Craft Brewers Conference 2024: Featured Speakers

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The 2024 Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America® (Las Vegas, April 21-24) features thought leaders from across the beverage alcohol landscape, with insights that will guide your business and help you adapt to change.

Speakers of note include:

Brandy Rand

Seminar: What’s Influencing How We Drink Today and in the Future

It’s no secret that we drink differently than we did a few years ago. On top of pandemic-related behavioral changes, we’ve seen a rise in new categories, a difference in how much we consume (and where we consume it), and an unprecedented pace of cross-category beverage innovation. Industry trend spotter and market advisor Brandy Rand will look at the influence of larger consumer trends shaping how we drink and help you better understand and plan for the consumer of the future. 

Christopher Shepard

Seminar: Balancing Acts: Ways to Weigh Alcohol Research, Policy, and Perceptions

Beer Marketer Insights’ Senior Editor Christopher Shepard will provide a fast-paced review of the balancing act between the often-weighty topics of alcohol science and policy with the lighter and brighter feelings many have for drinking, and help attendees engage in these thorny discussions with clarity, perspective, and care. 

Natalie Rose Baldwin, Tonya Cornett, Kelly McKnight, Megan Parisi

Seminar: Innovation: What Does It Mean and How Can It Help Your Business

Panelists Natalie Rose Baldwin (Wayfinder Beer), Tonya Cornett (10 Barrel Brewing Co.), Kelly McKnight (New Belgium Brewing), Megan Parisi (Boston Beer Company) will apply their more than 70 years of combined professional brewing experience at breweries ranging in size from 700 barrels per year to more than two million barrels per year annual production to discuss what innovation means to them, how they approach the process, how it helps them as brewers, and how it affects their brewery’s bottom line. 

Colin Schilling

Seminar: Driving Growth in Craft Cider

In just 11 years, Schilling Cider has become the nation’s largest producer of fresh-pressed hard cider and is now in the nation’s top 35 craft companies. CEO and co-founder Colin Schilling will reveal what fueled this growth in a category many thought was dead and discuss the innovation that shifted the growth curve and how customer feedback and calculated risks drove that innovation. He will also take a deep dive into how building a people-first company culture allowed Schilling Cider to scale beyond founder involvement at every level and how focusing on sustainability allows the company to follow its values and connect with newer legal drinking-age consumers. Finally, Colin will share his vision for continuing the spirit of collaboration in the craft beverage community to allow the segment to grow again in the face of industry consolidation and demographic shifts. 

Phil Markowski

Seminar: An Introduction to Distilling for Brewers

Many craft breweries have added distillation systems to their existing plants. For those interested in pursuing this related industry, Brewmaster & Head Distiller at Two Roads Brewing Co., Phil Markowski will help attendees familiarize craft beer brewers with the basics of the distillation of alcohol from fermented substrates, including beer. 

Bart Watson

Seminars: State of the Industry 2024: Finding Growth in a Crowded Market, Brewing with Climate-Friendly Regenerative Ingredients: A Gateway to New Customers

Brewers Association’s chief economist, Bart Watson, will provide the annual State of the Industry update. Watson will break down the stats and trends from 2024. Using the annual Beer Industry Production Survey and a multitude of other data sources, Bart will dig deep into business models, and take a step back in scope, providing the context industry professionals will need to steer their business in the coming years. 

Tranice Watts

Seminar: Bridging Divides: Forging Strong Connections in a Seemingly Polarized World

Tranice Watts of Lifting Lucy will guide seminar attendees through the essential art of connecting with diverse audiences. The seminar will explore strategies for cultivating inclusivity, the significance of intersectionality, and real-world examples of building unity instead of division. It will also equip listeners with practical insights for leveraging platforms, ensuring lasting connections, and accessing valuable resources through the Brewers Association. 

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