Craft brewers will gather in Grand Rapids, Mich., this fall to learn about water quality, water conservation, wastewater treatment and alternative energy systems, with presentations by industry experts and speakers donating their time and expertise. The sixth Great Lakes Water Conservation Conference will be held Oct. 21-23 at the Eberhard Center, Grand Valley State University Downtown Campus. Early registration (click this underlined text) through Aug. 8 is $175, then it increases to $195.
Panels and presentations begin on Wednesday of the conference, with a welcome address by Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, a city honored as “Beer City USA” and as a leader in water sustainability.
Conference speakers include: Marc Smith of the National Wildlife Federation with an update on the Great Lakes Compact; a panel with Kent County Water Conservation and Clean Water Action; Karl Ockert, technical director of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, discussing emergency preparedness and water quality; Chuck Skypeck of the Brewers Association discussing sustainability case histories; Walker Modic of Bell’s Brewery discussing wastewater treatment at Bell’s Brewery; Jason Spaulding of Brewery Vivant and Autumn Sands of BarFly Ventures discussing sustainable on-premise and kitchen operations; and an afternoon panel of case histories on waste to energy alternatives with breweries such as Goose Island, Sun King, and more. View samples of past presentations and speaker bios at conserve-greatlakes.com.
Tours for registered attendees are planned for Tuesday at Founders Brewing Co., and on Thursday a bus tour will be offered to Bell’s Brewery in Galesburg and HopHead Farms in Hickory Corners. The bus tour is limited to 45 attendees, at an additional cost of $20 per person, thanks to donations by Bell’s Brewery. Conference sponsors include Briggs of Burton Inc., The Antea Group, Williams Creek Consulting, with in-kind donations from S. S. Steiner Inc. and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
“Why participate?” asked Lucy Saunders, conference organizer. “Water policy in the Great Lakes region — the source of 20 percent of the world’s supply of available freshwater — is changing rapidly. The Great Lakes Compact requires all water-intensive businesses within the watershed to implement water conservation practices. This conference offers case histories and practical solutions for water and energy efficiency.”