The Conference is now SOLD OUT!
The MN Brewers Conference is hosted by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild in partnership with Master Brewers (MBAA) District St. Paul-Minneapolis. The conference includes educational sessions, group discussions, the Guild’s quarterly member meeting, and networking opportunities. All are designed to help you develop new ideas, discover best practices, and make connections with others in the craft beer industry.
You can expect to bring back great ideas, practical takeaways, and a renewed sense of energy to help make you and your brewery or brewpub stronger. There’s sure to be something for everyone…and a few craft beers too!
Your ticket includes:
Sponsorship and Exhibiting Opportunities
Exhibitor spaces and Conference sponsorships are now full. For other sponsorship opportunities for the year, please see our 2023 MNCBG Sponsorship Form.
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.: Conference Check-in, Breakfast, and Exhibitor Hall
9:00 – 9:50 a.m.: Welcome & Conference Open from the MNCBG and MBAA, MNCBG Quarterly Member Meeting
10:00 – 10:50 a.m.: Session Block 1
11:00 – 11:50 a.m.: Session Block 2
12:00 – 12:50 p.m.: Lunch & Exhibitor Hall
1:00 – 1:50 p.m.: Session Block 3
2:00 – 2:50 p.m.: Session Block 4
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.: Closing Keynote & Happy Hour with Doug Veliky, Revolution Brewing
View the conference’s program, which includes a map, check-in details, and a full schedule. All attendees will receive a paper version of this program. On the day of the Conference, use the QR code on your paper program to see a digital version that includes session descriptions and speaker bios.
To help you decide what to attend, our breakout sessions are organized into four tracks: Brewing, Operations, FOH/Sales/Marketing, and Owner/Decision Maker. Click the below session titles to view details for each.
Key Malt Quality Attributes and their Impacts to Beer Flavor Stability
Xiang S Yin, Vice President, Corporate Quality and Innovation, Rahr Corporation
This presentation will review the key causes of beer flavor instability related to malt factors, and will put all the pieces of the puzzle together to see the full picture of beer staling. We will dive into the staling manifestations in different style of beers , including lipid degradation and oxidation, thermal load impact, and Strecker Degradation of residual amino acid in beer, particularly on the optimal amino acid/FAN levels for all -malt beers, so one can take all these factors into consideration when selecting malt supply for the target beers.
About the Presenter
Xiang S Yin is the Vice President of corporate quality and innovation at Rahr. His experience in the industry includes working as the Global Director of Brewing Raw Materials at SABMiller based in UK, and as Global Technical Director with Prairie Malt/Cargill Malt. He is a past president of ASBC, and is a fellow of Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Xiang authored the first book of the ASBC Practical Brewing Science series-MALT. Xiang holds a Ph.D. from Heriot-Watt University, UK.
Eric May, Technical Sales Representative, Gusmer Enterprises
This presentation takes a look at the fundamental importance of yeast nutrients in brewing. We will cover the major components of nutrients that are commonly found in the market and why those nutrients would be important to brewing. At the end, you should be able to understand why nutrients are important and if certain nutrients should be added to your recipe.
About the Presenters
Eric May currently works with Gusmer Enterprises as the Technical Sales Representative for Minnesota (as well as several other states including Colorado). Prior to working for Gusmer, Eric was the Fermentation Manager at the Coors Brewery in Golden, CO and prior to that, a Head Winemaker at Constellation Brands in Canandaigua, NY. Eric got his education from Cornell University and graduated with a degree in Viticulture and Enology.
Haze Synergized: Getting the Most out of Your Ingredients to Promote Haze Stability
Emily Del Bel, Manager of R&D Operations and Technical Services, Rahr Technical Center
Ben Stanwood, Microbiologist, Rahr Technical Center
Whether or not brewers like it, hazy beers, NEIPAs and Juicy IPAs, continue to dominate the beer landscape. The complicated nature of haze stability can lead to unexpectedly clear (or worse, chunky) beers. This presentation provides an exploration of functional compounds in beer haze, the role ingredients play in the stability of hazy beer, and a practical look at troubleshooting unstable beer haze.
