California Craft Brewers Increase Their Impact

In November, the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) hosted its bi-annual conference in central California. Prior to the conference, northern California fires put the venue in jeopardy. Luckily this area was left unaffected and the CCBA staff and board recognized the need to support the area’s businesses now more than ever—so the show went on.

The CCBA has a big job to do, representing the state with largest number of craft breweries. The organization touted the economic impact of California breweries in a recently released study. The state’s craft beer industry has tripled over the last five years, up from 300 breweries in 2012 to just over 900 breweries in operation today. The total economic impact of craft breweries in California now exceeds $7.3 billion.

Educational Opportunities

The fall conference offered numerous professional development, networking, and educational opportunities including an allied trade expo hall and presentations on topics such as Brewery HR Compliance, Brewing Microbiology, Server Training for Brewpubs, Navigating Partnerships with Local Government, Consumer Sensory Research, Successful Self Distribution, and a presentation on working with the CA ABC presented by the director of the ABC, Jacob Appelsmith.

Brewers Association (BA) Beer Server Training Manual Instructor Tim Brady provided an inspiring, informative and humorous presentation. Based on his training program developed with techniques from the Beer Server Training Manual, Tim highlighted the free resource and emphasized the importance of staff training.

(MORE: California BPA Update)

Legislative and Regulatory Information

During the legislative updates, Tom McCormick, executive director at the CCBA issued a word of caution for beer manufacturers selling products in California. New requirements released from the Office of Environmental Health and Hazard (OEHHA) need immediate action to ensure breweries are in compliance. Beginning on January 1, 2018, for breweries to be covered by the point-of-sale BPA warning, they need to give the OEHHA specific product information in their electronic database. More can be found on the OEHHA site.

As California is often a bellwether state, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out this 2-minute legislative update from the CCBA on legislative and regulatory changes impacting the craft brewing industry.

Coming up in 2018, the CCBA’s major annual fundraiser sponsored by Celebrator Beer News is set to be held in Berkeley on February 17—traditionally the grand finale of San Francisco Beer Week.

California Craft Brewers and their Community

To support recovery efforts from the immense losses caused by the Sonoma fires, and in an effort to help rebuild their local community, Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo, owners of Russian River Brewing Company, partnered with the King Ridge Foundation to launch the charitable endeavor called Sonoma Pride. The campaign has successfully raised $473,000 in charitable contributions through beer sales, in collaboration with breweries from across Sonoma County and around the world who created beers under the Sonoma Pride label.

(READ: Craft Beer for a Cause)

The Sonoma Pride donation site will continue to collect and distribute funds through December, with 100 percent of proceeds donated to victims of the Sonoma County wildfires.

The CCBA monitors and advocates at the state capitol for brewery interests, offers excellent professional development opportunities for brewery staff, and also rallies around their members to provide support in times of great need.

Acacia serves as brewers guilds manager on the Brewers Association Government Affairs team. Since 2011, she has been working to support the organizational development of more than 60 small non-profit U.S. state and regional brewers associations—also known as guilds. Currently based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, Acacia’s role includes traveling to 20+ states and over 80 craft breweries each year, attending Capitol Hill climbs, brewers guild meetings, various national and international brewing and association management conferences, regulatory agency conferences, and of course beer festivals.

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