Minnesota’s Premier Craft Brewing Conference

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 connect 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! 

The 2024 conference was sold out and was held on March 22, 2024. Details for 2025 will be released later this year.



Friday, March 22, 2024
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Royal Sonesta Minneapolis Downtown
Note: Like in 2023, the MN Brewers Cup Awards Ceremony (evening) will be held the same day as the MN Brewers Conference (daytime). Both events will take place at The Royal Sonesta Minneapolis Downtown; tickets are sold separately.

Ticket Information

Attendee Tickets Include:

  • MNCBG Quarterly Member Meeting
  • Keynote speaker
  • Affinity Group discussions with peers
  • Educational sessions by leaders in the industry
  • All-day access to Exhibitor Hall
  • Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks
  • Any post-conference content

During purchase, we will ask for information for each attendee in your group. Data collected for each individual ticket will determine what is printed on conference name badges, will allow us to send tickets to each individual, and will ensure we accommodate all dietary needs. 

All attendees must be 21+ and provide a photo ID. 

Prepare for the Conference: What to Bring

Prepare for the Conference: What to Bring

  • Bring your ID. Every attendee will need a 21+ photo ID in order to attend.
  • Make sure you have your ticket(s). Every attendee must have a scannable ticket to be admitted to the conference.
  • Bring a pen, notebook, or other note-taking device as needed.
  • Feel free to bring a refillable water bottle. Water stations are in each session room.
  • If you’d like to feature one of your beers or NA products at the event, we invite you to bring beer to share. You can drop it off at check-in.

Please also read the MNCBG Code of Conduct and MNCBG Event Terms and Conditions before attending.

Check-In Instructions

Check-In Instructions

After you’ve arrived at the hotel, take the elevators to Floor 3: Denmark Commons for check-in. Check-In is open between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

Please ensure you have your ticket and your photo ID.

At the Check-In desk, your materials will be under the brewery/business name. Claim your conference badge and printed conference program before grabbing a light breakfast and exploring the Exhibitor Hall. On the day of the Conference, use the QR code on your program to see a digital version that includes full session descriptions. The QR code will also bring you to session surveys and the MNCBG Code of Conduct and Reporting Tool.

General Conference Timeline

General Conference Timeline

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.: Conference Check-in, Light 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.: Keynote Speaker
2:00 – 2:50 p.m.: Affinity Group Discussions <<< NEW FOR 2024
3:00 – 3:50 p.m.: Session Block 3
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Cheers & Beers Hour & Exhibitor Hall/Networking

Exhibitor List

Visit each of these exhibitors during the day to see what services they provide to breweries. The Exhibitor Hall is open all day, and you are welcome to chat with exhibitors during the breakfast/check-in hour, before or after lunch, between sessions, and during our new happy hour/networking time. We hope you’ll be able to connect with current industry partners as well as explore partnerships with new vendors as well!

Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.
BSG CraftBrewing
County Malt Group
Energy Smart & Waste Wise
Grandstand Glassware and Apparel
Hart Print
Hollingbery Hops
Iron Heart Canning
Lagersmith Can Supply Co.
Laker Promotions
Malteurop Malting Co
Northern Diversified Solutions
Northwestern Extract
Sannerud Hop Consulting
Superior Molecular
Two Track Malting
Viking Label & Packaging, Inc.

Conference Presentations & Speakers

>> View the conference print program plus schedule insert 

The conference program includes a map, check-in details, exhibitor list, and a conference timeline. All attendees will receive a paper version of this program. On the day of the Conference, you can also scan the posted QR code to see a digital version. To help you decide what to attend, our sessions are organized into four tracks: Beer & Brewing, Marketing & Sales, Relationships & Compliance, and Staff & Operations. Click the below session titles to view details for each. 

Keynote: Batten the Hatches or Abandon Ship? Navigating Craft Beer’s Turbulent Waters

Scott Metzger

Today’s craft brewers face challenges that most have not had to overcome before. An unprecedented number of competitors in a flat or shrinking market; sharply rising costs; shifting consumer preferences; and a workforce no longer interested in putting up with your BS. Scott Metzger will talk about his experience in this space and the difficult decisions craft brewers must face to not only survive, but thrive, in 2024.

Scott Metzger is a 16-year industry veteran and president and chief operating officer (COO) of Craft ‘Ohana, which consists of Maui Brewing Co, Maui Hard Seltzer, Kupu Spirits, and Modern Times Beer + Coffee. Scott’s professional background prior to craft beer was in a Fortune 10 Oil & Gas refining company and as an adjunct professor of economics at the University of Texas at San Antonio. This background has stoked a passion in Scott to spread the word about manufacturing and operational excellence to his craft beer colleagues. Scott is a former board member of the Brewers Association and Texas Craft Brewers Guild and has spent his career giving back to the industry he loves. Scott was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and currently resides in Maui with his wife and two daughters.

