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Annual Conference & Trade Show

January 11-13, 2017

Radisson Plaza, Kalamazoo

Registration for the Winter Conference is NOW OPEN!

About the Event:

The Annual Winter Conference takes place each year in January and offers brewery personnel a high quality educational experience that is both local and affordable. This event is a collaborative effort between the Michigan Brewers Guild and the Master Brewers Association of the Americas-District Michigan.

The conference includes presentations by experienced professionals from within Michigan as well as from across the national craft beer community. Presentations cover relevant topics focused on the technical aspects of beer production as well as beer sales and marketing. Additional highlights are a Sensory Evaluation Workshop and a Great Beer State dinner reception featuring extraordinary presentations of beer and food.

2017 Conference Location: 


Kalamazoo Radisson Plaza Hotel is offering a special rate for conference attendees. Discounted rate is variable based on room type. Guests must call the hotel directly to book a reservation (the discounted rate is not available through the Radisson's online reservation portal). Call (269) 343-3333 and ask to be connected to Reservations.

Trade Show:

Meet our supporters specializing in equipment, raw materials, supplies, and goods & services specific to the brewing industry. Many Allied Trade members offer special deals or discounts to Michigan Brewers Guild members.

Vendor registration for the trade show opens to our Allied Trade business partners in mid-November. More details will be emailed to Allied members shortly.

If you are a supplier or industry vendor and would like to participate in the Trade Show, you can do so by joining the Guild as an Allied Trade member. Contact for more information.

2017 Conference Schedule:

2017 Brews, Booze and Blues Bonanza 2017 Brews, Booze and Blues Bonanza (4460 KB)

2017 Winter Beer Conference Dinner Menu 2017 Winter Beer Conference Dinner Menu (1892 KB)

2017 Winter Beer Conference Program 2017 Winter Beer Conference Program (4268 KB)

Note: Schedule is subject to change

2016 Annual Report 

2016 Michigan Brewers Guild Annual Report 2016 Michigan Brewers Guild Annual Report (1834 KB)

Wednesday, Jan. 11

  • 9am:  Registration desk opens; guests can pick up badges on the Lobby level, by Arcadia Ballroom
  • 11am - 12:30pm:  Sensory Evaluation Workshop - Kevin Payne (Sensory Scientist, Bell's Brewery)
  • 12:30 - 2pm:  Lunch at large in Kalamazoo (vouchers will be provided for local breweries)
  • 2 - 3:15pm:  Conference Welcome & 1st Keynote Address - "The Future of Craft Depends on Quality", Dick Cantwell
  • 3:30 - 4:30pm:  Craft in the Context of a Changing Beverage Alcohol Industry - Bart Watson (Brewers Assoc., Chief Economist)
  • 4:30 - 6pm: Brewers Guild Annual Meeting & Election
  • 4:30 - 7:30pm: Trade Show open
  • 7 - 9pm: MBG Sustainability Committee Meeting @ HopCat, Kalamazoo for those interested
  • 7:30 - 10pm:  Dinner on own
  • 10pm - 1am:  Garryoke! MBG Board Member and BarFly Ventures Ringleader Garry Boyd will host Karaoke in Burdick's
  • Evening Social Time: Time to network over a beer, visit local breweries, have a card game, happy hours.

