There are plenty of exciting new educational tracks and seminar formats to look forward to at the 2020 Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®, but the learning opportunities for attendees will not end there.
Next year’s event will also include an entirely new set of networking events called “Meet-Ups.” And the best part? These events will be led by brewery members.
So, What Exactly Is a Meet-Up?
Meet-Ups are reception-style meetings for small groups of CBC attendees with a special common interest. They are intended to serve as both educational and networking opportunities for these groups, allowing the attendees to come together to connect with their industry peers and discuss their unique topic.
They can be about anything — Want to find other breweries who host book clubs? That could be a Meet-Up. Interested in meeting with fellow LGBTQ members of the brewing community? That could be a Meet-Up. Looking to share stories with other Latino-owned breweries or breweries who employ veterans or people with disabilities? What about breweries who focus on art, sustainability, animal-welfare, or brewing organically? Those could all be Meet-Ups too.
Basically, if you have a topic that you’d like to discuss with your industry peers, chances are that someone else is interested in talking about that topic too. And that’s what Meet-Ups are all about — bringing people with something in common together.
Like Having a Beer with Friends
Meet-Ups are meant to be casual and unstructured. The host will make a brief introduction to the topic to get the conversation started, and they may provide instructions for an ice breaker or bring resources to help lead the discussion. Beyond that, a Meet-Up should feel just like grabbing a beer with some friends.
Michelle Strain of Kros Strain Brewing in La Vista, Nebraska hosted the first official Meet-Up at CBC 2019 in Denver, Colo. It was called “What to Expect When Your Spouse is Expecting a Brewery,” and it attracted dozens of brewery owners and their spouses who came to talk to each other about the unique challenges that come with opening and running a brewery with your partner. Michelle welcomed everyone at the beginning of the meeting by telling her own story about opening a brewery with her husband while also juggling her full-time job as an intensive care unit nurse. She even brought along a PDF that she had written including a list of resources that she found helpful throughout her first year.
What makes the craft brewing community so special are people like Michelle who are willing to share their experiences and lessons learned. Do you have a story to tell that may help your industry peers?
Host a Meet-Up at CBC 2020
Learn more about what hosting a Meet-Up looks like and find out how to submit a proposal here.