Please see below for our featured speakers and the entire list of speakers for the 2020 Beer Marketing and Tourism Conference.
Mariah Calagione | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Mariah Calagione is “Co-founder & Communitarian” of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Dogfish Distilling Co., Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, the Chesapeake & Maine restaurant, and Dogfish Inn. Dogfish, which is the 13th largest craft brewery in the United States, is renowned not only for its beers but for its beer tourism, including its restaurant, hotel, and many events. Mariah oversees marketing and social media for the company.
Julia Herz | Brewers Association
Julia is the Craft Beer Program Director for the Brewers Association, co-author of the free CraftBeer.com Beer & Food Course, and co-author of Beer Pairing (Voyageur Press). She is a life-long homebrewer, BJCP beer judge and Certified Cicerone®. She is also well-known as the dynamic voice of craft beer.
Jeremy Ragonese is President of Uinta Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, the 42nd largest craft brewery in the country. He was formerly Director of Marketing for Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City for ten years and CMO for Uinta Brewing Company for two years. He is also Founder and Past President of Boulevardia, a multi-day festival in Kansas City that draws 40,000 attendees annually.
Dr. Neil Reid | The Beer Professor
Dr. Neil Reid is a Professor of Geography and Planning at the University of Toledo, with a specialty in local economic development. Since 2014, Professor Reid has been researching the growth of the craft brewing industry in the United States and its potential role in helping to revitalize neighborhood economies. He is currently writing a book titled Agritourism, Wine Tourism, and Craft Beer Tourism: Local Responses to Peripherality Through Tourism Niches.
Pete Slosberg started Pete’s Brewing Company in 1986 and created Pete’s Wicked Ale. The company grew over 100 percent annually for 10 years, produced the #2 craft beer behind Sam Adams, went public, and then was acquired. Pete then created Cocoa Pete’s Chocolate Adventures and sold it seven years later. He also wrote a best selling book, Beer for Pete’s Sake, and now teaches at beer conferences worldwide and for a course affiliated with the Small Business Administration.
Neal Stewart | Deschutes Brewery
Neal Stewart is Vice President of Marketing at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, the 10th largest craft brewery in the country. He is responsible for all aspects of marketing, starting at the top with setting the marketing vision and strategy. Prior to working at Deschutes, Neal was the Vice President of Marketing at Dogfish Head, where he led the marketing efforts across the brewery, distillery, two restaurants, hospitality center, and hotel.
Bart Watson | Brewers Association
Bart Watson is the Chief Economist at the BA and is in charge of the BA’s statistical resources, including production surveys, economic analysis, and market research. In addition to dazzling BA members for the past 6.5 years with industry data and his clear analyses, his responsibilities include interacting with the media on economic and statistical issues. He has an undergrad from Stanford and a graduate degree from UC Berkeley in political science. Bart will deliver our Closing Keynote address at BMTC19.
Full Speaker Lineup
Leroy Bridges | Visit St. Petersburg / Clearwater
Leroy Bridges is Vice President of Digital and Communications at Visit St. Petersburg / Clearwater, our local hosts for BMTC20. In his role, Leroy focuses on social and digital marketing and has been instrumental in the region’s promotion of its potential for beer tourism. Leroy developed the Gulp Coast marketing program for its craft breweries.
Neil Callaghan | Cigar City Brewing
Neil Callaghan is Business Development Manager at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, although he prefers to go by the title El Lector. Neil is an Advanced Cicerone™ and Certified BJCP Beer Judge. At Cigar City he focuses on beer education, staff management and training, draft system maintenance and installation, inventory and pricing programs, and experiential product familiarization (drinking beer). He was previously the Tasting Room General Manager.
Shelly Claflin | Bell’s Brewery
Shelly Claflin is the Tour Manager for Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo and Comstock, Michigan, the 7th largest Craft Brewery in the US. Shelly worked for Larry Bell in 1993 as the first server for Bell’s Eccentric Café. Since that time, she has owned her own sustainable and adventure travel company and has extensive experience in event management and hospitality. These talents paired with her long-time love affair with craft beer brought her back to Bell’s in 2015 to elevate the tour program. As a native of Kalamazoo, she call’s Bell’s home and has found her passion delighting fans and seeing an increase in attendance of 20% year after year.
