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CBC 2023 Had Plenty On Tap at Music City Center in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Craft beer is generally produced by independently owned breweries with a focus on community, innovative techniques and new flavors. In its early days it was a small market but today craft beers and the places that serve them have grown significantly in popularity. Proof is in this year's Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) that was held at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Something huge was brewing as the event was gigantic, filling up multiple ballrooms as well as the main concourse. The conference was officially held May 7-10, 2023 and it also included meet-ups in the evenings.

Over 10,000 brewers got down to business at Music City Center.

The Craft Brewers Conference is known to deliver concentrated, affordable brewing education and idea sharing to improve brewery quality and performance. Each day was packed with seminars on all important topics such as export, leadership, legal, operations, quality/ingredients, safety, sales, sustainability, taprooms and more. In addition to all the informative presentations there was BrewExpo America which is the premier trade show for craft brewers. It featured hundreds of vendors and over 10,000 brewery industry professionals. There were plenty of products and services to explore along with chances to interact with leaders in the national and international brewing arena.

Guitars and beer go perfect together in Music City.

We meet hops growers from England and Germany plus malt and yeast producers from the states with products to smell and touch. Fruit products such as puree were available to taste as these flavors have become prevalent in craft beers. Even chocolate and coconut have found their way into brews. Snacks such as pretzels were offered along with lots of beer samples from the various breweries who were in attendance.

There were hops galore on display in Nashville.

Marketing and merchandise are an important part of this industry. There were companies at CBC to supply cartons, displays, hats, t-shirts, signs, stickers and more. Customized glasses are an artistic and big part of branding. The glass displays were quite eye catching. Can labels also play an important role and quite a few companies were on hand to showcase their colorful and creative containers. In the early days of micro-brewing cans were looked down upon as beer freshly poured into a glass was preferred.

Lotus Beverage Alliance had a big footprint at this year's conference.

However, in recent years cans have become widely accepted especially as many brewers have nationwide distribution so lighter weight containers are less expensive to ship. Aluminum is also a little easier to recycle. Speaking of recycling sustainability was also addressed as was sanitation and water filtration. Some businesses specialized in drains - something else that brewers should give consideration to.

These cans were on a roll in Nashville.

The expansive BrewExpo ran the gamut from industrial sized equipment to local businesses. People were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and keen to talk about their products. We soon realized that there are a lot of other aspects to brewing besides beer and its ingredients. Analytical services, compliance risks, R&D tax planning, software and work place insurance are some of the other things that a brewer should be thinking about. All in one companies such as Lotus Beverage Alliance had a sizable space at the CBC. Their mission is to unite expert manufacturers and suppliers to empower craft beverage businesses. They are a resource for equipment, ingredients and parts plus they can assist with financing.

Musician Paul Cauthen - we'll drink to that!

Sponsored lounges were set-up throughout Music City Center (MCC) for folks to gather and sample various products, giving brewery professionals more time to share ideas. For those looking for some quiet there was an area for chair yoga sessions and/or meditation allowing attendees to recharge during this action-packed conference where from morning to late afternoon there were speakers from all the educational categories. The MCC is centrally located in downtown Nashville so there were plenty of places to meet after a full day of seminars.

It was hard to get a handle on everything CBC had to offer. But, we tried!

The 2023 Craft Brewers Conference focused heavily on business development, community, education, innovations and networking. Being in Nashville, there was a significant musical portion including an appearance by Charles Esten and a performance by Yonder Mountain String Band. The World Beer Cup 2023: Awards Ceremony was also a highlight. The 2024 edition is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada for a good part of the month of December, so brewers have plenty of time to prepare for this major industry event and pre-registration is already taking place. Cheers!

Cheers in multiple languages on this cool digital/analog sign board.

Related Links: For more information on CBC 2023 and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Craft Brewers Conference | Brewers Association | Music City Center


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