Beer & Brewing Track — Sessions coordinated by the MBAA District St. Paul-Minneapolis.

Perspective on Quality: Exploring In-house and Mobile Can Packaging
Perspective on Quality: Exploring In-house and Mobile Can Packaging

Nathan Landry, Packaging Quality Technician, Bell’s Brewery
Tyler Wille, Founder and CEO, Iron Heart Canning Co

This collaborative presentation explores packaging quality considerations from two different perspectives. Nathan Landry of Bell’s Brewery and Tyler Wille of Iron Heart Canning discuss key quality parameters every packaging hall, whether in-house or mobile, should focus on and the challenges they face in managing a quality program.

Discussion topics include Seam Teardown and Inspection, Dissolved and Total Package Oxygen Control, Can Liner Testing and Compatibility, Packaging of THC and Alternative Beverages, Equipment Considerations, Retain/Quality Programs and more.

Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of maintaining your own packaging hall compared to contracting with a mobile canning company.


  • Identify the primary quality considerations for packaging beer and alternative beverages into cans.
  • Explore the key differences between in-house and mobile canning.
  • Better understand the equipment, tools, and processes available to maintain a quality packaging program.

About the Presenters

Nathan Landry

Nathan Landry has worked various roles in the beer industry since 2013. During that time, he has worked for a mobile canning company as a Line Lead and is most recently at Bell’s Brewery as a Packaging Quality Technician, spending most of his time working on process improvements while tracking packaging quality trends.

Tyler Wille

Tyler Wille is the Founder and CEO of Iron Heart Canning. Iron Heart’s offerings are designed to make it as easy as possible for breweries and other beverage producers of all sizes to join the can market.

Contract Manufacturing for Breweries and Brands
Contract Manufacturing for Breweries and Brands

Riley Seitz, Senior Project Manager, BevSource
Will Crosby, VP of Brewing Operations, Surly Brewing Company
Joe Wells, Head Brewer, Fair State Brewing Cooperative
Tom Berg, Chief Brewing Officer, Falling Knife Brewery

Moderator: Matt Hall, Brewing Consultant, BevSource

This panel discussion will cover the ins and outs of contract manufacturing from both the producer’s and brand owner’s perspectives. We will cover the considerations for contracting your beverage/beer, how to prepare your brand and brewery for contract manufacturing, brewery/client relationships, and the compliance and reporting required for alcohol production.


  • Why should you contract manufacture your brand?
  • Why should your brewery start contract manufacturing for others?
  • How to prepare yourself for a contract manufacturing relationship.
  • Compliance considerations for contracting alcoholic and THC beverages.
Riley Seitz
Riley Seitz
Joe Wells
Tom Berg
Carbon Dioxide Equivalent Comparison of Commercial Hop Varieties
Carbon Dioxide Equivalent Comparison of Commercial Hop Varieties

Steve Bradt, Craft Sales Representative, Hopsteiner

This presentation will look at an in depth analysis of the factors involved in sustainable production of hops, with data regarding the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, levels, and the differences across a large number of commercial varieties.


  • Attendees will gain a better understanding of the breadth of factors, which have to be considered in order to provide an accurate evaluation of the CO2 equivalents emitted in the growing and processing of hops.
  • These can provide some eye opening insights into how much difference the choice of variety and have on your overall sustainability effort.
Steve Bradt
Steve Bradt

Marketing & Sales Track

The Whole Pie: A Masterclass in Brewery Marketing Strategy
The Whole Pie: A Masterclass in Brewery Marketing Strategy

Bryant Vander Weerd, Founder & Creative Director, Full Pour Media

Crafting a killer content marketing strategy for a craft brewery isn’t just about posting cute beer pics on social media. It’s about understanding your audience, telling captivating stories, optimizing your website, slaying the social media game, blogging like a wordsmith, and keeping in touch with your most dedicated following through email. Social media is just one “slice” of the marketing “pie”. No matter if you’re a 30K BBL urban brewery or a brand new rural brewery, this interactive presentation will get you up to speed fast on how to beef up your marketing strategy and give you tactics to implement ASAP.


