Seminar Proposal Submission

The call for proposals for seminars at CBC 2020 is now closed. Fill out this form to receive a notification when we are taking proposals for seminars at CBC 2021.

The Brewers Association welcomes proposals each year for educational seminars at the conference. Seminars are expected to provide actionable take-aways for attendees to help improve their businesses.

Before submitting a proposal, potential speakers are strongly encouraged to read the information below regarding submission guidelines and suggested topics.

For questions, please contact MacKenzie Staples.

Submission Guidelines & Suggestions

  • Important! Speakers should consider creative educational formats: Standard CBC seminars are hour-long lectures. However, the CBC 2020 Seminar Selection Committee would like to encourage potential speakers to submit proposals for seminars in creative formats where appropriate. Potential formats could include workshops, roundtable discussions, short lectures, long lectures, hands-on demonstrations, and more. You will have an opportunity in the submission form to describe your preferred seminar format.
  • Descriptions should accurately reflect the proposed seminar content. If selected, the text provided in the “Seminar Description” field will be used as the seminar description on the event website, and in the conference program and mobile application.
  • Be prepared to provide contact information, a short biography, and a headshot for all proposed speakers when you submit your proposal.
  • You can begin filling out the form and save at any point for completion at a later date, but you must submit the form on or before September 25, 2019 in order for your proposal to be considered for review.
  • Changes (including speaker additions or changes in company affiliations) after the seminar is selected will need to be approved by the CBC Seminar Selection Committee.
  • Titles and content of selected seminars are subject to revision after committee review and approval.
  • Brewers Association members have clearly expressed the sentiment that they prefer not to have supplier-generated presentations that only explore one specific product or solution in the educational tracks at the Craft Brewers Conference. Suppliers wishing to present specific information on their products should consider a sponsored demonstration. Proposals from suppliers are welcome when balanced approaches and solutions to industry issues are presented and they do not mention specific products by name.

It is also highly recommended that you keep a copy of your proposal content in a Word document or other external file in case of any errors during the submission process.

Suggested Seminar Topics by Educational Track

The CBC 2020 Seminar Selection Committee has prepared a list of suggested seminar topics for each educational track. These topics are not intended to be an exhaustive list, but rather a guide to potential speakers to some of the top priority areas of focus that the committee would like to see presented on at this year’s event. Potential speakers are welcome to submit proposals beyond the scope of these suggestions but are encouraged to keep them in mind when planning their proposal content.

Download the full list of suggested topics

Beer Styles

The Brewers Association recognizes over 150 distinct beer styles in its Beer Style Guidelines. Each style has a unique history and characteristics, and is brewed using specific brewing processes and techniques. The seminars in this track will highlight individual beer styles and the techniques used to brew them.

Suggested topics for this track:

  • Ancient or historical brewing traditions and techniques
  • Brewing pale or American-style lagers, including ingredients, process, and packaging
  • Brewing craft Mexican-style lagers
  • Proper fermentation and handling of lager yeast
  • Managing carbohydrates in beer; brewing low-carb and low-calorie beers
  • Wood beers and wood aging
  • Predicting the next big thing in beer styles and ingredients
  • Entering beer into competitions with the appropriate style
  • Brewing to style with sensory in mind
  • Focusing on malt character in your beer
  • Finding terroir by choosing local ingredients
  • Getting back to traditional styles
  • Making hard seltzer in your brewery
  • See a style we missed that you’re passionate about? Propose it!

Brewing Operations

The Brewing Operations track covers all of the processes included in beer production – from brewhouse tasks, fermentation and filtration, to cellaring and packaging, and cleaning and sanitation. Attend these seminars to hear from experts on how to maximize quality and efficiency in your brewery from the smallest detail to a major expansion.

Suggested topics for this track:

  • Packaging line design for the small brewer
  • Best practices for dealing with contractors, including how to communicate with them and the liability of employing contractors in your brewery
  • Materials forecasting, production planning, and supply chain management
  • Understanding haze: the science, impact, and packaging of haze in beers
  • Brewery water treatment and modification processes
  • Avoiding Diastaticus and preventing over-attenuation in packaged beer
  • Best practices for yeast pitching and storage
  • Building or expanding your brewery with safety in mind
  • Practical heat transfer knowledge – basic education on heating and cooling systems
  • Does a centrifuge really reduce beer loss in your brewery?
  • Automation for smaller breweries
  • Brewery floor design, including drains, covering systems, and more
  • FSMA compliance, including tools to communicate lot code and traceability to wholesalers
  • Everything about mobile canning lines, including how to contract and maintain quality and safety in your brewery
  • How to make changes or expansions to your existing brewhouse setup


Running a brewery is about more than just making good beer. Things like finance and accounting, human resources, staff training, and management are all just as important to keep your business healthy. Stay on top of the latest industry trends and learn best practices for dealing with the tough conversations in your business with the seminars in this track.