Cameron Davis | Atlanta Brewing Co
Cameron is the Marketing Director at the Atlanta Brewing Co, where she is responsible for all marketing aspects of the brewery. She recently took the brewery through a complete rebranding of not only the beers but the company name and logo. Prior to this Cameron had a career in sports marketing, including stints with the Atlanta Falcons, ESPN College Gameday, and the Peach Bowl.
Lynn Davis | Beer Connoisseur
Lynn Davis is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Beer Connoisseur®, a globally recognized media company covering the beer industry for its 8 million annual consumer and industry readers. He serves as the financial, sales, marketing, editorial, creative and media executive — promoting the brand and expanding the company both nationally and in global markets. The online magazine covers topics ranging from Industry & People, Food & Travel, Beer & Trends, Education, Blogs, Brewery Tours and more.
Carol Dekkers | VolunBEERS
Carol is a seasoned public speaker and event coordinator with a passion for craft beverages. She has more than 25 years of experience in fast-paced technology and customer-focused environments and has delivered hundreds of presentations and workshops to audiences in over 30 countries on topics ranging from communication, leadership, quality, technology, cultural diversity, and craft beverages. In both 2007 and 2008, SAP international chose Carol to deliver the keynote address to their 500+ global quality professionals in Waldorf, Germany.
Marissa DeSantis | Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Marissa DeSantis is Communications Supervisor of Great Lakes Brewing Company. Her experience as a freelance beer and food writer and her passion for craft beer brought her to GLBC, where she has led the development of the brewery’s brand identity and creative voice across all internal and external platforms. She contributed heavily to GLBC’s complete brand refresh in 2015, and takes great pride in sharing the GLBC story through packaging, programming, social media, and more
Oceania Eagan | Blindtiger Design
Oceania Eagan is Founder and Creative Director of Blindtiger Design, a Seattle-based creative, strategy, and marketing agency specializing in the unique needs of the craft beer industry. The company’s main work is design, which they have doing for 12 years in the beer industry. Oceania is also an Adjunct Professor in the Craft Brewing Program at Central Washington University, where she teaches Business and Marketing of Beer.
Meghan Gearino | Visit Richmond, VA
Meghan Gearino is the Travel Media Manager for Visit Richmond in Virginia, which VinePair named #1 in “The World’s Top 10 Beer Destinations for 2018” and Wanderu named “The Best Craft Beer City in the Northeast”. She is part of the team of six in the marketing department that promotes Richmond as a beer tourism destination, including the Richmond Beer Trail.
Kenny Gould | Hop Culture Magazine
Kenny Gould is the founder of Hop Culture Magazine, which in just three years has become one of the most well-read online beer magazines. He has in the past also been a contributor at Forbes, Thrillist, and Men’s Health. In 2019, Kenny and Hop Culture organized 14 craft beer events in their home base of New York City and around the country.
Leigh Harting | 3 Daughters Brewing
Leigh is co-owner along with her husband of 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she is responsible for sales and marketing. Founded only five years ago, 3 Daughters has grown to become one of the largest independent breweries in Florida. Their growth has continued with the introduction of ciders and hard seltzers. The brewery is distributing in 4,100 retail outlets.
Simon Jenkins | Yorkshire Post
Simon Jenkins authors a beer column for the Yorkshire Post newspapers in the United Kingdom, which he has been writing since 1992. He also has written columns on TV, films, music, and food. Simon is the author of three books, including The Great Leeds Pub Crawl and the Yorkshire Beer Bible. He is a past British Beer Writer of the Year.
Kendall Joseph | Rhizome Productions
Kendall Joseph is an event manager for Rhizome Productions, an event production company based in Nashville, Tennessee. Rhizome runs 14 events a year, most of them focused on craft beer. Kendall is an Advanced Cicerone and a veteran beer blogger, who along with his wife June authors Beer Makes Three.
Paul Leone | New York State Brewers Association
Paul is Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association, which has over 400 breweries and is one of the top craft beer states in the country. Paul began his career as a multi-media producer for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He soon moved on to editing, shooting, and producing several series for cable television, including writing and developing several television pilots on American craft beer, the first few hosted by Dogfish Heads Sam Calagione.
Kristen Muraro | Ska Brewing
Kristen Muraro is the Sales & Marketing Director at Ska Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado, the 8th largest brewery in Colorado. With 15+ years-experience in the event planning industry and 10+ years in the craft beer world, she brings a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all aspects of beer marketing and event planning. Kristen also currently serves on the Conference and Events Committee for the Colorado Brewers Guild and the Market Development Committee for the Brewers Association.
