Succeeding at Safety: We Did It and You Can Too

Craft Brewers Conference 2022
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Speakers: Rachel Bell, Brian Confer, Abby Ferri, Jeff Mason, Matt Stinchfield, Jimmy Valm

Running a brewery isn’t just about making beer. It has to be a safe brewery. But what does a safety program involve and how can you bring it to life with limited resources and expertise? Learn from an informative panel of your brewing peers how to build or improve a functioning safety program that will enhance worker safety, create employee job satisfaction, add production efficiencies, and maintain profitability. These are their stories.

This moderated discussion covers such important starting points as program essentials, safety team structures, and achieving company-wide buy-in. Learn how to keep the momentum, grow your program, and measure and reward success. This presentation is geared towards owners, managers, and production and retail staff…because safety takes everyone.

Learning Objectives:

  • Receive a safety program checklist and suggestions for taking the first steps
  • Learn how to drive a successful safety culture with tools you already have
  • Find out where to get low-cost and no-cost assistance
  • Learn from panelist experiences what works, what doesn’t, and hear some surprising positive outcomes
  • Leave excited, empowered, informed, and motivated to get your own safety program moving

About the Speakers

Rachel Bell

Rachel Bell, Safety Specialist


Rachel Bell has worn many different hats in the craft beer world. She has an MA in Anthropology with a focus on Ancient Brewing and has worked in operations, packaging, taproom, private events, marketing, and most importantly: safety. She believes that taking care of the people who make your beer ultimately makes your beer (and the world) better. She has previously worked at Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta, Kiitos Brewing in Salt Lake City, and von Trapp Brewing in Stowe, Vermont. She currently co-chairs the Brewers Association (BA) Safety Subcommittee and sits on the BA Technical Committee.

Brian Confer

Brian Confer, Head Brewer & Co-Owner

Stormcloud Brewing Company

Brian Confer is a reformed punk rocker, fine arts major, and commercial photographer. Along with his business partner, Rick Schmitt, they opened Stormcloud Brewing Company in 2013 in Frankfort, Michigan, a small northern resort community on the shores of Lake Michigan. In 2015, they expanded into a 20-barrel production facility that serves both the original pub and an expanded distribution footprint. Stormcloud Brewing Company specializes in Belgian-inspired ales and was voted Michigan's Best New Brewery by MLive in 2013, and has received Great American Beer Festival medals for it's Rainmaker Belgian-style Pale Ale and it's 228 Belgian-style Tripel.

Abby Ferri

Abby Ferri, Senior Risk Control Consultant


Abby Ferri, CSP is a Senior Risk Control Consultant for Gallagher. She is based in Bloomington, Minnesota and provides risk management solutions for multiple industries, including manufacturing, construction, real estate, hospitality, education, and health care. She is the Vice Chair of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP)/International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) Z590.6 Technical Report Committee on Guidance for the Fit and Selection of Personal Protective Equipment and Apparel Available for Women.

Abby is the past president of the Northwest Chapter of the ASSP, and past administrator of the Women in Safety Excellence common interest group of the ASSP. She's the 2021 recipient of several ASSP Safety Professional of the Year awards and the 2019 recipient of the ISEA Distinguished Service Award. She is a frequent conference speaker, podcast host and guest, and author of The Safety Habit and The Safety Consultants Toolkit books available on Amazon Kindle.

Jeff Mason

Jeff Mason, Plant Manager & HR Manager

Ska Brewing Co.

Jeff Mason manages the Department of People and Things at Ska Brewing Co. in Durango, Colorado. He attended California State University, Chico and then added certificates related to brewing from the University of California Davis Extention, Univeristy of Wisconsin Extention, and the Siebel Institute. Since entering the craft beer industry in 1987, Jeff has been intimately involved in safety programs and was an active part of an Emergency Response Team.

Jeff began the "No One Hurt" safety program in 2015 at Ska and has earned Cost Containment Certification by the State of Colorado every year since 2016. However Ska was cited by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) during the Reg. XIII Regional Emphasis Program. A lot was learned during a voluntary partnership with the Colorado State University, Fort Collins OSHA Consultation program and the following involuntary OSHA audit that translated into a safer workplace through equipment and facility modification and employee behavior practice and decisions. Ska also partnered with their workers compensation assigned Safety Manager to help formalize and streamline their safety program. Ska is a regional brewery with sister businesses (equipment manufacturing and a distillery), but Jeff has identified many suggestions, from policy-and-procedure compliance, to influencing staff members, applicable to small production members.

Matt Stinchfield

Matt Stinchfield, Safety Ambassador

Brewers Association

Matt is the Brewers Association (BA) Safety Ambassador, member of the BA Safety Subcommittee, and a frequent speaker at conferences, state guilds, and webinars. He is lead instructor for the OSHA-funded Hazard Reduction Practices for Cleaning Draught Beer Lines course and the annual Brewery Safety Bootcamp at the Craft Brewers Conference. Currently, Matt is writing the book on brewery safety for Brewers Publications, shooting for a late 2022 release. In his spare time, he forages mushrooms and wrangles trout.

Jimmy Valm

Jimmy Valm, Brewmaster

Thompson Island Brewing Co.

Jimmy Valm is brewmaster at Thompson Island Brewing Co. located in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He grew up in Washington state and then earned a degree in Brewing & Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. While in Scotland he received numerous academic and community accolades. He worked at Heineken UK in Manchester, England, and upon returning to the United States, at Brooklyn Brewery's Williamsburg facility and at Cape May Brewing Co. in New Jersey. Jimmy might know a thing or two about Scotch whisky, in addition to his penchant for old-school IPAs and dark lagers.