Craft beer is an industry replete with events and festivals. Many of them are a well-established and highly entrenched part of the fabric of the industry, but as the movement grows, so too does the desire for enjoyable, informative and interesting beer events. Many new beer events crop up every year, and 2016 is certainly no different.
It is my honor to introduce the Southern Brewers Conference as one of our Editor’s Choice events for our spring 2016 issue.
This is the inaugural rendition of the Southern Brewers Conference, which is a regional, industry-only event featuring a two-day trade show, educational seminars, social events, and more. The event begins on August 3 and lasts until August 5, and is located in Nashville, Tennessee. “The Southern Brewers is meant for education, networking and the growth of the craft brewing industry in the South,” according to an event spokesman.
Organized by Candace Price, founder of Half Full Productions, and Matthew Leff, founder of Rhizome Productions Inc., the Southern Brewers Conference will highlight beers brewed in the southern region. Specifically, beers and trends from the following states will be highlighted: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
Price and Leff are sure that Nashville is the best place for this event to succeed and it perfectly represents the southern region. “Nashville has been voted the number one city to visit by numerous travel magazines, and it provides a unique mix of entertainment, history and character,” said Price and Leff. “Our craft beer scene has grown significantly over the last decade and is home to some amazing breweries, taprooms, restaurants and bars. Nashville is also home for the producers of SBC; we would love to show our guests what our city has to offer while providing a quality, industry-focused event that also ends with the longest running consumer event in middle Tennessee: the 15th Annual Music City Brewer’s Festival.”
Linus Hall, founder and head brewer at the highly acclaimed Yazoo Brewing Company (also in Nashville) is involved with the event in his role as the founder of the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild.
According to a press release from the SBC, “the Southeast region of the United States is the fastest growing market for craft beer.” The SBC plans to take advantage of that impressive growth by hosting a variety of industry insiders. Important connections can be made with on- and off-premise business owners, over 50 allied trade businesses, over 60 distribution companies, as well as many of the over 1100 craft breweries currently operating in the region.
As this is an industry-only event, many of the talks and seminars will focus on management, quality assurance and other hot topics around the craft beer world. Here is a short rundown of some of the major seminars:
“Selling Craft Beer in Nascar Nation,” a panel discussion with Emily Curry of Southern Prohibition Brewery, Michael Sellers of Good People Brewery, Phil Dearner of Good Wood Brewery, and Neil McCormick of Yazoo Brewery. “Taming the Flavors of the Southeast-Regional Flora Cultivation and Use,” a talk by David Thorton of Southyeast Labs and Carolina Bauernhaus Ales. “Distributors vs. Brewers Battle Royale,” hosted by Jason McMurry of R.S. Lipman Co. and several panel members from breweries and distributors all over the Southeast. “PR Presence Within the Industry and Finding Appropriate Outlets,” hosted by Abby Dickinson of High-Wire Brewing. “Pink Boots Society – Unique Challenges for Women in Brewing,” a talk by Bailey Spaulding of Jackalope Brewing.
Beyond the talks, numerous pub crawls and brewery tours are planned for the event starting on Wednesday, August 3. After the first attendee check-in, the Nashville Brew Bus is set to take attendees to “all of Nashville’s best breweries,” according to the SBC attendee guide. On Thursday, a welcome breakfast will take place featuring keynote speaker Spike Buckowski of Terrapin Beer Co. Also on Thursday, the SBC trade show opens where 60 exhibitors can plie their wares, ranging from breweries, distributors and PR agencies.
On Saturday, a day after the conference ends, Nashville is also host to the 15th Annual Music City Brewer’s Festival. According to the SBC attendee guide, the Brewer’s Fest is a “consumer-focused event and the longest-running and largest beer festival in Nashville. This festival will close the week with an opportunity to expand interaction from business partners to consumers with two separate sessions.”
According to Price and Leff, the SBC “was designed to provide an affordable and centrally-located option for brewers, distributors, manufacturers and service providers in the [southern] region to connect, learn and grow their businesses in the ways most meaningful for whatever stage of their business they’re in.”
If you’re in the industry and you’re looking to expand your business (or your horizons), check out the Southern Brewers Conference.