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2016 Conference Recap: What a Week!

Record-setting Numbers

The 2016 Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (May 3-6, Philadelphia) saw more attendees (13,600) and exhibitors (835) than ever! The Brewers Association wishes to thank all of the many people, organizations and sponsors who made this year’s conference possible—and not least our gracious host: the City of Brotherly Love!

A Perfectly Curated Welcome Reception

Atop the Rocky steps, more than 6,000 conference-goers gathered at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to enjoy the fine arts while savoring the fruits of the craft community’s creative endeavors. Special thanks to the museum for hosting an unforgettable evening!

Keynote: Using Original Thinking to Beat the Big Guys

Billy Beane, executive vice president of baseball operations for the Oakland A’s, told his story of using innovation and fresh perspectives to compete with big-budget competitors—a familiar theme to many of America’s small and independent craft brewers. Beane also shared a story that’s likely not as familiar to most of us: being played by Brad Pitt in a major motion picture.

The State of the Industry

Brewers Association Director Paul Gatza and Chief Economist Bart Watson offered a quantitative survey of the craft beer landscape. The upshot? The state of craft is strong. Though growth in 2015 (13 percent) was not quite as meteoric as in 2014 (18 percent), craft brewers posted numbers that would be the envy of virtually any industry. What’s more, craft beer sales are at an all-time high, reaching 12 percent volume share. And it’s clear that American beer drinkers have not lost their taste for hoppy brew: IPA remains far and away the most popular style, with 26.49 percent dollar share.

Industry Greats Recognized

Each year at CBC, the Brewers Association takes time to recognize individuals and organizations who inspire, defend and innovate within the craft brewing industry. This year’s award winners were:

  • Brewers Association Recognition Award: Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
  • F.X. Matt Defense of the Craft Brewing Industry Award: Nick Matt, F.X. Matt Brewing Co.
  • Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing: Jason Perkins, Allagash Brewing Co.
  • Brewers Association Craft Beer Wholesaler of the Year: Odom Corporation, Coeur d’Alene, ID

Seminars, Hospitalities and Sponsored Demonstrations Galore

The biggest challenge for CBC attendees in 2016? Deciding among all of the educational opportunities on hand! This year’s conference featured 74 educational seminars covering all aspects of the beer business, not to mention sponsored demonstrations, hospitality suites and a truly epic trade show.

World Beer Cup: More Records!

This year’s conference played host to the World Beer Cup, in which brewers from 55 countries competed in “the Olympics of Beer.” A record-busting 1,907 breweries entered 6,596 beers which were judged by an elite international panel of 253 judges from 31 countries.

“Brewing has no boundaries or borders,” said Charlie Papazian, Brewers Association founder. “The World Beer Cup recognizes the very best in the global community of brewers—their innovation, creativity and the craft of beer and brewing.”

2016 World Beer Cup Winners