The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, in cooperation with the Master Brewers Association of the Americas District St. Paul – Minneapolis, held their fifth annual Business and Technical Conference in Duluth on July 27. Offering four distinct tracks of seminars, there was something for every one of the 200+ attendees.
The educational tracks ran the gamut from brewhouse operations and technical brewing to business, regulatory, and sales and marketing issues. While there were plenty of timeless topics on the agenda like managing wastewater, malt protein content, and industrial hygiene, several currently top of mind issues were up for discussion as well.
One session dealt with the recently enacted provisions of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) and strategies to best utilize the tax savings small brewers realized, particularly in the current climate that includes tariffs on aluminum and steel and an increasingly competitive labor market.
Another presentation featured a panel of taproom managers who provided insights into the burgeoning growth of this increasingly popular on-premise feature, highlighting the growing complexity of running a successful taproom, while dealing with the challenges they bring.
The Brewers Association (BA) provided two speakers for the conference: Tim Brady, BA Board of Directors member and Beer Server Training Manual Instructor, and Pete Johnson, State and Regulatory Affairs Manager. Tim presented his popular “Your Service Sucks!” That Guy on Yelp, covering the critical aspects of what makes good service and how to creatively use the BA’s server training manual to achieve stellar service. Pete acted as moderator for a regulatory affairs panel that included representatives from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement. Discussion points ranged from federal and state inspections to marketplace compliance.
After a full day of valuable learnings, the All Pints North Summer Brew Fest was on tap for the following day. Held on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior, the festival was a fitting cap to another successful Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild conference