The 2017 Craft Beer Conference, which is currently taking place in Washington DC, is a four-day industry-only gathering of nearly 14,000 professionals. It’s also a seriously fun hang and great way to take the beer business’ temperature.
And here’s more from the second day of the CBC’s General Session…
The Quality Brewing Panel Discussion
Wednesday’s morning session kicked off with a panel discussion on the importance of ensuring quality in craft beer that competently helmed by Bell’s John Mallet, who did his best to keep things moving with a subject that although important, was so obvious that it might have not needed an in-depth discussion.
The “quality” panel also included Jason Perkins from Allagash, the BA’s Quality Ambassador’s Mary Pellettieri, and Neil Witte.
The State of the Craft Brewing Industry Presentation
This year’s state of the industry discussion was once again helmed by the BA’s Director Paul Gatza and Brewers Association’s Chief Economist Bart Watson.
This year’s address was kind of bi-polar – appropriately upbeat in one hand – yet ominously cautionary in the other.
Yes, the craft beer biz is still growing but that 6% growth is a far cry from the double digits the industry has been putting up for the last decade.
And even as they reported that craft beer sales were at an all-time high (and exports showing record numbers), the sense that the industry’s mojo was slowing down and that it was assuming a more defensive posture was resonant and inescapable.
The Industry Keynote Presentation
As we addressed yesterday, the BA has smartly divided the CBC Keynote Address into a two day event.
Tuesday’s keynote by the world class mountain climber Alison Levine, although tremendously enjoyable, didn’t specifically delve into the craft beer industry. Her goals were different, she took a more inspirational route.
But Wednesday’s keynote by industry veteran Dick Cantwell was all about the biz…as he engagingly intertwined with his own personal craft beer journey with where the industry finds itself today.
Anyone who’s shared drinks with Dick Cantwell knows that man’s has many stories worth telling, but he may have saved some of his best for yesterday’s keynote and his appearance was predictably met with roaring appreciation.