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IBA: Interrogatories

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By Tyler D. Helmond, Voyles Zahn & Paul

Lee A. Smith
Executive Director, Brewers of Indiana Guild
 

iba-las-w-fsq-pint-1col.jpg Lee Smith

She is a graduate of Indiana University and the Chicago-Kent College of Law. She has served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Indiana State Public Defender’s Office, the Principal Clerk of the Indiana House of Representatives, and a Donor Relations Officer at Indiana Landmarks. She is Lee Smith, and she has been served with interrogatories.


Q What is the Brewers of Indiana Guild?

A The Guild is the trade association for all of Indiana’s professional craft breweries, 61 at the moment but the ranks are growing an average of one new brewery per month.

Q In your former life, your clients were criminal defendants. Now your only client is Indiana craft beer. For which is it more fun to advocate?

A Well, of course the brewers are more fun, especially since I don’t have to be frisked prior to visits with this client! Our meetings often include sitting down with a pint of beer (a very civilized way to conduct business, by the way!). But you’re right to recognize that both of these career turns include advocacy. I love the job I have now, but I’m also proud of the work I did as a Deputy Public Defender.

Q What is the most interesting or unique Indiana craft beer you’ve tried?

A Our brewers are very creative, so “most unique” changes all the time. One beer that comes to mind is Rob Caputo’s Cucumber Kolsch. Rob is the head brewer at Flat 12 Bierwerks. It didn’t sound like something I’d like, but it was refreshingly light with just a hint of cucumber, and quite delicious! I took the Kolsch to the Great American Beer Festival last October and people were absolutely crazy for it.

Q The Guild sponsors several very popular beer festivals each year. What goes into making those events so successful? Are there any plans to add annual events?

A We produce three annual festivals with a total attendance of around 10,000. Winterfest and the Indiana Microbrewers Festival are in Indy, and our newest fest is in Bloomington. The next festival is the Third Annual Bloomington Craft Beer Festival in April (a great fest in an amazing venue: the historic Woolery Mill). There are two reasons our festivals have gained such a loyal following: the brewers and the volunteers. The brewers are kind of rock stars among the faithful, and festivals are the primary opportunity for brewers and beer enthusiasts to interact (and the brewers enjoy it just as much as the guests). Our festivals are largely managed by a group of volunteers called Hoosier Beer Geek. These people are amazing in their dedication and professionalism. The Guild is still basically a grass-roots organization and we couldn’t do the festivals without HBG.

Q I can’t ask you to pick a favorite from among Guild members, so what is your favorite commercial beer?

A Well, if I picked one of the big “fizzy” beers I’d get laughed out of the Guild. Truth be told, I’m not sure I’ll ever again enjoy a Bud Light. If I can’t get craft, I’ll order the closest thing which usually ends up being a Heineken.

Q You have two children who are at or nearing drinking age. What has been your approach to teach them about alcohol and how it should be used responsibly?

A We’ve tried to demystify alcohol in our household. My husband and I are not big drinkers, but we certainly have alcohol in the home. When our oldest went to college (he is now 23) my husband and I were impressed that the kids seem to be more responsible about driving than we were at that age. Our younger son is 17 and we’ve talked about being responsible, not only for his own behavior but also in watching out for his friends. Incidentally, craft beer is not really what underage drinkers are after. For one thing, it is expensive. And the taste is better suited to a more mature palate. You just don’t hear about kids chugging $7 pints of beer.

Q What are some skills you developed as a litigator and as a legislative lawyer that are useful in leading an organization like the Guild? What advice would you give a lawyer transitioning from practice to leading an organization?

A In some ways my job with the Guild is similar to my days as Principal Clerk of the Indiana House of Representatives. Technically, I report directly to the Guild President, as I reported directly to the Speaker at the State House. But I have a broad constituency of owners and brewers with specific needs and objectives, just like my “100 bosses” at the House of Representatives. I learn a lot just by listening to my brewers and visiting them in their environment. As for advice, I’d tell lawyers considering a change to follow their hearts. A law degree should not constrain one’s choices. Instead, it should open doors. I know lawyers who have jumped tracks into education, NFP management, social services, lobbying and even brewing (of course!—who but lawyers would call their brewpub Black Acre?). I’ve never heard anyone express regret over time spent in the practice of law or a law school education.

Q How much more likely to have a beard are brewers compared with the general population?

A Someone should do a study on that! Wonder if there’s grant money… Off the top of my head, I’d guess the incidence of beards on brewers is second only to orthodox rabbis.

Q Can or bottle?

A Hot topic right now! Bottles are still way more common than cans for crafts, but can proponents (like Sun King, Great Crescent and newcomer Tin Man) are passionate about cans and say it keeps beer fresher.•

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  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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