Suggested topics for this track:

  • Brewery finance and accounting workshop, including interactive and hands-on elements
  • Crisis management – strategies for handling negative PR
  • Facilitating conversations on mental health and healthy drinking habits with your staff
  • Sexual harassment prevention training, including bystander prevention
  • Staff training methods and important topics to cover
  • Tipping models and best practices
  • Getting your financial house back in order after a slowdown
  • Human resources for breweries who can’t or don’t have an HR staff
  • Diversity and inclusion in your brewery
  • “Do you have a plan for that?” – When is it time to implement a formal policy for incident management, emergency procedures, etc.?
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Alternatives to expanding – Ex: contract brewing and alternating proprietorships
  • Navigating the relationships between breweries (esp. taproom model) and retailers
  • Brewery industry data and trends, and what you can do with them
  • How to handle situations where the customer is wrong
  • Putting profitability first in your business
  • IT solutions for breweries


Are you exporting your beer abroad or considering entering the global market? Expose yourself to the diverse industry and culture of craft beer around the world in the Export track, and be informed about opportunities for your products in international markets.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Developing a plan to market and sell your beer abroad
  • Evaluating potential import partners
  • Importer/distributor relationships and expectations when exporting
  • Navigating export compliance and regulations
  • Evaluating ROI of overseas marketing opportunities like festivals, trade shows, and competitions
  • Understanding the logistics of exporting beer

Government Affairs

The Government Affairs track is all about helping you know your rights and how to defend them. From taxes and tariffs, to updates on state and federal laws that will affect your business – make sure you’re aware of the risks and opportunities in today’s political environment.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Brewery industry legal updates
  • How to get involved in government affairs – local, state, and federal
  • Regulatory updates and compliance
  • Tax issues and tariffs affecting breweries
  • State and regional guild-focused topics


Brewery hospitality is about making meaningful connections with the visitors in your taproom or brewpub to keep them coming back for more. Attend this track to learn about the many ways to enhance your taproom experience, including events and entertainment, well-trained and engaged staff, beer and food pairing, and more.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Taproom architecture and design
  • Training your servers to provide the best customer experience
  • Creating meaningful connections with your customers
  • Building your story into your taproom and making sure your staff buys in
  • Not just another brewery tour – How to make your tour memorable
  • Basic event planning logistics
  • Advanced event planning strategy
  • Considerations for using your brewery as a private event space
  • Beer to-go and beer delivery
  • Beer and snack pairing
  • Selecting the right POS system for your brewery
  • Technology and software options to increase your bottom line

Ingredients & Supplies

We all know the basic ingredients in brewing beer: barley, hops, water, yeast. Attend the seminars in this track to learn more about the beer industry supply chain, as well as how to handle, analyze, and maintain quality brewing supplies and ingredients.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Best practices for hop selection for first timers and experienced customers
  • Using hops to maintain consistent flavor profiles
  • Practical malt handling and safety
  • How to select and test finings to find the right method for your brewery
  • Using enzymes in your brewery
  • Designing your water treatment system for different flavor outcomes
  • Simple methods for evaluating ingredient quality
  • Packaging material quality
  • Fermenting with kveik yeast
  • Practical strategies for mitigating long or excessive hop inventories
  • Brewing with non-traditional ingredients, including ensuring quality and dealing with regulatory approval processes
  • Practical handling of multiple yeast strains
  • CO2 purity, safety, and recapture
  • The truth about GMO vs. non-GMO ingredients, including safety considerations

Marketing & Social Media

Designing a successful marketing strategy is imperative to growing your brand. In this section, learn about best practices and tactics for effective marketing and social media in your brewery, from the basics to the big leagues.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Brewery social media, including actionable takeaways and real-world examples. The selection committee would like to see proposals for different levels of topics, such as:
    • Beginner: social media basics, budgeting, and how to get started
    • Intermediate: content creation, engagement, and tips and tricks for different platforms
    • Advanced: data analytics and metrics, social media trends, and “what’s new” or “what’s next”
  • Interactive beer and brewery photography workshop, including how to take great photos with a smart phone
  • Branding strategy, including selecting brand elements and maintaining consistency throughout your brewery on- and off-site
  • Creating and protecting your unique beer names and brands
  • How to communicate with distributors and retailers, including how to share and encourage the use of your marketing assets
  • Website design and content maintenance
  • Getting a tap handle at a retail location and keeping it
  • How to get the most out of festivals and deciding when to participate
  • Strategic marketing for big events at your brewery
  • Responding to criticism and negative reviews
  • How to budget for marketing in your brewery with limited resources
  • How to communicate with the press and media