About the Presenters
Emily Del Bel is the Manager of R&D Operations and Technical Services at the Rahr Technical Center (RTC) in Shakopee, Minnesota. She is an active member of the St. Paul Minneapolis MBAA Technical Committee and the ASBC Sensory Committee. Her passion for beer began at Oregon State University where she obtained a B.S. in Food Science and Technology and worked on the development of the OSU cheese. She then moved to the Midwest to obtain a M.S. in Food Science at the University of Minnesota and study the flavor impact of ripeness levels on cold hardy wine grape varieties. Despite the crazy weather, she has developed a love for Twin Cities and a Minnesota accent. Outside of work she loves traveling and camping with her family.
Ben Stanwood obtained a B.S. in Biology from Metropolitan University of Denver. After spending six years in the food safety industry he followed his passion for beer and brewing to take a new direction with his love of microbiology. He is now the Microbiologist managing all things micro for the Rahr Technical Center.
Keeping it Fresh: What’s New and Next in IPA Brewing
Panel: Murphy Johnson—Blackstack Brewing, Niko Tonks—Yakima Chief Hops, Devin Biondi—NZ Hops, Joe Wells—Fair State Brewing Cooperative, and Zack Dunbar, Lua Brewing
We’ll talk about the latest developments in the hop world – from new varieties and aroma products to emerging research – and their practical applications in the brewhouse and cellar, with an emphasis on both innovation and efficiency.
About the Presenters
Niko Tonks, Regional Sales Manager – Central, Yakima Chief Hops Niko Tonks is the Regional Sales Manager for the Central Region at Yakima Chief Hops. He started his brewing career at Live Oak Brewing in Austin, Texas in 2011, co-founded Fair State Brewing Cooperative in Minneapolis in 2014, and joined YCH in the fall of 2022. He has extensive experience with technical brewing, recipe development, and R&D brewing. He lives in Southern Minnesota and enjoys a fine pilsner beer.
The Burden of Burnout: Where to Start to Combat and Prevent It
Katie Muggli, Founder and Executive Director, Infinite Ingredient
Burnout in the craft beer industry is rampant, and has only been exacerbated by the events of the past few years. What does burnout look like? Why and how does it happen? How do leaders create environments that are free of burnout?
Education Session with the AGED
Mike McManus, Regulatory Enforcement Administrator, MN Dept. of Public Safety Alcohol & Gambling Enf.
Shawn Hansen, Investigator, MN Dept. of Public Safety Alcohol & Gambling Enf.
This session will cover present information related to Minnesota alcohol laws with a focus on brand label registration, sampling at retail, brewer participation at retail events and the difference between non-profit temp licensed events and retail events, and brewer off-sale licenses and why both should be maintained.
About the Presenters
Mike McManus has been with AGED for 34 years. He has risen within the department from field investigator to program administrator; responsible for overseeing all alcohol field investigators. He has also been responsible for the original license training for public officials for several years and developed the initial curriculum on alcohol laws.
Shawn started with AGED as a licensing specialist in the area of manufacture, import and wholesale licensing. In that role, Shawn became an expert in the area of supplier tier licensing and brand label registration. Shawn is not a filed agent for AGED and we are lucky to have him.
Strategies for Reducing Waste, Water & Energy Consumption in Breweries
John Schroeder, Sustainable Materials Management Specialist, MNTap at University of MN
Gabrielle Martin, Associate Engineer, MNTAP at the University of MN
This presentation will cover what MnTAP has dealt with in brewery settings, helping various organizations with energy, water, and waste reduction. We also will cover resources that exist for breweries to tap into, including sustainability checklists and funding opportunities. Lastly, we will note some of the initial strategies breweries and taprooms can undertake to lessen their consumption in various areas.
