The Hillebrand team attended the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) and Brew Expo for what turned out to be yet another successful year! (The thirteenth successful year to be exact.) This year’s conference, held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., was particularly exciting as Hillebrand announced its brand new look. This included new logos, a new interactive website, and a new trade show booth that did not go unnoticed.
The jet-lag has officially worn off, and as the team begins to settle into their post-CBC hustle, we wanted to put together a recap of the top five trends and takeaways observed at this year’s conference.
International Brewers Represented!
The international craft brewing scene was well represented in 2017 when compared to previous years. We noticed an increased number of brewers from Australia, South America, Asia, and Europe. It’s great to see that they consider the Craft Brewers Conference as a valuable resource for their business.
The Makeup of Conference Attendees Shifted Noticeably.
The makeup of attendees was much different than previous years. Distributors represented a lower percentage of attendees this year, as did large craft brewers. Smaller, midsize, and regional size brewers seemed to make up the majority of expo attendees. With an increased number of events and seminars taking place, it may be that the more established stakeholders in the craft industry opted to skip the tradeshow floor in lieu of soaking up the industry trends and knowledge offered in the breakout sessions.
With the craft industry constantly growing, it was no surprise that owners of new and “in planning” breweries had strong representation.
Brewers Want Technology!
This year, brewers seemed far more interested in how technology can help their business (especially the smaller brewers). Everyone wants a solution that will make their brewery easier to run. With the widespread availability of affordable technologies, it’s not just “for the big guys” anymore. Going a step further, brewers weren’t just interested in the technology itself, but the integration of new technologies with ones they are currently using. This will be something to keep in mind as the brew tech industry continues to evolve.
Brewers Understand the Need for Keg Tracking
The Hillebrand team noticed a definite increase in attendees who were familiar with the concept of keg tracking (especially in contrast to two years ago). This familiarity made it much easier to explain the features that KegID offers, and how KegID and Hillebrand are revolutionizing keg tracking (instead of having to first explain why keg tracking is important).
Leveraging Giveaways is Key
When you are walking around a trade show, most of the time you gauge how much you’d want a piece of swag from an exhibitor vs. how much you’d be willing to talk to them. The swag you usually end up with are the pieces you can sneak off with – quickly and without being noticed. As snacks are typically scarce at tradeshows, the Hillebrand peanut dispenser was a huge hit, even though the dispenser required a few more seconds of fidgeting than your standard grab-and-go items. These few more seconds, however, allowed the Hillebrand team more time to engage and start some great conversations with attendees!
See You at the Next Conference!
Though the trade show season isn’t over yet, the passing of another successful Craft Brewers Conference is a great relief! Hillebrand is already anticipating next year’s event in Nashville, Tennessee! We hope to see you there, but if you have questions about keg tracking or any of our other solutions, don’t wait! Ask us today.