Community within Breweries and the Growth of the Industry: Key Takeaways from the Annual Craft Brewers Conference

craft brewery conference

I just got back from the annual Craft Brewers Conference. It was a whirlwind experience.  From meeting with our clients, to scoping out the massive expo floor, to learning some great things in the seminars- there was a lot going on! If that  wasn’t enough, there was also some great team bonding time, as Samantha (our Director of Operations) and Jamie (our Operations and Marketing Manager) made the trek to Nashville as well. Through all of it, I found three key takeaways from the week.

  1. Community within breweries is vital to the health of those breweries.  Through many of the sessions I attended, the speakers kept coming back to the idea of community within breweries. Community in a brewery is key- if you just have one leader trying to get the brewery to a successful place, it will lead to a lot of frustration among the team, and isolation for the leader itself. Pink Boots Society had a speaker make this very salient point- “The bravest leader is the first follower; willing to come along with you and fully believes in your ideas…” In order to have a healthy company, a strong community and culture within is needed.
  2. Community among breweries (meaning brewery owners get together to learn from each other) is vital to the brewery’s success.  In Ash Beckham’s Inclusive Leadership session, she ran poll questions on how well a brewery is doing in supporting diversity and/or inclusivity within its brewery.  Some businesses were doing well and others not as well. Ash did not pat those on the back who were doing well and reprimand those who were not; instead, she recommended that these breweries talk with one another and help each other out.  Community among breweries brings the collective knowledge of everyone, each individual story, together so we can all benefit, learn, and become better co-laborers and business owners.
  3. Use the knowledge of those who came before you to guide you, but also learn to make your own path.  The craft brewing industry is moving from a growth phase, to maturation phase. In the growth phase, you could copy much of what your predecessors did, with a bit of your own spin, and find success.  However, in the maturation phase of the industry, copying what was done before won’t bring the success it once did. Finding your own path and trying new things will provide leadership to the industry at large.  These new paths will allow your brewery to continue to grow during the maturation phase. It will also allow other breweries make their own paths. These new paths may be more risky, but profits and growth will come from risk.  

After such a fulfilling week, and some much needed recovery time, we are energized and ready to serve our brewery clients, help them continue to build community, and walk with them on their path toward success.

by Josh Lance, Managing Director, Lance CPA Group