About the Presenters
Jon’s professional passion lies in all realms of sustainability. He has several years of experience spanning various settings including the private sector, government, academia, and a startup. He uses his broad experience working on many material-related topics in his current role, directly interfacing with companies looking to reduce waste generation and divert it where it occurs. He currently runs the Minnesota Materials Exchange for organizations who have excess items they want to keep out of the landfill. He highly encourages you to take a look.
Gabrielle Martin is an Associate Engineer with the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP), who is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. She has a Bachelor of Science in Materials Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, with a background in ferrous and aluminum casting, automotive manufacturing, and construction sales. In Gabrielle’s time with MnTAP, she has leveraged her experiences to help Minnesota businesses identify and implement cost-effective solutions that reduce waste, water and energy consumption. She has experience working with a variety of industries and appreciates the chance to give back to MN communities.
State of the Industry: Hops
Eric R Sannerud, President, Sannerud Hop Consulting
A significant market shake up is coming that will inject uncertainty into the hop market. 2023 will likely go down in history as the start of a ‘new cycle’ in the hop industry. This presentation will provide insight and analysis on the state of the hop industry in this crucial time. Industry reports will be reviewed, trends in 2023 and beyond will be analyzed, and attendees will leave with invaluable knowledge to prepare them for a more chaotic hop market.
About the Presenter
Eric R. Sannerud is a hop evangelist. Eric first fell in love with hops as co-founder and farmer-CEO of Mighty Axe Hops. He then went on to be the Hop Brand Manager for BSG. He shares analysis and insight from his decade of hop experience in the Hop Notes newsletter and with partners across the country as a freelance hop consultant for brewers, farmers, and hop merchants.
Food Licenses – Interacting with the MDA
Dan Opsahl, Operations and Planning Manager, MN Department of Agriculture
Covering the touch points between the MDA and breweries, including the who and the how for the most efficient methods of communication and specific technical guidance on food safety and regulations that pertain to alcohol manufacturing and service.
1) Connecting on the front end (outreach) can help facilitate better customer service down the line. 2) Different activities have different touch points with the MDA, knowing the correct individual can go a long way.
About the Presenter
Dan is currently the Operations and Planning Manager with the Food and Feed Safety Division at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Prior to this role, he spent 6 years as the Plan Review Supervisor for the Retail Program at the MDA and 8 years as a food inspector for the City of Brooklyn Park and the City of St. Paul.
Increasing Beer Quality Using Practical Tasting Methods
Lindsay Barr, Founding Partner and CSO, DraughtLab
Many craft breweries see their lack of time, money, and expertise as significant barriers-to-entry for building a tasting program. With these barriers in mind, new approaches have been developed that are both robust and practical to implement within a production environment. Having spent many years working with different industries to build and maintain brands, we’ve learned a few things every craft brewery should keep in mind. In this presentation, Sensory best practices will be presented, and participants will walk away with a clear path for developing and growing their Sensory program.
About the Presenter
Lindsay is the CSO and Founding Partner of DraughtLab Sensory Software where she helps food & beverage companies apply tasting data to make delicious products that people love. After earning a Biochemistry degree from the University of New Mexico and a graduate Food Science & Technology degree from UC Davis, Lindsay began her career at New Belgium Brewing Company managing the multi-site world-class Sensory and Consumer Research program. Over the years she has published numerous groundbreaking evaluation techniques that have advanced the sensory discipline and lowered the barrier to entry into sensory science. With DraughtLab she collaborates across food and beverage to create new sensory tools, techniques, and industry-specific lexicons that make it possible for businesses to use their existing resources to make better products. She believes flavor is the most important factor in determining food and beverage quality and has set her sights on continuing to make sensory accessible for everyone.
Brew Up Business Online
Eric Carlson, Organic Marketing Manager, Brandography
Selling online is easier than it’s ever been before, but that means there is more competition than ever. Setting yourself up for success is vital for your brewing business. In this session you’ll learn to update your online presence and get your site found by customers. Touching on everything from building your site, to creating a marketing plan, to analyzing your data, to optimizing your site for search engines and sales.
