With more than 390 breweries, Colorado ranks fourth in the nation and is considered a trendsetting region. From April 8-11, 2019, the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America gathered 14,000 attendees from all 50 states at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver to offer insights and a celebration of the craft beer community. More than 7,000 small and independent craft brewers were represented, meaning the conference is a must for both emerging and established community members.
Topics covered by event speakers ranged from opportunities for industry growth and shifting consumer preferences to resources for technical excellence in brewing. Themed activity areas were another highlight including a spin on the traditional Oktoberfest in a mountain-chic lodge, a campground area featuring a Colorado outdoor adventure, and Burning Man Music Festival. Each area featured food, live music and beer, of course.
Other fare options consisted of a variety of box lunches, grab-and-go breakfast items and local food trucks.
Another attendee favorite is the annual community-created brew that serves as the official symposium beer. This year’s 2019 Symposium Ale, a red brut IPA, was a collaboration between several local brewers and was brewed and canned at Sleeping Giant Brewing Company in Denver. “Brut IPA is a new and exciting style, and our Conference Beer Committee thought it would be a great fit and a chance to experiment,” says Steve Kurowski, who until recently was marketing director for Colorado Brewers Guild.
Through the Colorado Brewers Guild, brewery bus tours were available the day before the conference began. This year, 11 all-day brewery tours explored regions of the Denver Front Range and Summit County.
VISIT DENVER estimates that the Craft Brewers Conference, organized by the Boulder-based Brewers Association, generated more than $35 million in direct spending in The Mile High City.