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Like a kid in a candy store

The sights, the smells, eyes bright with wonder – a hall full of pretty new things and exciting flavors. For brewers and others in the beer industry, this year’s Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America (CBC for short) was once again a combination of Christmas in April and a trip to the candy store. For North American craft brewers especially, the annual conference and trade show has become a must-go event and the industry networking session of the year. Where else can you find more than 13,000 like-minded individuals all in one place?

As in years past, the sheer variety of offerings was the event’s biggest draw. At the conference itself, experts shared their knowledge and held workshops for brewers and those starting up a brewery. Meanwhile, the concurrent BrewExpo has grown into a trade show of considerable size, with a wide variety of exhibitors presenting their solutions for the brewing industry. These included everything from label designers to work wear manufacturers to glass producers. This year, I also noticed business consultants and financial institutions for the first time. The industry really is growing up. Of course, the magic of brewing was the main focus. As confirmed by the many visitors who stopped by to take a look, the Krones booth offered a real process technology highlight with its MicroCube for ten hectolitre batches. Krones’ 325 m2 booth also featured a member of the company’s product range that has gained considerable traction in recent years: the Craftmate can filler, which reliably fills cans at rates starting as low as 12,000 cans per hour. With these and other exhibits, Krones was able to show the largely North American audience which of its solutions are also of interest for smaller breweries.

 

The CBC once again offered everything a brewer’s heart desires. It’s no wonder, then, that more than one brewer moved through the halls with eyes shining bright and feeling like a kid in a candy store. The same was true outside the trade fair grounds. Washington DC played its role as host exceptionally well and provided an excellent array of side events. It seemed that every bar had added more specialties to its usual beer menu for the occasion, the breweries of DC opened their doors to visitors, and the weather provided a summer-like atmosphere for the entire week.

The CBC has long since outgrown its former “niche” status and the bar has been set pretty high for next year’s event. After Philadelphia and Washington DC, the CBC now moves a bit to the south and to the west for 2018. We’ll see you in Nashville from 30 April to 3 May!

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