Tara Nurin | Freelance Journalist
Tara Nurin is a freelance journalist specializing in drinks, dining, and destinations. She is the beer and spirits writer for Forbes and contributes to Wine Enthusiast, Food & Wine, Craft Beer & Brewing, and more outlets. She also presents craft beer tastings, workshops, and other events. Tara was a travel writer for three years for USA Today.
Rich Owings | Local Is Where It’s At
An Internet marketer since 2005, Rich Owings sold his tech blog in 2014 and now spends his time helping businesses around the world improve their online presence. Rich spoke at the very first Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference where he was the highest rated speaker that year, presenting a unique twist on SEO that focuses on getting listed as a local business. You can find him on Twitter @RichOwings.
Lindsey Parra, J.J. Taylor Distributing
Lindsey Parra is the Craft Marketing Manager and handles Special Events at J.J. Taylor Distributing in Florida. Lindsey has over ten years of experience with J.J. Taylor, working previously as the Digital Marketing & Events Manager. J.J. Taylor operates in 17 counties in Florida as well as in Minnesota and has been in operation since 1954.
Matt Plapp | Driven Media Solutions
Matt Plapp is the CEO of Driven Media Solutions, a full-service marketing firm located in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. For the past 13 years his company has created targeted social media campaigns that turn clicks into customers. With a specialty of restaurants, breweries, and tap rooms, Matt’s successful marketing strategies can specifically be used to grow a company’s visitors (i.e. beer tourism) but more generally can be applied to most small businesses.
Kami Perdue | Great Lakes Brewing Co.
After a post-college marketing stint in non-profit social services, Kami Perdue joined GLBC in 2002 and pioneered the company’s marketing and branding activities, which ranged from communications (pre-social media!) and event-based marketing to media relations and portfolio/package development. As the Marketing Director, she is inspired every day by her amazingly creative team and the rapidly changing industry, and continues to evolve the GLBC brand to ensure a most memorable experience.
Josh Seago | Lou Dog Events
Josh Seago is the Founder and Owner of Lou Dog Events, which for the last seven years has been running a series of craft beer festivals in the Chicago area. He is also the owner of Brewing Social, which helps taproom events and beer festivals increase ticket sales. Josh is a Professor of Management at North Central College in Illinois where he teaches courses in marketing.
Elle Tedder | BowStern Marketing Communications
Elle Tedder is a Senior Communication Strategist at BowStern Marketing Communications. Elle is responsible for the creation, management, and execution of comprehensive marketing plans for businesses in a variety of industries. She makes out-of-the-box, strategic ideas come to fruition through her keen attention to detail and superior management skills, all while keeping her eye on the overarching goal of the project. From working with small-town, local businesses to national clients, Elle understands how to achieve successful results through thoughtful marketing techniques. Elle’s professional experience includes campaign development, social media marketing, copywriting, destination marketing, and project management. She is a proud graduate of Furman University and lives in Tallahassee with her husband, Jared, and their fur-baby, Hudson.
Julie Wartell | PubQuest
Julie Wartell is a Continuing Lecturer in the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of California, San Diego and an independent advisor to governmental agencies and communities relating to analyzing crime problems, neighborhood safety, and the geography of breweries. Julie currently teaches a course called “Craft Breweries and the Urban Economy,” and her research, training and writing has been used in communities around the world. In her spare time, Julie also runs PubQuest, a brewery mapping company.
Tom Wilmes is a freelancer writer, editor, and content strategist based in Lexington, Kentucky. He currently writes about craft beer for Spirited magazine, writes about whiskey and bourbon for Garden & Gun magazine, and is the editor of Business Lexington magazine. Tom was previously the beer writer for the Boulder Daily Camera in Colorado and on staff at the Lexington Herald-Reader.
Kevin York | Kevin York Communications
Kevin is the founder and president of Kevin York Communications, which provides marketing services to the craft beer industry. Kevin has done PR, social media, and content marketing at both the strategic and tactical levels. Prior to founding KYC, he worked at Edelman Digital and Voce Communications, a Porter Novelli company, where he served as head of Porter Novelli’s global digital technology practice. He also founded and managed The Couchletes, a national sports editorial site with seven regional writers.