The Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) has selected Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront as the location of its 2015 annual meeting, which will be Oct. 7-10, 2015. More than 500 members of the association are expected to attend the convention, booking more than 1,000 room nights at the Hyatt.
The MBAA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the brewing, fermentation and allied industries and has more than 3,000 members in 55 countries around the world. MBAA places an emphasis on the exchange of technical information and providing world-class education for the brewing industry. This is the first time the MBAA will hold an event in Jacksonville. Cities that have hosted previous MBAA conventions include Chicago, Austin, Minneapolis and Nashville.
Tressa Patrias, senior meeting manager for the MBAA, said the organization’s decision to select Jacksonville was based on the strength of the local brewing community and the city itself.
“The Southeast region is witnessing a lot of activity in the local brewing community and Jacksonville is a perfect city to host a brewing meeting of this scale,” Patrias said. “We are looking forward to providing valuable educational and professional development opportunities for brewers and allied industries during our 2015 conference.”
Craft beer is becoming big business in Jacksonville, where master brewers are now generating an estimated 15,000 barrels of beer each year, according to Visit Jacksonville.
“Jacksonville is home to some of the best craft breweries in the state of Florida, and we see that as a big draw for both leisure and business travelers from all over the world,” said Katie Mitura, director of marketing and product development for Visit Jacksonville.
This fall, the organization is partnering with the local craft brewing industry to create the “Jax Ale Trail,” a self-guided tour of Jacksonville’s breweries that will help promote the thriving industry to potential visitors that might not have considered Jacksonville previously, including groups like the MBAA.
One local brewer is Luch Scremin, owner and brewmaster at the Engine 15 Brewing Co., who was instrumental in attracting the MBAA 2015 Convention to Jacksonville.
“I just thought it would be a great way to showcase the city,” Scremin said. “We have all of these home-grown craft breweries here now and since MBAA is more about the chemistry and science of brewing, all of us in the business can glean a lot of useful information that we can take back to our own processes.”
Scremin reached out directly to the MBAA to educate them about the diversity of the brewing industry in Jacksonville and the need for continued professional development for local brewers.
“We brewers in the Southeastern region just simply don’t have the depth of knowledge resource that much of the ‘old guard’ parts of the country enjoy and we crave that resource in order to further our abilities and perfect our craft. If the MBAA were to come to Jacksonville, I really think it would reverberate throughout the region and truly make an impact on the industry here,” Scremin said in his appeal to the MBAA.
Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront and Visit Jacksonville supported Scremin’s efforts by selling Jacksonville as a destination to the MBAA.