The 2018 Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference will take place March 6 – 8 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Burlington, Vermont. Please see below for the current agenda, subject to change.
12:30 – 6:30 PM Registration & Beer Tradeshow (Diamond Ballroom Foyer)
1:00 – 4:00 PM “Sharing Best Practices” Summits: Included in your conference registration price, these summits allow you to learn from industry leaders, hear from your peers, and share your own best practices. Each summit will have a moderator and several experienced veterans who provide their opinions on a list of key subjects, each time followed by group participation. These are always very highly rated so don’t miss out! We will have Summits for the following groups:
- Tour Operators (Diamond II) Presenters: Don Littlefield, Hal Mooney, Ashley Rose Salvitti (Moderator)
- Destination Management Organizations (Emerald I) Presenters: Meghan Gearino, Brad Calkins, Vanessa Pike, Sarah Flick
- Brewery Guilds (Emerald II) Presenters: Paul Leone, Steve Kurowski
- Top 50 Breweries / Breweries: Includes tap room managers, marketing, communications, etc. (University Amphitheater) Presenters: Anna Abatzoglou, Nathan Lampson, Beth Marcus
4:30 – 6:30 PM Beer Expo & Opening Reception (Emerald III): Meet and taste beers from our sponsors from Vermont, around the US, and farther abroad. Non-profit or governmental brewers guilds and destination management organizations who register for the conference can staff a table to represent their region and pour their beers at no charge.
7:00 PM Optional Beer Pairing Dinner at Hotel Vermont: Click here for more details.
8:00 AM – 3:25 PM Registration & Beer Tradeshow (Diamond Ballroom Foyer)
9:00 – 9:10 AM Welcome from the Conference Organizers (Emerald Ballroom)
9:10 – 9:40 AM Welcome from Julia Herz of the Brewers Association (Emerald Ballroom): Julia provides a high-energy, fact-intensive overview of the current state of the beer industry with a specific focus on marketing and tourism. Not to be missed.
9:40 – 10:40 AM Working Together To Grow Beer Tourism (Emerald Ballroom): Beer tourism is real and it is important to just about everyone: regions hoping to boost economic success, hotels filling beds, breweries promoting their tap rooms, and tour operators selling empty bus seats. While we can all work separately, perhaps more effective is to work with your beer and tourism industry colleagues towards a similar goal. In this panel, we’ll hear from a brewery, brewery guild, beer tour operator, destination management organization, and hotel on how each would like to cooperate with the other. Presenters: Wendy Knight – Moderator, Matt Wilson, Avery Schwenk, Chad Brodsky, Matt Canning
10:40 – 10:55 AM Break
10:55 – 11:40 AM Keynote Doug Campbell, President of Brewery Ommegang (Emerald Ballroom): Hear how this 13-year beer and spirits industry veteran turned Brewery Ommegang into a “beercation” destination, hosting everything from big-name concerts to an annual summer fest, Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, which draws over 3,000 attendees and 100-plus breweries from around the world.
11:40 – 1:10 PM Buffet Lunch (Lake Champlain Exhibition Hall): Lunch and the following local beers will be provided by our Vermont hosts: von Trapp Brewing, 14th Star Brewing, Drop-In Brewery, Long Trail Brewing, and Harpoon Brewery. Cabot Cheese will also present a beer and cheese pairing with Long Trail Brewing.
1:10 – 2:10 PM Breakout Sessions: Choose One of Three
- Marketing: Event Marketing for Breweries and Guilds (Emerald I): Have the latest, greatest, best beer event happening but wish you could get more people to it? Hear from Eventbrite on how to best address these topics, and more. Presenter: Katie Sawyer @Eventbrite
- How to properly use SEO for Promoting the Event
- How to use Social Media for Event Promotion
- Best Practices Promoting with Email
- Onsite Logistics
- Tourism: How Beer Revitalizes Downtowns (Emerald II): Is beer the cure all? Of course not. But we have seen it do some amazing things, including revitalizing the downtowns of small and large towns seemingly left behind by the technological era. Our panelists will present several different case studies of how beer, breweries, and beer tourism helped revitalize a downtown. Presenters: Ed Phillips, Karen Nevin, Mark Frier
- Tour Operators: Creating the International Beer Tour Operators Association (Emerald III): After the 2017 Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference, a group of beer tour operators started communicating on Facebook about creating the International Beer Tour Operators Association. We’ll hear an update on current progress as well as discuss steps still to be taken. Presenters: Dave Phillips, Dave Grandmaison
2:10 – 2:25 PM Break
2:25 – 3:25 PM Breakout Sessions: Choose One of Three
- Marketing: Advanced Social Media Marketing (Emerald I): Social media has been the rage for 10 years yet is still going strong both with consumers and with marketers. However, social media marketing always changes, both in terms of which platforms are hot and hot to maximize your investment. We’ll hear what is new with social media marketing, with a specific emphasis on the beer industry and on advanced techniques. Presenters: Kevin Mardorf, Tabitha Tice
- Tourism: Craft Beer For Non-Craft Beer Drinkers (Emerald II): Craft brewers are great at selling their beer to people who already drink it, but what about the other 88 percent of the market? This session will discuss how to make craft beer — as a category — more relatable to non-craft beer drinkers, and how that will affect the bottom line. The discussion will be applicable not only to brewers but to anyone involved with the industry wishing to sell to a broader audience. Presenters: Mark Drutman, Ryan Chaffin, Matt Tanaka
- Tour Operators: Working With Breweries, Brewery Guilds, and DMOs (Emerald III): Beer Tour Operators already realize their relationships with breweries are critical to their success. But equally important can be cooperation with local brewery guilds and Destination Management Organizations. We’ll hear from the other side of the aisle with a panel consisting of a brewery, guild, and DMO offering advise to beer tour operators on how they would like to cooperate. Presenters: Mark Hegedus, Paul Leone, Rachel McCue, Megan Bulla
3:25 – 5:30 PM Reception With Vermont Hosts (Lake Champlain Exhibition Hall): Our Vermont hosts will put on a reception of Vermont beers to end the day. Sponsors included so far: Magic Hat Brewing Company, Mill River Brewing BBQ & Smokehouse, Prohibition Pig, and Rock Art Brewery.
