When the New England Craft Brew Summit launched in 2015, the industry was on the cusp of hyper growth, yet was still seen by many as a cottage industry. Five years later, craft beer is one of the top economic drivers in Maine, and the Maine Brewers’ Guild stands as a model for other trade associations. In just five years, the number of active, licensed breweries in Maine has nearly doubled from 82 to 153.
The Maine Brewers’ Guild will host its fifth consecutive New England Craft Brew Summit on February 28 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, Maine. This year’s summit will focus on sustainable growth and challenge craft brewers to think about where their businesses will be in five, 10 and 20 years as the industry continues to evolve.
“We’re proud of the success of Maine’s beer industry since 2015, but this is a marathon and not a sprint,” said Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild. “Our brewers all around the state are committed to building businesses that will last, while also reinvigorating downtowns, rural communities and our urban centers. Brewers around the country see Maine as a model of this success, and we’re proud to host them for our annual conference.”
Allagash Brewing Co. Founder and James Beard award winner Rob Tod will open the summit with a keynote talk on building a brewery to withstand industry ups and downs. Since its founding in 1995, Allagash has grown from a one-man operation into a newly certified B Corp with more than 140 employees.
Panels and discussions
Presented by GHM Insurance, the New England Craft Brew Summit will feature a range of presentations and panel discussions, including:
- “Growing Pains: Building and Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce,”
- “Sustainability in Small Breweries,” and
- “A Dry Hopping Roundtable,”
The latter of which will allow brewers to share tips and tricks for brewing world-class New England IPAs.
Registration for the 2020 New England Craft Brew Summit is open now, and tickets may be purchased at www.nebrewsummit.com/register/.
Don’t forget the Winter Session the next day
The day after brewers convene to explore business and technical brewing topics, they will join together again to share their beers with craft beer fans. The Maine Brewers’ Guild will host its annual Winter Session Beer Festival inside Brick South at Thompson’s Point in Portland on Saturday, February 29 — the first time the two events will be held back-to-back.
The festival will showcase more than 100 Maine beers, along with guest brewers from out-of-state whose beers are not normally offered in Maine.