guild
The Canterbury Faire 2014 Brewers’ guild meeting.