  • Understand your target audience: knowing who your ideal customer is, and how to speak to them as the foundation to all your marketing and branding.
  • How to implement SEO, blogs, and email, and why they matter so much to your larger content strategy.
  • Real-life application of the above topics through an example marketing plan for an imaginary event (this will also be an interactive portion).
Bryant Vander Weerd
Bryant Vander Weerd
Standing Out on Tap: Crafting Memorable Content to Connect & Convert
Standing Out on Tap: Crafting Memorable Content to Connect & Convert

Cari O’Brien, Founder & Chief Word Nerd, Custom Content Solutions LLC

In today’s crowded taproom, it’s more important than ever to craft content that connects with beer lovers in a meaningful way. With so many watered-down, AI-generated articles flooding the web, you’ve got to tap into what makes your brewery unique to create something beer lovers truly care about. To rise above the competition, you must go beyond the surface to deliver experiences that resonate with your ideal imbibers. We’ll discuss how to define your audience not just as “beer drinkers” but as multi-dimensional humans with emotions, interests and values. After this session, you’ll be able to move past brewing generic content that simply adds to a noisy marketplace and instead craft content that stands out on tap, creates lasting connections and leaves drinkers thirsty for more.


  • Define your dream beer lovers in a holistic, inclusive way
  • Brew up authentic content that meets your customers where they already are
  • Infuse your brand’s personality and values into engaging content
Cari O'Brien
Cari O’Brien
Rural and Small Community Events and Marketing
Events and Marketing: Rural, Small, and Midsize Community Perspectives

Jacob Maier, Events, Revelation Ale Works
Jayme Sczublewski, Brand Manager, Talking Waters Brewing Co.
Audrey Robinson, Taproom Manager, Little Thistle Brewing Company
Betsy Shadowick, Taproom Manager, Goat Ridge Brewing Company

This panel discussion will explore marketing and events from the perspective of rural, small, and midsize community breweries, focusing on goals, challenges, successes, and lessons learned at a variety of businesses. This is an interactive discussion with lots of opportunity for audience involvement, questions, and group discussion on topics relevant to attendees!

Betsy Shadowick
Audrey Robinson
Jayme Sczublewski
Jacob Maier

Relationships & Compliance Track

Coexisting as a Brewery and a THC Beverage Copacker
Coexisting as a Brewery and a THC Beverage Copacker

Nate Smith (moderator), Founder & CEO, Lagersmith Can Supply Co.
Gavin Rydell, Co-Owner, Foundry Nation
Bryon Tonnis, CEO, Bent Paddle Brewing
Zach Rohr, Founder & CEO, Minny Grown
Jake Haneman, President/Owner, Bootlegger Brewing Kombucha/Auroch Canning

This panel, composed of cannabis beverage brand owners, and hemp derived THC copacking breweries reveal the keys to a successful partnership. Without brick-and-mortar beverage facilities, many cannabis brands rely on breweries to package their beverages. Brand owners will discuss their needs and expectations from their copacking partners. Brewery owners will share lessons they learned as copacking cannabis has become a crucial part of their business.


  • Laying a foundation to become a copacking facility. Ensuring your facility has the proper licensing, equipment, and packaging capabilities.
  • Finding cannabis beverage customers and knowing their expectations.
  • The cannabis beverage market is still young and growing. Learn from others experiences, missteps, and advice.
Nate Smith
Nate Smith
Bryon Tonnis
Jake Haneman
Position your Business for Success: Current Industry & Legal Landscape
Position your Business for Success: Current Industry & Legal Landscape

Mary Cate Cicero, Attorney, Monroe Moxness Berg PA
Matt Duffy, Attorney, Monroe Moxness Berg PA

Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important for owners and managers to understand and run their breweries as sophisticated businesses. This presentation is designed to notify and help breweries comply with recent legislation, provide legal insights for breweries planning to grow or diversify their business, and offer ideas to protect their interests in the marketplace. Monroe Moxness Berg attorneys, Mary Cate Cicero and Matt Duffy will cover the impact of the 2023 Minnesota Legislature session on Minnesota employers, real estate and land use considerations for breweries, and succession planning and exit strategy considerations for brewery owners.


  • A clear summary of the Minnesota earned Sick and Safe Time law and the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Real estate and zoning law considerations for breweries including using buildings for multi-uses such as musical entertainment and selling food.
  • How to get started with succession planning.
Mary Cate Cicero
Mary Cate Cicero
Matt Duffy
Matt Duffy
Hemp Beverage Regulations: What Does the Office Want You to Know
Hemp Beverage Regulations: What Does the Office Want You to Know

Chris Elvrum, Assitant Director of The Office of Medical Cannabis at the Department of Health

Chris Elvrum, the Assistant Director of the Office of Medical Cannabis, will give a short presentation on low potency hemp products and will answer questions from the audience.