Programming & Entertainment: How to Get People to your Brewery
Jordan Weller, Programming & Entertainment Director, Utepils Brewing Company
Ben Neitge, Events Coordinator, Forgotten Star Brewing Co.
Jill Drum, Taproom General Manager, Fulton Brewing
Drew Davis, Taproom Manager, Falling Knife Brewing Company
Hear from Minnesota Brewery General Managers and Event Coordinators about how they approach events and programming at their breweries, and how their ideas and techniques can be implemented at your brewery.
About the Presenters
With over 15 years in the beer industry and a degree in Music and Entertainment Business, Jordan Weller’s unique skill set has helped to make Utepils Brewing a destination for outdoor music, unique and exciting events, and an atmosphere that keeps guests coming back.
After graduating from Augsburg College, Ben Neitge (pronounced Nike.. go figure) spent his 20’s as a freelance musician and music director while working at breweries on the side. After a pandemic induced career pivot, Ben uses his unconventional skill set, past connections and experiences to create and manage events big and small at Forgotten Star Brewing Co.
SBA Resource and Resource Partners
Don Jackson, Lead Outreach and Marketing Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration Michael Conroy, Small Business Development Center
Dave Muller, SCORE Mentor
Brief overview of the SBA resources and panel discussion with available SBA resource partners SCORE, Small Business Development Center and Women’s Business Center.
About the Presenters
Don has been with SBA since 2015 and is the Lead Outreach and Marketing Specialist with Minnesota District Office. Don began his civilian federal career in 2009 with the Department of the Navy. Prior to that he served in the U.S. Navy beginning in 1994.
Dave joined SCORE Twin Cities as a mentor in 2022 after retiring from CenterPoint Energy (CNP) in mid-2021. He has a 26-year career with CNP and held a variety of jobs including: Manager of Purchasing, Product Development and Pricing Manager, Manager of Sales and Marketing and Director of Sales. Dave is a Beer Ambassador and Festival Field employee for Surly Brewing, his favorite beers are Marzen style lagers, and he love the fall in Minnesota!
A Seat at the Table – DEI Begins in Leadership and Management
Kate Winkel, General Manager, Arbeiter Brewing Co.
Dicky Lopez – Head Brewer at La Doña Cervecería
Angelique Lisboa, HR/DEI Facilitator, Modist Brewing Co.
Mahad Muhammad, DEI and Community Outreach, Dual Citizen Brewing Co.
DEI practices are important in every aspect of decision making, starting at the top. Diversifying management and leadership teams produce positive outcomes. DEI hiring practices are incredibly valuable. Incorporating a measurable, inclusive and equitable workplace will help diversify craft beer taprooms.
About the Presenters
Kate Winkel has 9 years of experience in management and operations in Minnesota’s craft beer industry. From production breweries to neighborhood taprooms she has a diverse range of experience that has shaped her career. Along with craft beer, Kate’s passion is working towards making the industry safe and welcoming to all by incorporating DEI practices into the workspace and beyond.
Mahad has been in the service industry for over 15 years and the last 10 in craft beer particularly, working in every aspect of taproom operations and management. Mahad is also a member of local industry leader non-profit Brewing Change Collaborative whose mission is fostering diversity, equality, and inclusion of BIPOC folks in brewing and beverage industry through advocacy, outreach, and education.
Dicky Lopez has worked in the craft brewing industry for over 10 years at multiple breweries. Currently he is one of the owners and also the head brewer for La Doña Cervecería. He has had multiple management roles in the production portion of the industry, and works with his team to grow the culture of La Doña. From brewing to deliveries, he has experience from all of it.
Angelique is an HR expert with over nine years of experience, three of those focused on DEI work. With nearly a year under her belt as the HR/DEI Facilitator at Modist Brewing Co, she has combined her passion for craft beer and dedication to making spaces safe and diverse into a cohesive career—all while keeping Modist as community-driven as possible from the inside out.
