Florida Brewers Conference 2018


The Florida Brewers Conference will provide brewery personnel and industry trades with a high quality educational experience, plus an opportunity to network and share delicious Florida craft beers during the two-day trade show.



Lew Bryson has been writing about beer and spirits full-time since 1995. He was the managing editor of Whisky Advocate from 1996 through 2015, where he also wrote the American Spirits column, and reviewed whiskeys. He is currently a Senior Drinks Writer for the Daily Beast, and a columnist for All About Beer and the new American Whiskey.

Bryson is the author of Tasting Whiskey (Storey Publishing, 2014), a broad survey of the whiskeys of the world, their history and manufacture. He has also written four regional brewery guidebooks from Stackpole Books: Pennsylvania Breweries (4 editions); New York Breweries;Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Breweries; and New Jersey Breweries (with Mark Haynie).

He was selected as the 2008 winner of the Michael Jackson Beer Journalism Award (Trade and Specialty Beer Media). He has served as a judge for both the American Craft Spirits Association and the Great American Beer Festival. 
Lew Bryson lives north of Philadelphia with his wife and two Welsh Corgis. 


This year, the Florida Brewers Guild is offering a sensory course as an additional component to our conference. We will cover a multitude of aromas found in beer, not just limited to off-flavors! Covering twenty (possibly more) flavors, split between commonly encountered off-flavors and positive attributes. We will look at each aroma's origins in beer, and then wrap up the course with practical application of the information we have covered (how to troubleshoot, setting up a panel at a brewery, general considerations for conducting/maintaining a panel). This course requires additional registration.

The training will be held from 9am until 4pm on Monday, August 6th.

This course will be taught by Sam Swartz, Senior Lab Tech at Coppertail Brewing in Tampa, and Jennifer Sedillo, director of the USFSP Brewing Arts program.

Ticket Pricing:
Member: $185 + service fees
Non-Members: $285 + service fees
Sensory Training Course: SOLD OUT!!

The 2018 conference will be held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. Located directly across the street from SeaWorld, and close by to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Discovery Cove, this resort hotel in Orlando will be our home for the conference, as well as providing a great place for those who want to bring their families along for a vacation. 

Hops in Hand.jpg

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsoring or advertising at the Florida Brewers Conference will provide your company with an increased level of exposure in front of brewery owners, managers, brewers and other industry leaders. Opportunities at all levels are available.


Download the sponsorship form here. (NOTE: Sponsorship availability subject to change. Please contact the organizer if you have any questions).



Hotel Accommodations

Rooms at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld are available at a special conference rate, starting at $139 per night.

Book your room now!

Conference attendees who are Marriott Rewards members can earn double their points (up to 100,000)

The Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld is pleased to provide an optional Resort Fee at the rate of $25 plus tax per day to include Enhanced Wireless In-room Internet, Local and Domestic Long Distance Calls, Breakfast for Children under 12 (2 kids per 1 adult purchase, Tradewinds only), 10% Discount on dinner in Tradewinds (alcohol not included), 10% Spa discount on any treatment (does not include retail items and may not be combined with any other discounts),  Transportation to Disney World, Universal Studios and the Orlando Premium Outlets (reservations need to be made the day prior at the Navigator desk before 9pm)

Self-Parking at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld will be discounted for conference attendees.



Monday, August 6th

9:00am-4:00pm - Sensory Training
3:30pm-5:30pm - Gas South Hospitality Suite
4:00pm-6:00pm - Registration/Check In
6:00pm-8:00pm - Atrium Welcome Reception

Tuesday, August 7th

7:30am-9:15am - Coffee, Breakfast, Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar
9:00am-10:00am - Welcome and Keynote with Lew Bryson
10:00am-4:30pm - Trade Show open

10am-11am - Session A
Track 1: The Bear in the Room: A Discussion of Mental Health in the Brewing Industry - Devon Kreps (7venth Sun Brewery); Brain Quain (What Ales Ya); Cindy Parsons (Associate Professor in Nursing at the University of Tampa and Mental Health Practitioner); Leanne Cura (President of Center for Rational Living); Moderator: Jacqueline Garman (Hidden Springs Ale Works and Licensed Clinical Social Worker).
Recent suicides in other industries and Shaun Hill's article in The Morning Advertiser has brought about debate regarding mental health in the brewing industry. Join our panel as they discuss the current state of mental health in the brewing industry. Be a part of the panel discussion and send your questions in live via Slido.com. Participate code: #8483

Track 2: Craft Breweries are Brewing Initiatives to Reduce Their Carbon Footprint - Hortencia Barton & Felix Largaespada (Kilfrost)
Come join this breakout session to see what other breweries are doing and share ideas to help our industry and the environment.

