The first annual Alberta Craft Brewing Convention, held in Red Deer in March 2017, honestly caught us by surprise. We made the final decision to organize it in late December, opened registration only a month ahead of time, and hoped to get 150 people to join us. In the end, 400 people spent two days learning, networking and socializing, all in the name of growing the Alberta craft brewing sector.
Most rewarding? The fact that all elements of the value chain were in attendance. We welcomed barley and hop farmers, ingredient, equipment and packaging suppliers, service providers, breweries in planning, existing breweries (with staff from all aspects of the business), festivals, liquor stores, bars, restaurants and government agencies and regulators.
With a longer planning horizon, ACBC 2018 offers an additional day and a half of programming with focused workshops on tourism experience design and issues related to breweries in the startup phase, tours, speakers, tasting opportunities and the fist annual industry celebration: the Alberta Beer Awards to be held at the Plaza Theatre.
Stay tuned as we announce our final schedule, sponsors, speakers and session topics. And please reach out if you have ideas or topics you'd like us to cover.