THC Panel and Q&A
Josh Havlik, Insurance Agent, Craft Beverage Agent
Nick Swedberg, CPA Specializing in Breweries and Restaurants, Boyum Barenscheer
Kyle Marinkovich, CEO, Northern Diversified Solutions
Jason Tarasek, Cannabis Attourney, Minnesota Cannabis Law
Glenn McElfresh, Co-Founder, Plift
Bob Galligan, Director of Government and Industry Relations, MNCBG
Exploring law, insurance, finances, and supply chain factors of the MN hemp-derived THC market.
About the Presenters
Nick is a partner at Boyum Barenscheer running the brewery and restaurant division. Nick provides advisory services, tax planning, tax credit consulting and tax filing for breweries in several states. Clients reach out to Nick for input on accounting, POS systems, payroll processors, R&D consulting, tax savings and everything in between. Nick’s favorite beer changes periodically but currently he’s trying every sour he can get his hands on.
Josh Havlik joined the guild in 2019 after seeing a need in the state for a craft beverage focused insurance expert less interested in sales and more interested in research and data. My data driven approach has helped the industry save hundreds of thousands of dollars all without sacrificing coverage. Josh resides in Prior Lake with his wife and 5 children, and his favorite hobbies include hockey, running, and boating.
Kyle Marinkovich is Chief Executive Officer of Northern Diversified Solutions (NDS), a hemp ingredients processor located in Burnsville. Founded in 2019, the company serves customers across the country in the brewing, spirits, RTD beverages, bakery, confectionary, functional nutrition, and nutraceutical categories. Prior to founding NDS he served in multiple leadership roles at Cargill, Inc. in its global food ingredients enterprise. He holds a MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and a BA in History from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Jason Tarasek founded Minnesota Cannabis Law in 2018 to serve the hemp, cannabinoid, medical-marijuana and adult-use marijuana markets in the Upper Midwest. Jason has nearly 20 years of legal experience as a transactional attorney and litigator. He has been named to the list of Super Lawyers, which is an honor bestowed on only the top 5% of attorneys in Minnesota. Previously, Jason served as the Minnesota Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project. In this role, he helped draft legislation to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in Minnesota. Jason is a frequent speaker on legal issues related to hemp, CBD and marijuana. During the Fall/Winter of 2020, Jason served as an Adjunct Professor at Mitchell Hamline Law School, where he taught a seminar titled “Marijuana and the Law.”
Glenn McElfresh works tirelessly for Plift and Perfectly Dosed, directing his strong problem-solving, entrepreneurial and relationship-building skills toward bolstering team success and customer satisfaction. With a diverse background that spans competitive weightlifting, startups, tech and cannabis compliance, Glenn co-founded Plift and Perfectly Dosed to make a difference for other bootstrappers and dreamers in the cannabis industry. He has first-hand experience at every level in the cannabis industry from budtender to executive to founder. Glenn specializes in both advocacy and licensing, and has successfully navigated the application processes for licensing in multiple states across the country.
Finding and Keeping Great Employees: Strategies for Successful Acquisition & Retention
Holly Haslam, Human Resources Partner, Brewers Association
In this presentation we will take a look at the current employment environment and discuss five key areas that contribute to finding and keeping top talent. We will look at the impact of branding, selection, training, engagement, and rewards and participants will walk away with strategies to improve their staffing outcomes.
About the Presenter
In April 2022, Holly Haslam joined the Brewers Association as the organization’s first Human Resources (HR) Partner. With a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Substance Abuse Prevention, Education, and Treatment from Central Michigan University, she went on to pursue her master’s degree in Business Administration specializing in Human Resource Management at the University of Northern Colorado. Holly serves as a volunteer leader with the Boulder Area HR Association (BAHRA) as their President for 2023, working with local HR experts to provide educational content to the Boulder HR community. Holly’s experience building HR functions, employee engagement initiatives, and training/advancement programs led her to specialize in helping small organizations create systems that aid in employee professional development and retention. Holly utilizes the insight and experience she has gained working within small organizations to equip leaders in the craft brewing community with the knowledge and resources needed to take care of their most valuable assets—their people!