Track 3: Practical Troubleshooting, Repair, and Maintenance of Beer Kegs - Steve Bradt (Micro Matic)
Steve Bradt combines nearly 30 years of hands-on experience in craft breweries with a deep knowledge of draft packaging to provide some valuable lessons on safety, quality and maintenance of beer kegs. Expect to learn how kegs work, how they fail, and how to spot problems before your customers do.

Track 4: EXIM Bank & The U.S. Commercial Service: How to Export Competitively, Using U.S. Government Tools - Jennifer Simpson (EXIM bank)
U.S. Government resources for finding international customers, investigating them, and ultimately protecting your invoicing against non-payment.

11:30-12:30 - Session B
Track 1: The Bear in the Room: A Discussion of Mental Health in the Brewing Industry (continued)

Track 2: Flaked Grain, Adjuncts, and Hazy IPAs - Matt Letki (Canada Malting)
In this presentation, we will explore the differences between malted and unmalted grain, plus take a look at the various flaked grains that are available to brewers. We will also dive into the impact of these grains on the production of Hazy IPAs.

Track 3: Physical Asset Management in the Brewing Industry: The Critical Role of an Effective Maintenance Program - JC Leverette (Andromeda Systems)
This presentation will describe the role and importance of maintenance in any business that uses non-disposable physical assets to perform a service or obtain, make, modify, store, transport, distribute, handle, package, sell, or dispose of a product. 

Track 4: CRM for the Modern Brewery - Eric Rabinovitz, Lilypad
A hearty discussion on the CRM landscape, when to think about implementing a new system, big brother and engagement challenges, using CRM data to drive behavior, and how depletion data is gathered and used in a CRM.

2:30-3:30 - Session C
Track 1: Florida Hops & Grains: Shifting Paradigms - Richard Smith (Florida Hops, LLC) and Dr. Charles Barrett (University of Florida)
Florida grown hops and grain have the potential to develop a competitive edge for Florida breweries in local, state, and national markets by creating a new signature beer style based on ingredients that deliver unique and irreplicable characteristics. Come to learn how Florida Hops, LLC got started, where industry research is headed, and how to met the demand of your clientele for fresh Florida grown ingredients.

Track 2: Effectively Talking About Beer - John Holl (Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine)
There is a rich tapestry of language that is available to brewers, words that will excite and entice customers. This presentation will dive into the words and descriptions that brewers can use to not only make press releases pop, but also how they can communicate their beer online, directly to their customers, in tap rooms, and beyond.

Track 3: Pulling Back the Curtain on Music Licensing - Dan Spears (BMI) & Clint Daniels (singer/songwriter)
This seminar will pull the curtain back on music licensing and help you understand the legalities of using music in your brewery.  We will provide an in-depth look at the Copyright Law and when a brewpub or taproom needs a public performance license. In addition, the session will focus on how licensing fees are determined & where the money goes and will feature a performance by hit country songwriter Clint Daniels. Don't miss this opportunity to gain a greater understanding of music licensing and how it impacts your business.

Track 4: Top Mistakes Craft Brewery Startups Make and How to Avoid Them - Audra Gaiziunas (Brewed for Her Ledger)
After working with over 160 breweries over the past six years, Audra will walk through some of the biggest mistakes both startups and existing breweries have made and offer guidance in how to avoid those pitfalls. This talk focuses on strategic finance and operations, covering such topics as the cash gap and systems design.

