The 2017 Craft Brewers Conference only just concluded on Thursday. And I've only begun to look through photos, transcribe recordings, write up my thoughts, and recount stories. It's time to get to work, in other words, but that'll be tomorrow. Today, there's a ballgame to listen to and yard work to do.
The [U.S.] Brewers Association —the host and organizer— is, however, behaving in a more professional manner than I. It already has released a post-mortem, possibly one of several to come. Here is its official press release.
Craft Beer in the Capital
13,300 Brewing Professionals, Exhibitors Convene in Washington, D.C. for the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®Boulder, CO • April 13, 2017—The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing America’s small and independent craft brewers—has concluded the 34th edition of the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (CBC) in Washington, D.C.
As the largest industry gathering, CBC brought together some 13,300 brewing professionals and more than 900 exhibitors for discussion and dialogue around America’s craft brewing business and culture. CBC was last in the nation’s capital in 2013, with 6,400 attendees and 440 exhibiting companies.
Highlights from the 2017 conference include:
- 2017 Achievement Awards
Three members of the brewing community were recognized and awarded for their dedication and service.
- Brewers Association Recognition Award:
Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo, Co-Owners, Russian River Brewing Company
- Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing:
Will Meyers, Brewmaster, Cambridge Brewing Company
- F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award:
Matthew McLaughlin, Executive Director, Mississippi Brewers Guild
- Other notable takeaways from this year’s CBC include:
Leadership expert Alison Levine drew parallels from her experience climbing the highest peak on every continent to discuss how craft brewers can compete in a challenging and changing environment. Revered brewer Dick Cantwell provided his industry colleagues with his insights from his long career in the craft brewing community, offering a message of unity among small and independent brewers and reinforcing the importance of producing and maintaining high-quality beer.
- Diversity Committee:
The BA announced the formation of a Diversity Committee, with a goal of bringing a more diverse group of brewers and beer lovers into the craft brewing community. Helmed by BA Board member Scott Metzger (Free Tail Brewing Company), the committee is made up of a cross section of industry members of varied backgrounds and regions.
- Marketing and Advertising Code:
The BA updated its Marketing and Advertising Code to help brewers maintain high standards and act as responsible corporate citizens. New language has been included to address that beer advertising and marketing materials should not use sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public. Any name that does not meet the Marketing and Advertising Code that wins a BA produced competition including the Great American Beer Festival® (GABF) or World Beer CupSM will not be read on stage or promoted in BA materials, and will not be permitted to use the GABF or World Beer Cup intellectual properties in their marketing.
Additionally, the BA has convened an Advertising Complaint Review Board should an issue arise that warrants further review and action.
- CBC Symposium Beer:
Each year the BA works closely with the local state guild to create the CBC Symposium Beer. Washington, D.C., presented an exciting opportunity to collaborate with the D.C., Virginia and Maryland guilds and involve area craft breweries. CBC attendees received a can of Family Tree, a Belgian pale ale whose recipe highlights the comradery among five D.C.-area brewers—Manor Hill Brewing, Vanish Farmwoods Brewery, Waredaca Brewing Company, and DC Brau Brewing Company—who got their start at Flying Dog Brewery.
- Government Affairs:
More than 230 brewers, brewery owners, and state guild representatives participated in the CBC Hill Climb, talking with Congressional staff about legislation important to the brewing community including the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. Introduced at the beginning of the 115th Congress, this legislation would lower the federal excise tax paid by craft brewers. Brewers explained that a recalibration of the tax rate would allow them to reinvest in their companies, creating the opportunity for more local manufacturing jobs.
Not one to dawdle, the BA has already begun promoting the 2018 CBC, which it has scheduled for 30 April through 3 May of next year, concurrent with the World Beer Cup, in Nashville, Tennessee. That'll be a hootenanny.
- More reporting from YFGF to come. Please check back.
- More photos (only a few now, but more to come): here.
- Photos from the BA itself: here.
- Read the official press release, at the BA's website: here.
- Preliminary 'craft' beer 2016 statistics released in March by the BA: here.
- In my blog post, I have edited the BA's press release but only to add 'Oxford' commas where needed.
- For more from YFGF: