We asked the new Orlando Chapter President, Brian Minkel, to tell us a little more about what makes the Orlando chapter so special. What is it like to lead one of the fastest growing chapters in the Guild? What does the chapter hope to accomplish this year? Here's what Brian had to say. . .
What makes the Orlando chapter of the USBG unique?
The chapter being 4ish years old still feels new. We keep getting more and more excited members that see the benefit to the guild and really want to see it succeed. It's still "what can I do for the guild" because they know that if they take care of it, it will take care of them. We've had 3 events this year that were worth the yearly dues and our members "get it". We are a major market with a small community if that makes sense.
What do you like best about attending USBG chapter meetings?
I enjoy getting to see our members and catching up. We all get caught up in our day to day so it's hard to keep up with everyone. It also keeps me focused and inspired to deliver something they want to return to.
What are the major goals for the chapter this year?
Keep gaining "active members". The more active we can get everyone, the financial, educational, and charitable stuff will fall into place. We plan to do another Habitat For Humanity build for sure. I think we have a different approach to fundraising than some where we want to do 10 events for $500 instead of trying to pull off 1 event for $5000.
What event is the chapter most looking forward to hosting this year?
We actually already hosted a very unique event at the beginning of March. I invited the president and vice president from the other 4 Florida chapters and we hand selected a Knob Creek Single Barrel with the Jim Beam barrel master Craig Weiter. Each barrel will be unique to each chapter and say Hand Selected by their USBG chapter. In conjunction with Southern Wine and Spirits, each city will be able to allocate their bottles to membership accounts. We got awesome feedback on that and are talking to Campari about doing one with Eddie Russell and Wild Turkey next year. The Beam people hosted all of us for two nights at the Hard Rock Hotel and invited us to an industry only after hours event at Universal Studios where we had 3 rides we could ride as many times as we wanted. Obviously there was a ton of food and whiskey to be had as well. (I guess that would make Orlando unique as well. Doing a party at Universal Studios!) Coming up we plan to brew a USBG beer with Central 28 Brewery. Really looking forward to that. Going to have a city wide USBG night where we all tap our kegs of the same night to get some awareness to our chapter and the brewery.
What do you enjoy most about leading the chapter?
Personally, I really enjoy be able to use my years of experience and connections in this business to help the rest of the membership get what they need and deserve. A lot of the younger members are getting into roles of responsibility and I like being a mentor to them.
What would you share with members considering greater involvement with their chapter?
We always preach nationally, the more you participate, the more you get out of it. That translates across the board into life as well. Nobody will get you a cake unless they know it's your birthday right? Don't just go to events you "think" you might like. You never know what each event might have in store.
If we're visiting, what should we make sure to put on our must-do/must-drink list?
Orlando is such a great place, I would suggest staying in a hotel downtown and not by the parks. The parks are great for what they are, but they don't have much "local" appeal. Post on our USBG Facebook page and our membership will point you in the right direction. And if I'm off, I'll show you the places I like to go. (Was that safe enough? Don't want to leave anyone out! Also go to The Woods!)