I spent last week in Philadelphia for the Craft Brewers Conference 2016 (CBC16). It was a lot of fun and I learned a ton. The fun part is easy to sum up. Beer! The education is a little harder to sum up into one or two main lessons. The biggest thing I can say is that it is all in the details. And there are lots of little details for so many aspects of starting a business that happens to be a brewery and restaurant.
Of the many seminars that were available, I stuck mostly to the Start-Up track. The following is a list of the classes that I attended.
- Marketing 101 for the Start-Up Brewery
- The Cost of Opening a Brewery: 3 Perspectives
- How to Successfully Raise Capital for Your Brewery
- Finding a Location for Your Brewery
- How to Start a Brewery
- Top 10 Legal Tips for Start-Up Breweries
I can’t even begin to describe the scale of the exhibition hall. There were so many vendors with so much great stuff. Everything from tap handles and clothing to full brewhouses and bottling lines were on display in the hall. Everything looked so shiny. I wanted it all. I would love to give a shout out to all the vendors I visited but there were so many. It would have been a lot more if I wasn’t such an introvert or if I had drink more of the beer, which was free! I will say that I concentrated my efforts on visiting small brewery equipment vendors, keg salesmen, lawyers, banks, insurers, flooring specialists, consultants, raw materials, and the Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
I can’t forget to mention all the great official evening events that were basically just parties at nearby bars and galleries. I hopped around to a few of them. Philly treated us well, despite the gloomy weather, and the people that work in the craft beer industry are generally some of the most friendly welcoming people I have met.