Thursday, Jan. 12

  • 6;30 - 10am:  Breakfast
  • 10 - 10:45am:  MBAA District Michigan meeting
  • 11am - 12pm:  "Beer Quality" - Alastair Pringle (Maryville Univ.)
  • 12 - 3pm:  Trade Show open
  • 1 - 1:45pm:  Lunch (in Trade Show)
  • 1:45 - 2:45pm:  (Session A) "What Should Keep You up at Night About Your Employees?! Or Make You Drink Another Beer?!" - Ellen Winterburn (VP of Human Resources, BarFly Ventures)
  • 1:45 - 2:45pm:  (Session B) "Overview of Brewery Education Programs in Michigan" - Tom Block (Schoolcraft College), Mike Babb (KVCC), Dr. Werner Absenger (GRCC), Cordell DeMattei (CMU) 
  • 3 - 4pm:  2nd Keynote Address - Jim Koch (Brewer & Founder, Boston Beer Co.)
  • 4:15 - 5:15pm:  (Session A) "Server Training for Brewpubs: How, When, and Why to Implement Your Training Program" - Ginger Johnson
  • 4:15 - 5:15pm:  (Session B) "As Draught Goes, Craft Goes" - Dick Cantwell
  • 5:30 - 6:30pm:  (Session A) "Rules & Regulations Related to Microbreweries" - Teri Quimby (MLCC Commissioner)
  • 5:30 - 6:30pm:  (Session B) "Michigan Hops & Malt: Developing the Quality Conversation", Part 1: Hops - Panel: Alec Mull, Founders Brewing Co.; Jason Salas, New Holland Brewing Co.; Derek Stepanski, Bell’s Brewery Inc., and Rob Sirrine, MSU-Extension; moderated by John Mallet of Bell’s Brewery Inc.
  • 6:30 - 7:30pm:  (Session A) "Do's & Don't's for Brewery Representatives" - Spencer Nevins (President, MI Beer & Wine Wholesalers Assoc.)
  • 6:30 - 7:30pm:  (Session B) "Michigan Hops & Malt: Developing Quality" Part 2: Barley & Malt - presentations from Christian Kapp, MSU-Extension; Ryan Hamilton, Michigan Barley Association; moderated by John Mallet of Bell’s Brewery Inc.
  • 7:30 - 10:30pm:  Great Beer State Dinner
  • 11pm - 1am:  Enjoy good company over a pint or two and groove with the Concussions @ Arcadia Ales

Friday, Jan. 13

  • 6:30 - 9:45am: Breakfast
  • 9:45 - 10:45am: "The Evolution of Brewery Strategy in an Era of Competition by Bart Watson (Chief Economist, Brewers Assoc.)
  • 11am - Noon: (Session A) "Beer & Sex: Marketing Beer to Women" - Ginger Johnson
  • 11am - Noon:  (Session B) "Wastewater & Why it is Relevant to You" - Panelists: Tyler Glaze (Short's Brewing Co.), Cody Green (Founders Brewing Co.), Steve Rochow (Kalamazoo Water Reclaimation); Moderated by Walker Modic (Bell's Brewery)
  • Noon - 1pm: Lunch
  • 1 - 2:30pm:  Government Relations Update - Panelists: Scott Breslin (Public Affairs Associates), Rep. Brandt Iden, Sen. Peter MacGregor, Sen. David Hildenbrand, Rep. Klint Kesto
  • 3pm - ?:  Beertails & Departure

Speaker Information


  • Dick Cantwell, Co-Founder of Elysian Brewing Co., Brewer, Writer
  • Jim Koch, Brewer & Founder, Samuel Adams


  • Werner Absenger PhD MSc, Program Director, Secchia Institute for Culinary Education - Grand Rapids Community College
  • Mike Babb, Sustainable Brewing Curriculum Developer and Instructor, Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • Tom Block, Director of Brewing & Distillation Technology, Schoolcraft College
  • Cordell DeMattei, Director of Fermentation Science, Central Michigan University
  • Tyler Glaze, Quality Manager, Short’s Brewing Company
  • Cody Green, Environment, Health & Safety Specialist, Founders Brewing Company
  • Ryan Hamilton, Michigan Barley Advocate
  • Ginger Johnson, Founder, Women Enjoying Beer LLC and Ginger Johnson Marketing
  • Christian Kapp, Research Assistant, Upper Peninsula Research & Extension Center - Michigan State University
  • John Mallett, Director of Operations, Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
  • Peter Manthei, Co-owner, Beards Brewery
  • Walker Modic, Sustainability Manager, Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
  • Alec Mull, Vice President of Brewing Operations, Founders Brewing Company
  • Spencer Nevins, President, Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association
  • Kevin D. Payne, Sensory Scientist, Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
  • Alastair Pringle, Maryville University
  • Teri L. Quimby, Commissioner, Michigan Liquor Control Commission
  • Steven M. Rochow, Senior Environmental Services Supervisor, City of Kalamazoo - Department of Public Services
  • Jason Salas, New Holland Brewing Company
  • Dr. Rob Sirrine, Señor Educator, Michigan State University
  • Derek Stepanski, Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
  • Bart Watson PhD, Chief Economist, Brewers Association
  • Ellen Winterbun, VP of Human Resources, BarFly Ventures


  • Scott Breslin, Public Affairs Associates
  • Senator Dave Hildenbrand, 29th District
  • Representative Brandt Iden, 61st House District
  • Representative Klint Kesto, 39th House District
  • Senator Peter MacGregor, 28th District
Our mailing address: Michigan Brewers Guild • 225 W Washtenaw, Suite C • Lansing, MI 48933

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