An investment in knowledge usually pays the best interest. There’s certainly a growing knowledge gap in the craft brewing industry, which is full of entrepreneurs and self-starters who aren’t necessarily experts in business, distribution or technology. The Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS) is here to help. This new event, to be held June 30 and July 1, was created to address the unique information technology and services needs of the beer industry, dedicated to bringing the world’s leading breweries, distributors and retailers together with the leading technology experts to foster learning and discussion.
“While there are many beer industry events such as NBWA and GABF, there has never been a forum focused on the technology needs of craft brew operators. BITS will fill that void,” explained J. Smoke Wallin, BITS chairman and founder, in a press release. “After owning a rapidly-growing craft brewery from 2010-2013, and then working with a number of others to help build their beer businesses, I spent a lot of time networking with other breweries and observed their efforts to manage growth and establish systems that are vital to run an efficient and effective business.”
The first BITS will be held in Napa, California in conjunction with the Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) June 30 and July 1 at the Napa Valley Marriott. Expert panels and keynotes will discuss leading edge case studies involving consumer direct marketing and sales, operations, financial management, trade sales and distribution, brewing and input management
A good example is SteadyServ Technologies, which has built technology to help bars and restaurants, distributors and craft brewers — even patrons — keep track of the beer remaining in a keg and more effectively manage their beer inventories.
SteadyServ’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Steve Hershberger explained in the press release: “Given the massive changes occurring in the beer industry, BITS is the right gathering at the right time. Getting the craft beer industry together, to discuss technology solutions and the strategies needed to ensure continued growth and success, is difficult due to both the high number of beer producers and the vast geographic differences in their physical locations. BITS will provide an important venue for the industry’s thought leaders to collaborate for the greater good of the industry. SteadyServ will be there in full force.”
The growth and importance of craft beer is widely documented. Over the next five years, the growth in craft beer volume is expected to be greater than over the past 25 years combined. Given this explosion in consumer demand, and the number of new operations that have been formed, there is a specific need to understand best practices and strategies within the industry. Many new brewery owners are attempting to reinvent the wheel in terms of processes and systems to run their businesses. BITS aims to be the industry-wide resource to help educate beer industry members and unite them with best-of-class technology providers.
Expected attendees include craft breweries, distributors, retailers and on-premise and technology providers. There will be content for everyone from the owner, GM and president to the information technology manager, CFO or brewers. Building on the successful model of WITS, with cross-functional workshops and keynote speakers, BITS will draw from industry leaders to present tangible take-home value as a result of a focused gathering. The agenda includes sessions on: Technology Leadership — Best-of-Class Tools; Consumer Direct Sales — Managing the Tap Room and Online Presence; Trade Sales and Marketing — Craft Beer Route to Market, Gaining & Managing Distribution; Brewery Operations — Hops to Kettle to Keg or Can.
Interested sponsors and speakers can contact Waunice Orchid (trades how coordinator) at [email protected] or (707) 261-8716. Registration will open March 1. Space is limited and BITS is “expected” to sell out, so we say register early.