The Intersection of Brewing and Marketing
Doug Veliky, Chief Marketing Officer, Revolution Brewing (Chicago, IL)
Join us for happy hour drinks in the main Waiting Room during this closing keynote presentation.
About the Presenter
Doug’s career in the beer industry started in 2009 when he joined Reyes Holdings, a global leader in the production and distribution of food and beverage products, including the largest beer distribution network in the US. As craft beer became a more significant part of the company’s strategy, Doug got the bug and started Instagramming about craft beer at his handle @beeraficionado. His digital presence later evolved into an industry blog called BeerCrunchers.com focusing on numbers, trends, & strategies, which has gone on to win two first place awards from the North American Guild of Beer Writers.
In 2016, Doug was hired as the CFO of Revolution Brewing, Illinois’ largest independently owned craft brewery, but after four years his passions and understanding of the brand led him to leading the marketing function in a new strategic role. He now oversees the company’s overall brand, packaging development, activation & promotions, strategic partnerships, social media, digital marketing, and community development.
Veliky is a CPA, has a B.S. in Accounting & Economics from the University of Richmond (Richmond, VA), and was named to Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 40 under 40 Tastemakers list in 2021. Today you can find Doug on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter sharing industry experience, insights and perspective while trying to give you a laugh or two in the process.
Presenter info to come.
Are You Interested in Presenting?
We are seeking proposals for presentations from industry leaders along the session tracks: Brewing; Operations; FOH/Sales/Marketing; and Owner/Decision-Maker. We are also seeking 1 keynote presentation/panel. If you are interested in presenting, please fill out this form by January 29.
Brook + Whittle
Iron Heart Canning
Ivory Hill & Alerus
Malteurop Malting Company
Northern Diversified Solutions
Rahr Technical Center
U.S. Small Business Administration
VAA – Nationwide Engineering Services
Attendees are welcome to park in lots B, C, or D at Union Depot. (Parking Lot A is reserved for exhibitors, staff, and volunteers.) Parking in any of these three lots will have you enter Union Depot between the Concourse and Waiting Room, right by the check-in table.
All parking is first-come, first-serve. You will receive a ticket when you enter the lot, and you will pay by cash or credit card at the exit. For pricing and lot maps, please see the Union Depot parking page.
Street parking is also available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Walking, Biking, or Public Transportation
Union Depot—St. Paul is a stop on the Metro Transit Green Line and within blocks of multiple bus stops, and it is easily accessible for ride-share services like Uber and Lyft. Bikes are allowed on buses; if you’re planning on biking, contact us to arrange bike storage. All of these options will have you enter at the North Plaza.
Entering from the plaza will bring you into the Head House, where the Exhibitor Hall will be held. To get to Check-In, walk through the Exhibitor Hall (towards the left of the restaurant) and through the Concourse to Check-In.
Through the Skyway
If you are using the Saint Paul skyway system, you will enter Union Depot on the main level right next to the Lowertown Bike Shop. As you walk, you will be entering the Head House, where the Exhibitor Hall is held. To get to Check-In, walk through the Exhibitor Hall, then take a right into the Concourse to Check-In.
The Guild’s room block closed in mid-March. Members who purchased within the block will be staying at the Hyatt Place in Downtown St. Paul, which is less than a block from Union Depot—St. Paul.
Attendees are welcome to book anywhere that is most convenient. Union Depot—St. Paul is a stop on the Metro Transit Green Line and within blocks of multiple bus stops, and it is easily accessible for ride-share services like Uber and Lyft. Please book as soon as possible to ensure you have a place to stay.
Thank you for your interest. Media passes have all been claimed for the Conference.