5:30 PM Optional Beer Tasting Dinner at von Trapp Family Lodge Bierhall: Click here for more details.
9:15 – 10:15 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose One of Three
- Marketing: Legal Cannabis is a Brand Innovation Game Changer (Emerald I): The focus is on how Cannabis is and will impact every industry and the growth/evolution of both the industry and consumers provides an opportunity for many in terms of new products, innovation, need states, communication, and how it may or may not relate to beer sales and beer marketing. Presenter: Jessica Lukas
- Tourism: Thinking Outside the Bottle & Can: Visitor Experience 101 (Emerald II): A rich, multifaceted visitor experience can be a real game-changer for your brewery. In this session, 1) Rethink the basic, boring TOUR with new ways to encourage comfortable participation and build an emotional connection to your brand. 2) Explore the art of TASTING, learning how to highlight your products and educate visitors with tasting notes, suggested pairings, cocktail ideas and more. 3) Get smart strategies for how to transform your GIFT SHOP into a sustainable revenue source as you maximize selection — while carefully curating inventory to keep it relevant to both the brand and visitors — and support it with amazing customer service. 4) And get great advice for driving TRAFFIC by creating a welcoming, receptive public profile, from traditional advertising to smart social media tactics to partnerships with local and state tourism agencies. Presenters: Steve Schmidt, Sarah West, Ruby Benoit, Brant Myers (Moderator)
- Tour Operators: Marketing For Beer Tour Operators (Emerald III): Many marketing practices are the same for all small businesses: website creation, search engine optimization, social media marketing, etc. But some items are different: partnering with breweries and local hotels, focusing on local SEO, and more. We’ll hear from a professional marketer / tour operator specifically about what is likely to work and not work for your business. Presenter: Bibi Mukherjee
10:15 – 10:30 AM Break
10:30 – 11:30 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose One of Three
- Marketing: Online Advertising: Social Media, Paid Search, Display Ads, and Retargeting (Emerald I): We all like to think digital marketing via the Internet should be free. However, sometimes the most effective marketing is still paid advertising just, in this case, online. In fact, if you are not paying Facebook, you probably aren’t getting much out of your Facebook page. We’ll hear about four key areas of online advertising: social media advertising, paid search, display ads, and retargeting. Presenter: Mike Lannen
- Tourism: Draw Visitors by Telling Your Story (Emerald II): Some breweries are able to draw tourists simply based on a beer or beer they have produced. Some cities and regions are already seen as vacation destinations. But for the vast majority of breweries and destinations, tourists need a reason to visit. That reason is very unlikely to be that your city now has 10 breweries (many do) or that your brewery produces X beer. The way to connect with beer tourists is via your story and their emotions. We’ll learn how. Presenter: Chris McClellan
- Tour Operators: Growing and Scaling your Beer Tour Operation (Emerald III): Want to grow your brewery tour business but not sure where to start? And by growing we mean anything from creating and keeping brewery partners, to scaling your business for other territories. We’ll also chat about diversifying your offerings and thinking outside the bus and beyond the brew. This session features two brewery tour operators who have done just that, and they will share information that might help other brewery tour operators gain new and repeat business. Presenters: Zach Poole, Dave Grandmaison
11:30 – 1:00 PM Buffet Lunch (Lake Champlain Exhibition Hall): Lunch and the following local beers will be provided by our Vermont hosts: Lawsons Finest Liquids, Hermit Thrush Brewery, Prohibition Pig, Magic Hat Brewing Co., and Otter Creek Brewing. Efficiency Vermont will also be on hand to discuss Vermont’s “green” initiatives.
1:00 – 1:10 PM Vermont Governor Phil Scott Welcome (Emerald Ballroom)
1:10 – 2:10 PM The View of Beer Marketing & Tourism From the Press Box (Emerald Ballroom): We’ll hear from a number of beer and tourism journalists about their thoughts on the state of beer marketing and beer tourism. Panel members: Tom Bobak, David Ort, Maureen Fitzpatrick
2:10 – 3:10 PM The View of Beer Marketing and Tourism From the Top (Emerald Ballroom): We’ll hear from a panel of top breweries (by volume) about their challenges, successes, and insights with marketing, attracting visitors, and providing excellent customer experiences – keeping in mind, big or small, we’re all in this together.
3:10 – 3:25 PM Break
3:25 – 4:10 PM Closing Address: Christopher Shepard | Craft Brew News (Emerald Ballroom): Christopher Shepard will share industry insights and trends pertaining to craft beer in the U.S. As the senior editor of Craft Brew News, a publication by Beer INSIGHTS, Mr. Shepard is on the cutting edge of tracking craft beer’s growth.
4:10 – 4:15 PM Conference Close (Emerald Ballroom)
5:30 PM Optional Ski with the Brewers at Sugarbush Resort: Click here for more details.