What is a Royal Brewer?

The Royal Brewer is one of a handful of Kingdom Notables, recognized by the Crown for their accomplishments. In Atlantia, the sitting Royal Brewer hosts the Royal Brewer competition at the annual Kingdom Arts and Sciences event (KASF), unless it was booked at a dry site. In that case the Royal Brewer seeks out an alternate Kingdom-level event and advertises the change heavily – certainly on the Guild email list for now.

The position of Royal Brewers can be enormously rewarding. It gives you carte blanche to do as much with it as you like. You can reach out to autocrats across the Kingdom and find out where there are planned brewing activities – they’re often not on the Kingdom Calendar, and may get added to the event schedule late – and help boost the signal by throwing your support behind them on the list or here on the website. If you find they aren’t planning a brewing activity, you can encourage them to include one, even find them someone to run a roundtable if the autocrat can find room. (You meet brewers all over the Kingdom that way.) You can publish a monthly message in the Acorn (the Kingdom newsletter) announcing any and all brewing activities at upcoming events. You can spearhead largesse activity to provide beautifully packaged and labeled brews to the Crown to give as gifts, particularly in gift baskets to other Crowns at Gulf Wars and Pennsic. You are the face, the voice, the inspiration of the Guild for one year. Make the most of it.

How do you get to be the Royal Brewer?  Here’s what the Kingdom of Atlantia Great Book of Law says (http://law.atlantia.sca.org/Law.pdf as of 8/29/2014):

E.2. Kingdom Royal Notables

E.2.2. The Royal Brewer for excellence in making beer, ale, mead, wine, or other period alcoholic beverages. (N.B. – In addition to Royal Bard, Poeta Atlantia, Scrivener Royal, Royal Baker, Royal Archer)

E.3. Creation of a Kingdom Royal Notable

The Crown may choose to modify the list of Notables in consultation with the Great Officers of State to encourage any discipline they see fit.

E.4. Tenure of a Kingdom Royal Notable

The Kingdom Royal Notables are positions held in service to the Crown of Atlantia for the tenure of one year, except where noted otherwise.

E.5. Selection of a Kingdom Royal Notable

Kingdom Royal Notable competitions are held annually at Kingdom Level Events, unless the Crown sees need to do otherwise.

 Competitions shall be run by the current Kingdom Royal Notable, as a representative of the Crown, in consultation with the appropriate Great Officer of State.

 If the Kingdom Royal Notable is unable to run the competition for their successor, the Crown, in consultation with the appropriate Great Officer of State, shall designate a proxy to run the competition.

 Competitions should be announced on the Kingdom Announcements List and in the Kingdom newsletter’s electronic supplement at least twice before the event where the competition takes place.

 The current Kingdom Royal Notable, in conjunction with the appropriate Great Officer of State, shall set the details of the competition and judging standards. Judges should be drawn from the following:

  • The Crown or their proxy
  • The Heirs or their proxy
  • The appropriate Great Officer of State or their proxy
  • The current Royal Notable
  • Additional judges may be chosen at the discretion of the Royal Notable
  •  In no case should there be fewer than three judges.

E.6. Removal of a Kingdom Royal Notable

The Crown may remove a Kingdom Royal Notable at Their discretion. If the Kingdom Royal Notable is unable to complete his or her term or is removed early for any reason, the Crown shall direct the appropriate Great Officer of State to hold a competition at the next convenient Kingdom Level Event, or the Crown may choose a successor.

The Kingdom Chronicler’s website displays the current Notables: http://acorn.atlantia.sca.org/notables.php.  A list of all of Atlantia’s Royal Brewers will be posted here as soon as Sorcha uploads it.

Sorcha here: there is as very informal custom of the outgoing Royal Brewer giving the incoming Royal Brewer a pitcher as a sign of their position in the Kingdom.  Totally up to the outgoing Royal Brewer, of course. Your Barony may let you expense it, but the Kingdom does not.


Cordials and Federal Law on Distillation

In medieval times, herbs and spices were soaked in wine, and the wine then distilled into brandy to make medicine referred to as “cordial”. As enactors interested in alcoholic beverages, we’d love to get as close to this as possible, but close just isn’t very possible.  Federal law is very explicit:

139px-Cordial_Glass_(Footed)_svgBasic Permit Requirements under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, Nonindustrial use of Distilled Spirits and Wine, Bulk Sales and Bottling of Distilled Spirits

Title 27 > Chapter 1 >Subchapter A >Part 19 >Subpart C Restrictions on Production, Location, and Use of (Production) Plants

§19.51   Home production of distilled spirits prohibited.

A person may not produce distilled spirits at home for personal use. Except as otherwise provided by law, distilled spirits may only be produced by a distilled spirits plant registered with TTB under the provisions of 26 U.S.C. 5171. All distilled spirits produced in the United States are subject to the tax imposed by 26 U.S.C. 5001.

