Officers

Gabe Harris, President

Grants & Contracts Officer at UAB, 32
Birmingham, AL

Gabe joined FTH in 2005 after seeing an article in the Black & White with Danner and Lee, and has been involved ever since. Through FTH he discovered there was far more to beer than college life would suggest, and was thrilled to find there was an organization who thought the same. Gourmet beer is such a complex and interesting product that he wanted to learn everything about it, so he dove right in to help garner support from local businesses and breweries nationwide to help FTH succeed.


Andy Gwaltney, Secretary

Telecoms, 32
Birmingham, AL

After noticing the significantly broader selection of craft brews available in other states, Andy became dedicated to helping Alabamians gain access to the finest beers. He takes every chance to educate friends and family about the virtues of craft beer and local brewing. Since becoming involved with FTH Andy has expanded his knowledge of beers and state law, looking forward to the day that we can enjoy an even broader selection of great craft beer.



Board of Directors

Stuart Carter

Beer consultant, 48
Birmingham, AL

Stuart first became interested in FTH soon after moving from Scotland to Alabama, after being invited to a meeting by a colleague. His passion for legalizing gourmet beer got him involved immediately, particularly in trying to change the bad image that beer holds in Alabama. Subsequently, in 2007, he began regular beer and food pairings to encourage a new way of thinking about beer. He took over as President from Danner in January 2008, and was succeeded by Gabe in 2011. Stuart started his own beer consultant business in 2012 to further raise the profile of Alabama's beers.


Danner Kline, Founder

Telecommunications Manager, 38
Vestavia, AL

Danner grew up near Atlanta and moved to Birmingham in 1996 to attend Samford University. After graduating from Samford in 2000 with a BA in English, he entered the telecom field and also began trying different styles of beer. His growing appreciation for quality beer inspired him to found Free The Hops in late 2004 and he led the group as President until December 2007, when he stepped down to devote more time to his growing family (his second child was born that September).


Jim Trolinger

Online Retailer & Real Estate Management, 55
Madison, AL

Jim has a Master's degree in electrical engineering, but got the internet entrepreneurial bug in the late 90s and started an online collectibles business; later he became a beer tourist, planning all of his travel around beer-related events. It was shortly after one of his very first trips to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver that Jim discovered Free the Hops and learned why he couldn't get the same great beer at home, and got involved in FTH in 2005 just in time to help start the Huntsville Chapter. Jim and his wife serve as ambassadors of FTH while traveling, telling beer lovers and members of the brewing industry throughout the country of the battle being fought to bring better beer to Alabama.


Lee Winnige

Architect, 39
Vestavia, AL

Lee heard of FTH through a friend in late 2004. At the time there were only a few members; they really had to re-invent the wheel because none had done anything like this before. There was no membership base, no official title and no money. Since then he has seen FTH grow exponentially with a very enthusiastic membership and a strong sense of purpose that keeps the organization going.



Chapter Organizers


Mark Warren, Montgomery Chapter

Student at Auburn University at Montgomery, 22
Montgomery, AL

Mark's interest in beer was sparked after a trip to the U.K., where he experienced a variety of beers with new and complex flavors, many of which were not available in Alabama. Although he is a relatively new member of Free The Hops, he has been working hard to share his enthusiasm about the movement by creating an active core of members in Montgomery.


Bo Hicks, Tuscaloosa Chapter

Grocery Manager for Manna Grocery, and Assistant Manager at Bama Theatre
Tuscaloosa, AL

Bo took charge of the Tuscaloosa Chapter in 2010. He is a self-proclaimed lover of beer.