Hosted by the Maine Brewer’s Guild, the third annual New England Craft Brew Summit convened in Portland, Maine on March 29th, 2018. The one-day Summit was packed with 19 seminars focused on three main tracks: technical brewing, business operations, and tasting room/brewpub operations/front of house. Over 500 attendees representing 90 breweries from 11 states and 2 Canadian provinces made this year’s Summit the most successful yet. A sprawling trade show loaded with exhibitors offered the perfect backdrop for networking with fellow brewers, dozens of allied members, and a wide variety of vendors.
Two Brewers Association (BA) representatives shared their expertise at this year’s Summit. Tim Brady, BA Beer Server Training Manual Instructor, gave an energizing presentation to a standing room only crowd titled “Your Service Sucks! -that guy on Yelp.” With a focus on providing excellent service to taproom/brewpub guests through an engaged and well-trained staff, Brady promoted the BA’s Beer Server Training for Brewpubs and shared powerful best practices based on his experiences at Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery over the last 6 years.
Ian Hughes, BA Sustainability Ambassador, encouraged attendees to take advantage of a free suite of sustainability tools offered by the BA that include the BA Benchmarking Project and BA Sustainability Manuals. Calling these resources the “BA Sustainability Sledgehammer,” Ian showcased how they can help break down the barriers to starting, growing, and/or sharing brewery sustainability initiatives. After this presentation at the New England Craft Brew Summit five additional Maine breweries joined the Benchmarking Project, doubling brewery participation in the state.
For the first time, the MBG Summit included a tasting room track in a nod to the growing importance of on-premises models within craft. A representative from BMI spoke regarding music licensing which was very helpful for brewery business owners. And one final note, US Senator Angus King (D-ME) also came through the event and popped into a session on branding and standing out in a crowded marketplace.
Upcoming engagements for the BA’s Beer Server Training Manual Instructor and Sustainability Ambassadors:
Tim Brady will be presenting in Duluth to the Minnesota Craft Brewer Guild in July, and Ian Hughes is presenting next to the Massachusetts Brewers Guild in Framingham in May.