(26 U.S.C. 5001, 5601, and 5602)

Accesssed 8/29/2014 from the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations – Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms


You can’t get much plainer than that.

Sorcha here:  Right, so what do we do in our never-ending quest to reproduce the truly medieval fermented beverage? For cordials, the closest we can come:

a) We generally recommend finding white brandy and using it as a base, and adding the laundry list of herbs and spices to it. White brandy is very inexpensive, and doesn’t have flavorings, oak conditioning, or faux-oaking added. Christian Brothers White Frost is a pretty reliable brand.  Made this way, your cordial almost certainly does not taste the same as the original recipe, but flavor wasn’t the point anyway, and this way the ATF doesn’t come knocking.

b) Some recipes just call for herb-soaked wine.  If the recipe says anything about what kind of wine to start with, try to find the closest modern wine you can.  For instance, if the recipe calls for Gascoigne wine, that comes from Gascony, a region in France. Remember however that in the eighteenth century the phylloxera blight killed a lot of grapevines across Europe, and people were spreading cuttings as far and wide as they could to save the grape variety.  Now, a grape grown in France will not taste the same as the same grape grown in California, so it’s nice to find wine grown in the same place the recipe mentions, but that may not be possible. (Gascony does still grow the same grapes – they were some of the lucky ones to escape the blight.)


Society Policy on Alcohol

Per the SCA Corpora, By-Laws, Corporate Policies, and Articles of Incorporation (revised January 18, 2014)



Manufacturing, distributing, selling, serving, or furnishing of alcoholic beverages by the SCA or its branches or subdivisions is prohibited within the United States and its territories.

The use of any SCA funds for the purchase of potable alcohol, except for such quantities as may be necessary for cooking, is prohibited in the United States and its territories.

Officers are not prohibited from serving alcohol; however, it must be done as individuals, and not as part of their official duties as officers.

Officers are not prohibited from giving gifts of alcohol; however, it must be done as individuals, and not as part of their official duties as officers. Giving or receiving gifts of alcohol in court is not considered to be part of an officer’s official duties.

Sorcha here: I’m not sure a Kingdom Notable like the Royal Brewer counts as an officer, but we might be safer if, rather than “paying taxes” of mead or beer to the Crown, who may or may not appreciate the gift or drink alcohol, we donate beautifully presented bottles to be given as Royal Largesse instead.




Atlantia’s Policy on Alcohol at Events

Atlantian Book of Policy

Effective August 2014

group of round-bodied glass bottles

Photo courtesy (mostly modern) Bottle Typing/Shapes website: http://www.sha.org/bottle/typing.htm

http://law.atlantia.sca.org/Policy.pdf1.11 Policy on Alcohol at Events

1.11.1 When a site written contract is silent on alcohol, branches may not publish in any announcement that alcohol is permitted or excluded and may not sponsor activities related to alcohol. In order to have SCA sponsored activities which require the use of alcohol such as brewing and vinting competitions, the written contract must be revised giving permission. Verbal authorization is not sufficient. However, the SCA will not prohibit or monitor the responsible use of alcohol by individuals at these sites.

1.11.2 Site contracts which include alcohol permission may be advertised as such.

1.11.3 Sites with alcohol prohibitions will be advertised as dry sites and the seneschal and event steward will be responsible for maintenance of the signed contract. Exceptions to the contract must be in writing from the site owner or contractual authority.

6.4 Registering Events Site restrictions. Use this block to note any site restrictions such as no open flames, no pets, etc. You must specify whether alcohol is permitted on site.

(Nothing in the following Kingdom Law documents:  Kingdom Financial Policy, Acorn Financial Policy, Kingdom Crusades Financial Policy)

 Sorcha here: The long and short of it is, don’t be a jerk. There is no such thing as a “discreetly damp” site.  Either alcohol is explicitly allowed or it’s not. If the contract doesn’t give us permission, we’re hanging the Society’s ass out there and the consequences are much worse than a spanking.

We used to say “no modern containers”, but who wants to see a modern container at a period event anyway? Bring a pitcher or a barrel if you have brew to share.  Seriously.

Hello world!

This site is for the Brewers of Atlantia. We just got started building this site – we’ll post to the Brewers list when there’s something to actually look at here. If you have upcoming activities at events, regular brew days, anything open to the Guild, send the activity, date, time, location, and a few words about it to elspeth@elspethpayne.com (till we get a webminister mask set up).

Not on the Yahoo group? atlantia_brewers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

What does the Guild include? Beer, ale, grape wine, fruit wine, mead, and cordials.  Sometimes we include non-alcoholic beverages, but then we’re borrowing from the Cooks.