Craft Brewers Conference Wraps in Minneapolis

The Brewers Association’s (BA) Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America® (CBC) traveled to Minneapolis for the 39th annual event on May 2 through May 5, 2022. With the number of craft breweries reaching an all-time high of 9,118 in 2021, this was one of the largest industry gatherings for craft beer peers to connect in person, share ideas, and learn about the latest innovations and products, from planting hop seeds and canning to labeling the final product and everything in between.

With support from the city of Minneapolis, along with partners at Meet Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Convention Center, the BA hosted more than 10,300 attendees from across the country and world. As a result, Meet Minneapolis estimated that the 2022 CBC generated more than $12 million in direct spending with the local economy. CBC afforded attendees the opportunity to grow, learn, and optimize their neighborhood breweries. Key takeaways from the largest annual event in the craft beer industry include:

Education and Resources

Attendees participated in nine different educational tracks during the CBC andvisited with 637 exhibitors that took part in BrewExpo America, the premier trade show for craft brewers.

Industry Thought Leadership

Natalie Cilurzo, co-owner and president of the renowned Russian River Brewing Company, and Tim Wu, special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy, headlined the line-up at CBC.

Cilurzo joined General Session II as the keynote to discuss the importance of defining the motivation and mission as a craft brewer in a competitive landscape.

The session continued with Wu, who spoke about the fight for small and independent craft brewers at the federal level—from competition policy and the Biden Administration’s work on competition, to the recently released report on “Competition in the Markets for Beer, Wine, and Spirits.”

Positive Community Impact

The Greater Twin Cities United Way and the BA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee joined together to assemble nearly 3,000 packs of culturally relevant food items to give back to the local community. The project was expected to take three days and volunteers finished on day one. Future event attendees can expect additional volunteer opportunities at upcoming BA events.

Industry Award Winners

Nominated by Brewers Association members, five industry leaders were recognized and awarded for inspiring, defending, and innovating within the craft brewing industry:

  • F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award: Sam Hendler, co-founder Jack’s Abby and president, Massachusetts Brewers Guild (Framingham, MA)
  • Brewers Association Recognition Award: Steve Hindy, founder, Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing: Karl Ockert, Karl Ockert Brewing Services
  • Brewers Association Mentor of the Year Award: Annette May and Ramon Tamayo

Thriving Out

CBC kicked off with THRIVE, a new program that invited attendees to take a deep and integrated dive into DEI, human resources (HR), and wellness topics tailored for craft breweries of all sizes. The workshops empowered attendees to build safe, inclusive, and equitable cultures, where everyone who makes, sells, and enjoys craft beer can thrive.

The Olympics of Beer

Returning after cancellation in 2020 because of the pandemic, the 2022 World Beer Cup was the largest competition to date, with 10,542 entries from 2,493 breweries representing 57 countries. Entries were evaluated by an elite panel of 226 judges from 28 countries. A complete list of winners can be viewed here. Historically a biennial event, it was announced that the World Beer Cup competition will move to an annual event beginning in 2023. Brewery registration for the 2023 World Beer Cup will open in October 2022, with the awards presented May 10, 2023, at the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Save the Date for Nashville

The 2023 edition of CBC, which includes the now annual World Beer Cup® competition, will be held May 7-10, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. We look forward to seeing you in the Music City!