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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

McGill University Approves Student Homebrewing Society

In addition to classes, studying and exams, most people's college experience includes joining at least one club. In my case it was the Daily Orange student newspaper at Syracuse University. I'm wondering why some of us did not come up with the idea that an obviously brilliant group of students at Montreal's McGill University have turned into an officially sanctioned organization.

The McGill Student Homebrewing Society recently held its first meeting after receiving interim club status from the Students' Society of McGill University. It took eight months of negotiating with McGill University officials and SSMU over liability issues and concerns about formal recognition of a club focused on alcohol.

Like most schools, McGill has concerns about sanctioning alcohol related events on campus and wants to avoid negative media coverage that comes from under age and binge drinking. While college administrators try to distance their schools from alcohol (except, of course, when it comes to taking financial backing from beverage companies or profits from selling alcohol at sporting events), most students spend time trying to close the gap between their lips and a cold beverage.

McGill's Student Homebrewing Society achieved its goal by submitting a formal application to the SSMU that included information on Quebec's homebrewing laws and answers to objections being raised by campus bureaucrats. The fact of the matter is that a group of students learning about how to brew great beer in their own kitchens is likely less of a liability issue for McGill University than the school's hockey team presents.

The Student Homebrewing Society plans to teach students how to brew, hold homebrew tastings and discussions, tour local breweries and lend equipment to would-be brewers. According to the McGill student newspaper, 15 students turned out for the club's first meeting last week. To obtain full club status, the homebrewers must hold three events and attract at least 25 student members within three months. Based on my recollection of college life, this should not be an obstacle.

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