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Annual Winter Conference & Trade Show

2019 Winter Conference & Trade Show

Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center & Wings Event Center, Kalamazoo

Jan. 9-11, 2019

About the Event:

Michigan Brewers Guild, in collaboration with the Master Brewers Association of the Americas-District Michigan, held its annual Winter Conference on January 9-11, 2019 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center.

Pricing Details:

Early bird pricing - available through end-of-day Friday, Dec. 28:

  • Member Breweries, Allied Trade Members, & Enthusiasts: $275
  • Non-Members: $325
  • Trade Show only: $100
  • Additionally, active Member Breweries in good standing (i.e. up to date on annual dues payment) are eligible to receive one FREE Conference Registration, subject to the following requirements:
    • Brewery employees utilizing this registration type are expected to attend the full conference and trade show. Registration without attendance will result in billing for the full Member Registration price.
    • Registration must be completed by end-of-day Friday, Dec. 28.
    • All complimentary registrations are subject to review and approval by MBG staff.

Late registration pricing begins Saturday, Dec. 29:

  • Member Breweries, Allied Trade Members, & Enthusiasts: $325
  • Non-Members: $375
  • Trade Show only: $125
Group discount of 10% applies to any full-conference registration groups of 5 or more. Simply enter the discount code "group19" to receive 10% off. All discount codes subject to verification by MBG staff. Group discount not valid on "Trade Show only" type registration.

Conference Schedule:

View the official 2019 Winter Conference brochure, including speaker bios, here: 

2019 Winter Conference brochure 2019 Winter Conference brochure (1383 KB)

Wednesday, January 9

  • 10:00am: Check-in for Sensory Workshop only, @Radisson Plaza Hotel, outside Arcadia Ballroom (Conference Registration at Trade Show)
  • 11-12:30pm: Sensory Evaluation Workshop – presented by Jason Vrosh (Sensory Technician, Founders Brewing Co.) and Kevin Payne (Sensory Scientist, Bell's Brewery, Inc.).
    • Part 1: "More than just Smelling Hops" - Hops were once used only for their anti-microbial properties, but now are used readily to provide levels of complex flavors to new and exciting beers. In order to achieve those flavors time after time, it is vitally important that the most ideal and quality hops are used. In this presentation, we will discuss best practices, how to define quality of hops, and then get into the nitty gritty of various sensory methods for evaluating hops. 
    • Part 2: "Water & Malt" - Ensuring the quality of raw materials is paramount to producing quality products. Water and malt samples go through Sensory on a daily basis. We will be discussing and evaluating four types of water and six malt types. 
  • 12:00pm-4:00pm: Conference registration open at Wings Event Center (3600 Vanrick Dr.; continuous shuttle loop from Radisson)
  • 12:30-6:30pm: Transportation loop to Trade Show & Opening Reception
  • 1:00-6:00pm: Allied Member Trade Show at Wings Event Center
    • Transportation loop to and from Radisson
    • Food and Michigan beer included
    • Allied Member Trade Show is Wednesday only
    • Attendance required for free MBG member registrations
  • 7:00-10:00pm: Dinner on own
  • 10:00pm-1:00am Garryoke in Burdick’s
  • Evening Social Time: Time to network over a beer, visit local breweries, have a card game, happy hours

