Three CBC Seminars That Should Intrigue You

Get those pens and pencils and notebooks ready. The national Craft Brewers Conference is once again taking place in Nashville this year and the staff of Brewer combed through the list of seminars to find ones that we feel would better your business the day after you get home and implement these ideas. We looked for discussions including brewery decision-makers that were focusing on interesting marketing ideas, ways to better your leadership skills, and more. We reached out to the panelists to have them give a preview of what you can expect in these hour-long talks.

Of course, there are a plethora of topics we’d love for you to learn from, but here are a few we found intriguing.

Rising to Leadership — May 8, 1 p.m.

Meg Ellis, the Deputy Director for the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, is just one of the speakers hosting this talk. She is one of three voices who will highlight leadership pathways for craft beer professionals at the local, state, and national levels in a variety of organizations and associations, and attempt to break down some of the perceived barriers to those opportunities.

“I’ll be honest, I’m unabashedly shilling for folks to get involved with their local state and national Guilds and trade associations,” she said. “While it’s important to have a pool of awesome leadership candidates, those folks also need to be realistic about what they’re being asked to do and what they can actually commit to. I hope to give folks some ways to evaluate those opportunities before committing to leadership at any level.”

Monica Duggan, the Sales & Operations Manager for Liquid Gravity Brewing, and Anne Marisic of The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will also be on the panel.

“Of course, we also have a long way to go to level the playing field in terms of demographics and representation,” Ellis said. “I saw a chance to see some of my role models in the industry shine and couldn’t pass it up.”

The panel, she explained, will be for brewers, front-of-house workers, sales reps, drivers, and folks working in businesses adjacent to breweries, like bottle shop owners.

“Anyone with a stake in craft brewing has a valuable perspective to share,” Ellis said. “I’m really aiming to spark inspiration for anyone curious or looking for the spur to get involved, or re-involved.

“It seems that folks who aren’t owners can tend to feel unempowered like there isn’t an obvious way for them to feel like they’re contributing to the growth and success of the industry. My fellow panelists and I hope to raise the visibility and accessibility of leadership opportunities in our industry no matter what folks’ interests, experience, or abilities.”

Using Branded Merchandise to Better Market Your Brewery — May 9, 2:30 p.m.

This roundtable discussion will cover the design, production, and implementation of branded merchandise and will include Jenna Brown, the Marketing & Merchandise Manager for South Lake Brewing along with Conor Hunter, a Graphic Designer with itscalleddesign. Noah Salvi, a branding consultant for Nadel shared with Brewer insights to the discussion and said they are aiming to provide a comprehensive and easy-to-understand toolset for anyone from a small startup brewery to someone in a large-scale brewery looking to revamp some of their branded merchandise.

“We’re hoping to help businesses that don’t quite have a marketing person so they can easily make more desirable merchandise to help their business grow,” Salvi said. “I feel this is important to help educate people on valuable branding and marketing concepts that can expand their marketing footprint and help them grow their business.  

“The growth and expansion of branded products and what is effective will hopefully save a lot of people time, money, and headache as they can learn from experts on how to successfully build a merch program.

“This will help to expand their marketing footprint while adding additional revenue to their business.”

Learning about production and design from Salvi and Hunter will help provide some insight into how to design and execute a product effectively.  

“Once the product is produced and received, we wanted to shed some insight from Jenna who has successfully implemented a growing merchandise program at South Lake,” Salvi said. “I am a huge fan of helping small businesses grow and I believe this seminar will be a great tool to help them in growing their business.”

Salvi said he has worked with large and small businesses to implement effective and sustainable merch ideas and has found it’s a very plug-and-play system to find what works for each specific business.  

“I felt having a panel including someone from each side of the process would help educate people on best practices and new ideas and hopefully help many of the attendees improve or grow their own programs,” he said.

Building an Educational Beer Festival — May 10, 11:30 a.m.

Efforts to include an educational component can often be met with apathy or indifference. But a new campaign and festival series organized by the Tennessee Brewers Guild successfully achieved the goals of engaging craft beer drinkers, along with a wide array of stakeholders, to celebrate the role local agriculture can play.

Along with Sharon Cheek, the Executive Director of the guild, and Nate Underwood, the co-owner of Harding House Brewing, Brent Manning of Riverbend Malt House will share how the Farm To Tap began and how other guilds and associations can benefit from this new type of beer festival.

“I think in this day and age, a lot of craft beer drinkers have been to a beer festival,” Manning said. “They know what goes on, but those can get a little stale. Most folks might be offering the same flagships that you can get in the grocery store.

“There’s kind of this desire amongst the craft beer consumers, of ‘show me something a little different and special,’ and maybe they might be a little bit more open to education now, that they’ve been interested in craft beer for several years.”

So the idea that the trio is speaking on is to leave attendees with a roadmap of how to make a successful agriculturally focused festival happen and what the main elements of that are.

“It’s the geographic breadth, not just one spot,” Manning said, saying well-orchestrated pregaming matters.

“Sharon and her team put together pregame events that were 4-8 weeks ahead of the actual festival to get the brewers talking about it, getting local media in the conversation,” Manning said. “All of a sudden, you’re starting to build a groundswell of support for this event, instead of just splashing a one-page advertisement in a beer publication or email blasts and such.

“You’re building awareness in a very deliberate fashion.”

Anyone who’s looking to do a new type of festival or those that have organized a beer event or beer dinner in the past few years could benefit from attending, Manning pointed out.

“Sharon organically folded that educational piece into the festival itself,” he said. “It didn’t have a ‘Hold up, everybody put your beer down and listen to me talk’ moment. It is sort of baked into all of the marketing, all of the social media and interviews and everybody was lockstep on the same message so that by the time the taps started flowing, everybody knows why they are there.”

Photo courtesy © Brewers Association

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.