Starting a craft brewery is a huge job. The seminars in the Planning track will help you in both the planning process and the early days of your brewery’s operations. Learn about everything from creating a financial plan and outlining your business goals, to selecting your equipment, designing your taproom, and implementing best practices to brew quality beer.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Financial planning for the brewery-in-planning
  • The time and money it really takes to start a brewery
  • Brewhouse layout and design
  • Brewery site selection and essential considerations
  • Generating the right kind of buzz for your brewery opening
  • Everything you need to do to prepare for your brewery opening
  • “What I Wish I Would Have Known When I Started My Brewery”
  • Selecting a point-of-sale system and knowing what elements will work for you
  • Sales forecasting and adjusting to the changing market
  • Selecting the elements that will define your brewery experience


Quality management for breweries is critical for continued success. The seminars in this track will give your brewery the tools to set up a quality lab, analyze and maintain quality in your beers, and implement best practices for getting your beer to consumers at its best.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Setting up a quality lab for the small craft brewer
  • Best practices for brewers contemplating mobile canning operations
  • Food safety quality measures
  • Cold side ingredient addition best practices
  • What to do with a bad batch of beer, including recall guidance and protocols for dumping beer
  • Food safety preventive controls
  • An overview of the existing research on dry hop creep
  • QA/QC for barrel aged beers, including package stability and food safety considerations
  • Draught beer quality
  • Best practices for kettle souring
  • Techniques for haze stability and measurement
  • Practical yeast management and propagation for small brewers
  • Practical solutions to reduce DO and TPO


Nothing is more important to managing your brewery than maintaining a safe and healthy working environment for your employees. The Safety track is all about providing you with the resources you need to create a culture of safety in your brewery and protect your staff and equipment from harm.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Creating a culture of safety in your brewery
  • Air monitoring, confined spaces, and lockout/tagout
  • Hazard communication, chemical safety, and PPE
  • Elevated working spaces, including ladder safety during dry hopping
  • Brewery ergonomics and injury avoidance, including lifting and grain handling
  • Forklift training, including how to create your training program and evaluations
  • OSHA reporting requirements basics and the benefits of OSHA consultations

Sales & Distribution

It doesn’t matter how good your beer is if you don’t know how to sell it. The seminars in the Sales & Distribution track will provide breweries with best practices for working with retailers, distributors, and your own team to sell beer on-premise, off-premise, and beyond.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Retailer panel – On-premise perspectives
  • Retailer panel – Off-premise perspectives
  • So, you’ve got a tap handle placement. Here’s how to keep it.
  • Setting your sales team up for success – Designing your sales training, territories, expectations, salaries, and incentives to keep your team motivated
  • Stories from launching a new brand – What worked for you?
  • Local self-distribution – How to know when you’re ready to sell beyond your taproom and how to get started


Sustainability is key to the long-term success of the craft beer industry. The seminars in this track will discuss conscientious brewing practices that breweries can implement to become effective environmental stewards.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • Incorporating sustainability in your business plan from the start
  • Sustainability certifications – which one/s to choose and what value they can bring to your brewery
  • Establishing an internal sustainability champion in your brewery
  • Cooperating with your community on sustainability efforts
  • How to benchmark utility usage and interpret the data
  • Understanding the short- and long-term climate risks to your business
  • Principals and consequences of climate change
  • Ways to finance sustainability projects with grants, rebates, and the like
  • Water usage and efficiency
  • Bottle bills/container deposit legislation
  • Sustainable purchasing trends and how to harness them in your brewery marketing
  • Sustainable innovations in practical application – Has your brewery implemented a sustainable innovation? Tell us about it!

Thought Leadership

The Thought Leadership track is intended for owners, managers, and leaders in the craft brewing industry. Join these sessions to open your mind, be inspired, question your norms, and learn to be a more authentic and effective leader.

Suggested topics in this track:

  • The next big thing – Exploring the future with today’s visionaries
  • Challenges of being a female leader in a male-driven industry
  • Cultivating diversity and inclusion in your business
  • Using your company’s position in the community for positive change
  • How failure can lead to better businesses
  • Leading millennials and future generations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Taking a stand and deciding when it’s the right decision to integrate personal values into your business
  • Harnessing creativity in your business
  • Realizing when you’re wrong and how to apologize
  • When the customer is wrong – how to stand up for your business and employees