3:30pm-5:30pm - BMI Hospitality Suite
3:30pm-5:30pm - Commercial Products Hospitality Suite

6:00pm-10:00pm - Special Event at Crooked Can Brewing

Wednesday, August 8th

7:30am-9:15am - Coffee, Breakfast, Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar
9:00am-10:00am - Welcome and Keynote with Lew Bryson
10:00am-4:30pm - Trade Show open

10am-11am - Session D
Track 1: Discussion with Florida’s Alcohol Beverage Regulators - Thomas Philpot (Director ABT); Jonathan Zachem (Secretary DBPR); Jason Maine (General Counsel, DBPR); Moderator: Josh Aubuchon (Holland & Knight, FBG Lobbyist and Legal Counsel)
Hear directly from representatives of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation and Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.

Track 2: Quality: A Complete Picture - Neil Witte (Brewers Association Quality Ambassador)
An examination of what quality means to today's brewer, the brewery and the industry as a whole. Quality programs are explored through the lens of the vast array of resources available from the Brewers Association, while at the same time encouraging Brewers to expand their understanding of what constitutes a quality program.

Track 3: Doing Good in Your Community While Doing Good For Business - Christine Denny (First Magnitude Brewing)
A look at First Magnitude Brewing’s successful model of helping others while also maintaining the bottom line and increasing brand awareness and tap room sales.

Track 4: 4 Secrets of High Performing Brewers - Chris Farmand (Small Batch Standard)
What do high performing breweries know and execute, on a daily basis, that help them remain wildly profitable? In this live session, discover the 4 secrets that high performing breweries understand and execute every day.

11:30-12:30 - Session E
Track 1: Quality in Practice: A Discussion on How Using QA/QC Improves Your Brewery - Desiree Chubb (3 Daughters Brewing); Sam Swartz (Coppertail Brewing); Bob Haa (Motorworks Brewing); Arthur Rudolph (First Magnitude Brewing)

Track 2: Diversity & Inclusion: Harnessing What We Won’t Want/Bridging What We Want - Ian Williamson (Hidden Springs Brewing); Christine Merandino (LauderAle); Sarah Nich (Wops Hops); Huston Lett (Bastet Brewing); Moderator: Victor Taylor (Craft Beer Cellar)
This panel will celebrate what makes our craft beer industry unique, while looking at ways to improve opportunity in our community.

Track 3: Tax Considerations and Updates - Marsha LaPete & Thomas Yates (Principals at Mosley LaPete, LLC)
This session will discuss recent federal tax updates that impact the brewing industry including tax rate changes on corporate structure choices, R&D and manufacturing credits, and real/personal property asset purchase and repair treatment along with other interesting things.

Track 4: Ask Me Anything - Josh Aubuchon (Holland & Knight, FBG Lobbyist and Legal Counsel)
Join Guild legal counsel and lobbyist Josh Aubuchon for a live Ask Me Anything. bring your questions for this open discussion about the current state of brewing in our state.

2:30-3:30 - Session F
Track 1: A Fireside Chat on Distributor Issues - Doug Cone (Done Distributing); Justin Clark (Cigar City Brewing); Moderator: Josh Aubuchon (Holland & Knight, FBG Lobbyist and Legal Counsel)
Join the discussion on the latest issues in distribution, the market, and the craft beer industry in Florida.

Track 2: The Fun Stuff: The Importance of Practical Maintenance, Cleanliness, and Safety in the Brewery - Ryan LaPete (Deep Brewing); Alan Dritenbas (Walking Tree Brewery); John Rankin (Tampa bay Brewing Company); Moderator: Travis Kruger (Crooked Can Brewery)

Track 3: Yeast Wrangling and Barrel Aging - Khris Johnson (Green Bench Brewing); Sean Sasscer (Cigar City Brewing); Mike Delancett and Matt Gemmell (Hourglass Brewing)

Track 4: Inspiring Brand Loyalty - Jenni Mastal Adams
This session is about the different types of consumer and employee motivation and the factors that affect them.  The main focus is on the human factor: building relationships to ensure brand loyalty.

3:30pm-5:30pm - Allstate Hospitality Suite

6:00pm-7:00pm - Craft Beer Frontier Days in Florida: From Home Brewer to Professional Brewer, A Perspective - Michael N. Bryant (Dunedin Brewery)
Come join our closing session with Dunedin Brewery founder Michael N. Bryant, pioneer and one of the godfathers to Florida beer culture and industry.


Thank you to our sponsors! We could not do this without you!