Thursday, January 10

  • 6:30-10am: Breakfast
  • 9:00-10:30am: MI Brewers Guild Annual Meeting & Election
  • 11:00am-Noon: Keynote Address: Seth Bernard, Eathwork Music Collective and Clean Water for Michigan.
  • Noon- 1pm: Lunch
  • 1:15-2:15pm:
    • Session A: How a Beer Comes to Life; presented by Jason Perkins, Brewmaster, Allagash Brewing Co.Brewmaster will provide an overview of the new beer development process works at Allagash Brewing Company, from idea to full scale production. Allagash seeks to harness the creativity of the entire company to create new and interesting beers. 
    • Session B: “Your Service Sucks!” - That Guy On Yelp; presented by Tim Brady, Beer Server Training Manual Instructor, Brewers Association. The key to success is great service; great service comes from great staff; and great staff comes from great training. In this presentation, we will talk about the most important aspect of good service.
  • 2:30-3:30pm:
    • Session A: Fermentation - Best Practices; presented by Travis Audet, AB-I Zone Technical Expert, Anheuser-Busch. Fermentation is so simple it happens spontaneously. Unfortunately, for acceptable sensory results and reproducible final character the process for a great fermentation is infinitely complex! This presentation will review best practices to achieve a healthy fermentation to ensure healthy and happy yeast that will lead to happy customers.
    • Session B: Beer Branding Trends; presented by Jason C. Roberson, Independent Artist & Designer,; Learn how to make your brand stand out in the ever-crowded beer space, while offering your brewers the creative flexibility to easily introduce new beers. Changing in packaging trends have opened-up new opportunities to experiment with new beers and brands. We’ll review and discuss examples of how brewers can experiment with new brands and still stay true to their branding in a cost effective way.
  • 3:45-4:45 pm:
    • Session A: Yeast 101: Best practices for yeast propagation, and troubleshooting yeast microbiological contamination; presented by Wade Begrow, Microbiologist, Founders Brewing Company. Humans and yeast have been intertwined for thousands of years, and our relationship with yeast continues to evolve. Without yeast, the brewing industry would not exist, and society today would be dull (and sober). Attendees will learn the fundamentals of brewing yeast including history, taxonomy, and biotechnology basics. Best practices for yeast handling and propagation for breweries of all sizes will be described, and methods to troubleshoot troublesome yeast will be covered.  
    • Session B: Timely Topics at the Michigan Liquor Control Commission; presented by David Marvin, State Administrative Manager, Michigan Liquor Control Commission, and Scott Newman-Bale, Vice President, Short's Brewing Co. / President of the Board, Michigan Brewers Guild. David and Scott will discuss several areas within Michigan Liquor Control Code & Rules that are timely and relevant to breweries in Michigan.
  • 5:00-6:00pm:
    • Session A: Early Days of Craft Brewing; presented by Steve Dresler, Retired Brewmaster, BREWMASTEREX Consulting. Craft Brewing in the '80s and the start of a craft brewing career. 
    • Session B: 3 Tier Management of Portfolio Complexity; presented by Bob Sullivan, Sullivan Sales & Marketing Solutions. In the current dynamics of the beer industry, one of the most significant challenges for distributors, brewers, and retailers is managing the complexity and diversity of our portfolios. As the SKU count has grown significantly, the need to effectively pre-plan, execute, and post-evaluate brand building activities in the marketplace has become increasingly more critical to the growth of the malt beverage category. The first step is to better understand and establish alignment between wholesalers and brewers to what brand building encompasses. Brand Building simply might be defined as the activities by which a distributor engages in concert with a brewer partner, that effectively advances the development of a brewers’ brand in the marketplace.
  • 7pm-10pm: Great Beer State dinner & reception (download menu here).
  • 10:00pm-1:00am: Visit breweries on own, or enjoy networking in Hospitality Room at the Radisson.

Friday, January 11

  • 6:30-10:00am: Breakfast
  • 9am: Bloody Mary bar
  • 9:00-9:45am: MBAA District Michigan Meeting
  • 10:00-11:00am: General Session – Exploring the Roots of the Michigan Brewers Guild; presented by Fred Bueltmann - Advocate, Trail Guide, Storyteller - This Craft Nation & Red Horse Leadership. The history of the Michigan Brewers Guild includes compelling and remarkable stories of entrepreneurial community building. How and why the Michigan Brewers Guild come to be and what lessons can we draw that will help us in today's marketplace? 
  • 11:00am-12:00pm:
    • Session A: Musings on a Malt COA; presented by Mary-Jane Maurice, Director of Technical Services, Malteurop North America. A malt COA conveys a lot of information about what will happen in the brewing process. It is important that brewers understand the information presented and its significance. Gain an understanding of your malt COA, as well as the role of process and crop year impacts on malt performance.
    • Session B: MBG Member Resources & Information Useful to Your Business; presented by Chas Thompson, Vice-President & Beer Engineer, Schmohz Brewing Co. / Secretary of the Board, Michigan Brewers Guild. The Michigan Brewers Guild has developed a number of documents and links to information that are useful references for Michigan breweries. We plan to continue to add to the list of resources as we identify areas that would be helpful to members. Please join Chas as he reviews these resources.
  • 12:15-1:00pm: Lunch
  • 1:15-3:00pm:
    • Session A: Dry-Hopping to Achieve Intense Hop Aromas... and Some Unintended Consequences; presented by Dr. Tom Shellhammer, Nor'Wester Professor of Food Science & Technology at Oregon State University.Although dry-hopping appears rather simple and straightforward at first glance, there are hidden challenges such as achieving consistent hoppiness and minimizing losses. This presentation explores a range of quality issues associated with dry-hopping. 
    • Session B: Government Affairs Update Discussion - Pete Johnson from the Brewers Association will present an update from a national perspective followed by a Michigan update from Scott Breslin of Public Affairs Associates. The second part of the session will be a members-only discussion about issues important to you. We invite our brewery members to share thoughts, ideas and concerns relating to the Guild's priorities regarding policy issues in a closed environment.
  • 3:00pm: Beertails & departure

Allied Member Trade Show:

The Allied Trade Show: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 (1-6pm) at the Wings Event Center on Sprinkle Road in Kalamazoo.
Trade Show registration at each of our Annual Winter Conference & Trade Shows is open only to current Allied Members. If you are not yet an Allied Member and are interested in joining and participating in the Trade Show next year, please visit or email

Thank you!


Our mailing address: Michigan Brewers Guild • 225 W Washtenaw, Suite C • Lansing, MI 48933

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