I just finished up an incredible couple days talking about issues facing breweries and how VicinityBrew can assist them with their brewery management software needs at the 2013 Brewbound Winter Summit.
I can tell you I took away a lot more than I gave and I think that is the purpose.
On the first night I was able to catch up with a number of existing clients as well as a prospective clients at the
Museum of Man on Balboa Island. I had planned to hear some great success stories from our clients on how we were helping them address issues at the brewery. That happened – but I was really moved walking around the Beerology exhibit with some creative brewers and learning together the history of our brewing legacy. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Bewery was on had to give his insight and perspective as only Sam can do. It was a great experience and a terrific start to my first Brewbound conference.
The next morning started early as we setup our booth anticipating the many conversations VicinityBrew would have with breweries of all sizes. That certainly happened but we were in for much more that day.
I sat in on the brewery challenge and listened to stories of entrepreneurs striving to achieve their dreams in the brewing industry. I heard the feedback from experts as they pelted the presenter with questions about brand direction, target market, taste, quality and pricing. It was a master’s course in brewing. It will be a regular part of my Brewbound agenda for years to come.
After some introductions and housekeeping we heard from the keynote. Sam Calagione took center stage and in his own unique and provocative style shared his story, insights and fears all while challenging us to be better breweries, suppliers and market leaders in the craft industry. I took a lot out of his talk. The key point for me was to know what you do, why you do it and judge all decisions against that criteria. Great talk Sam!
The next speaker actually engaged me as the CEO of VicinityBrew. I was intrigued to hear about contract brewing done in large scale. Tim Schoen, CEO of Brew Hub, really opened my eyes to the idea that craft breweries could expand their markets as well as capacity by contracting with a large scale contract brewing company such as Brew Hub. They made an announcement that was a total surprise to me. Tim Schoen announced during his session the first three contracts for Brew Hub – Cigar City, BJs and Orange Blossom.
I was excited to hear this news as I spent some time the previous night at the museum sharing stories with Joey Redner of Cigar City. Cigar City is one of our newest clients and it is exciting to see the brewery thinking about this opportunity. I feel this announcement puts VicinityBrew in the middle of the trend for contract brewing. An exciting time for us.
What most did not realize is that VicinityBrew has already started to work with another contract brewery by the name of Beltway Brewing outside Washington, DC. It looks like we will learn a great deal about this model in the months to come. We will keep you posted.
We spent most of the lunch talking to owners of breweries from various sizes about how VicinityBrew has assisted our clients ranging from startups (Beltway Brewing) through mid-level (Highland Brewing) into large (Deschutes) to the top of the pile (Sierra Nevada) all while keeping the focus on the business issues critical to the craft brewery at hand. There is nothing better than a good meal, good beer with good friends. Cheers!
Later that afternoon I had the incredible opportunity to share some of our insights on business challenges facing breweries from 5k BBL to a 1,000k BBL. In my breakout session I talked about the typical path of the growth challenges and how VicinityBrew could be there to help the breweries. I heard a lot of good ideas to take back to our development group as well as shared ways most of their issues are currently addressed with a narrow focused economical implementation of VicinityBrew.
We ended our day with the incredible hospitality of First Last of Coranado Brewing at their brewery. It was great to end our day with such great friends talking about brewing and how we all can work together to make this industry great.
Rest assured VicinityBrew will be back at Brewbound in the next offering. We get more than we give at events like this and I guess that is the purpose. If VicinityBrew can help address your brewery management software challenges let us know.
Until then – Brewbound Winter 2013 Summit- cheers!
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