Ohio Brewery News
Stronger and Smarter Together
Brewing industry reps from across the state and around the country gathered in Cincinnati this week for the seventh annual Ohio Craft Brewers Conference, presented by the Cincinnati Insurance Companies. The Ohio Craft Brewers Association organizes this yearly symposium to help breweries learn from each other about a wide range of topics, establish relationships with the companies that serve the industry, and make valuable connections with their fellow brewers. The craft brewing industry was built on a foundation of cooperation and collaboration among breweries; the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference is one of the biggest ways that we continue to foster the collective spirit that keeps craft beer growing in the Buckeye State. This year’s conference drew more than 500 brewing professionals to the Queen City for three days of education, networking and community building.
Best Practices and Emerging Issues
This year’s conference featured more than 30 educational seminars and panel discussions covering a broad range of industry topics. Keynote speaker Tim Brady of Whetstone Craft Beers spoke on the importance of delivering consistently great customer service, a critical issue for craft breweries that make the bulk of their revenue from over the bar sales in their taprooms. Ohio Division of Liquor Control superintendent Jim Canepa addressed the recent legal and regulatory developments that will impact the state’s brewing industry in the coming years. Brewers from Fat Head’s, JAFB-Wooster and Market Garden discussed how they brew their award-winning wheat beers. Several seminars focused on creating cultures of inclusion for employees and customers within the brewery. Big or small, urban or rural, well-established or still in planning, the conference offers educational opportunities to breweries of all kinds.
More than 85 exhibitors set up shop for the day at the annual conference trade show. Brewery owners and employees in attendance were able to get their hands on the newest and most innovative products available in the industry: the hops, barley and yeast that goes into the beer, the machinery and materials needed to brew it and package it, the software and supplies needed to sell the beer and build a brand around the brewery, the professional services needed to run the business, and so much more. Brewers and vendors were able to talk shop while sipping on a variety of beers supplied by more than two dozen Ohio breweries, most from the Cincinnati area.
Building a Stronger Community
Beyond the formal seminars and the interactions on the trade show floor, the conference affords brewers from all over the state on opportunity to get to know each other and talk about their own experiences. This year’s event kicked off with an Ohio Craft Brewers Association member meeting held at Fifty West Brewing Company the day before the official start of the conference. At the meeting, brewers got updates about industry issues, upcoming events and new initiatives offered by their trade association. During the conference, brewery reps were able to reconnect with friends from their region – like the ones pictured here from nine northwest Ohio breweries that made the trip to Cincy – or strike up new friendships among the nearly 100 breweries in attendance. There was plenty of fun to be had as well, with official receptions held at Rhinegeist and Northern Row in Over-the-Rhine, alongside many other events at breweries throughout the Cincinnati area. We can’t wait to taste some of the amazing collaboration beers that we’re sure were born this week at the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference!