The Masonic Craft Beer Society – Celebrating the ‘other’ craft

By W Bro Neil Thomas Allen

It was like creating a door that was already open. Many Freemasons enjoy a drink together before, during and after a festive board; but when Freemasonry was suspended, and the country was put into lockdown, that act of fraternal good cheer could no longer happen in person. That was when it became time to create that door.

What would eventually become the
Masonic Craft Beer Society had its start
in a large Masonic WhatsApp group that
was created by Bro Adam Strange, a friend
of mine from the Connaught Club. We
discussed various subjects around
Freemasonry and the Craft, and it soon
evolved into discussions on many other
topics as well. It wasn’t long before we
began bonding over a common love –
good beer! As we shared our fondness for
different beers from a myriad of breweries
and microbreweries from all over the
world, a seed had been planted.

A few of us began discussing the idea of
creating a community of Freemasons that
could introduce, discuss, rate and
recommend different beers to each other.
After some quick mock-ups of logo ideas
from Bro Josh Worley, the Masonic Craft
Beer Society was born.

Creating a Facebook group, I uploaded
pictures of a New England IPA I had just
poured, and wrote a high level review,
giving it the famous “hop rating” out of
five, hoping that it would set a format for
others to follow to create a giant database
of beer reviews from trusted Freemasons.
After a short period of promotion, the
MCBS Facebook group grew massively,
attracting over 500 members not only
from across the country but across the
entire Masonic globe, all of them sharing
their latest beer acquisitions, comparing
notes, making jokes, and in general taking
their minds off of being locked down.

We decided to run a pilot “virtual happy
hour” over Zoom one Friday night, and it
was a huge success – and it highlighted to
the MCBS committee just how amazing this
community was building up to be! We had
over 50 Masons take part during the night,
becoming friends and swapping Lodge details
for future visits – once circumstances would
allow. We knew then that we had the
potential to be a long-term fixture in people’s
Masonic enjoyment.

Six months later, we now boast over 2000
members of the MCBS, constantly posting
their reviews and asking each other for
recommendations, and our now fortnightly
Zoom virtual happy hours.

However, we still didn’t appreciate the
strength of this community until we
introduced our membership pins.

When we knew we wanted to do
membership pins, we decided to do an
initial run of 100 unique pins, the sale of
which would then fund future runs of
pins. Demand for these first 100 pins was
incredibly high – in fact, 99 of them were
purchased within three hours! The 100th,
however, was held back as the top prize
in our first MCBS raffle. While lockdown
and the suspension of Masonry meant that
there weren’t people visiting others’
Lodges, and therefore fewer donations
to alms collections, we wanted to do our
part in contributing to charity. The raffle
raised over £1000 in just a week, which
we donated to the foodbank charity
Fareshare. We were blown away with
our members’ generosity. We are now
making plans for our society to grow postlockdown,
including in-person socials,
group Lodge visits, sponsored talks and
even our own Corks Lodge, based in
London, where we can enjoy craft beer
together while raising even more money
for charities.

If you’re interested in joining our
wonderful community, just search
“Masonic Craft Beer Society” on
Facebook, follow our Twitter handle
@masonicbeer, and visit our website