Chris Elvrum

Staff & Operations Track

Data Management Panel: Solutions Available and How They Can Be Used
Data Management Panel: Solutions Available and How They Can Be Used

Morgan Smith, Head Brewer, Spiral Brewery
Matt Johnson, Sales Strategy & Analytics Manager, August Schell Brewing Company
Patrick Sundberg, Owner/Founder, Jack Pine Brewery

Patrick Sundberg
Matt Johnson
Morgan Smith
Maintaining Your Mechanical Equipment
Maintaining Your Mechanical Equipment

Tom Berg, Senior Project Manager, Northland Mechanical Contractors, Inc.
Aaron Corrick, Field Service Supervisor, Northland Mechanical Contractors, Inc.

So your brewery spent way too much money on mechanical equipment in order to make great beer and get open. Now what? You want to keep that equipment working properly and lasting as long as it possibly can. We’ll walk you through the universal things that every brewery should be doing to maintain their mechanical equipment and how often, including boiler licenses, inspections, and maintenance, RPZ testing, steam trap testing, chiller maintenance, HVAC maintenance, and more!


  • What mechanical equipment needs to be maintained and how often, including what’s required by the city/state to be annually inspected?
  • What do those maintenance tasks look like and how long should they take?
  • How do I move forward managing and scheduling these maintenance tasks?
Tom Berg
Tom Berg
Mental Illness & Addiction at Work—Understanding the Costs and Overcoming the Stigma
Mental Illness & Addiction at Work—Understanding the Costs and Overcoming the Stigma

Katie Muggli, Infinite Ingredient
John Sakacs, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

During this session we will discuss mental health and addiction – and how it shows up at work. We’ll provide high-level information about mental illness and addiction in the workplace, and the things that HR and organizations can do to help their employees.


  • Identify the real costs of mental illness and addiction in the workplace.
  • Explore ways organizations and leaders can create a workplace where it’s safe for employees to address issues before a crisis happens.
  • Discuss the alternatives organizations have for helping employees and their families deal with mental illness and addiction crises.
Katie Muggli – Founder, Infinite Ingredient
John Sakacs – Outreach Manager -Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Brew Greener: Cut Waste, Boost Efficiency, and Save Money!
Brew Greener: Cut Waste, Boost Efficiency, and Save Money!

Keely Schultz, Senior Sustainability Specialist, Minnesota Waste Wise
Jessie Hendrix, Outreach Coordinator, Minnesota Waste Wise & Energy Smart

Team up with Waste Wise and Energy Smart to discover sustainability savings. Join us for a session packed with sustainability opportunities for breweries. Learn about grants and free technical assistance from Minnesota Waste Wise and Energy Smart, including waste and energy consulting, staff training, and cost-saving tips—all at no cost! Learn about waste reduction, recycling opportunities, and energy efficiency insights to start your journey to saving money and the environment. Don’t miss out on a brew-tiful chance to grow sustainably!


  • Opportunities for grant funding and free assistance available to breweries through Waste Wise and Energy Smart
  • Recommended energy efficiency strategies for breweries
  • Waste reduction and recycling tips for breweries
Keely Schultz
Keely Schultz
Jessie Hendrix
Jessie Hendrix

Hotel and Parking Information

Our conference hotel is the Royal Sonesta Minneapolis Downtown at 35 S 7th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402.

Hotel & Room Block Information

Booking a Room
Attendees are welcome to book anywhere that is most convenient. The Royal Sonesta is 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.  

The discounted Group Reservation closed at the end of February. You are still welcome to book at the Royal Sonesta or at any other convenient hotel.

Parking & Transportation Information

Please note: There is a Timberwolves game at 7:00 p.m. at Target Center on the same day as the Conference and Awards, so transportation options will be particularly busy that afternoon and evening. Please plan accordingly.

Parking at the Royal Sonesta
Overnight Self Parking is available for $32 per night or Valet is available for $54 per night. Both options include in and out privileges. Daily rates may be slightly cheaper and are charged hourly, but they do not include in and out privileges. Find more information on the hotel’s website.

Nearby Parking in Downtown Minneapolis
Click here to see an interactive parking map of the area.

Additional Transportation Options
The Royal Sonesta is in downtown Minneapolis and therefore is accessible by numerous transportation methods.

  • Bus/MetroTransit: The Royal Sonesta is a block away from the Nicollet Mall & 7th St stop, which is a stop on many of the major bus routes, including the C and D lines. Visit the MetroTransit site to plan your route.
  • Ride-Share Services: The hotel is easily accessible for ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, and there are typically plenty around.
  • Walking/Skyway: If you are staying a a nearby hotel, you can also walk to the hotel on the street or via the Minneapolis skyway system (here is a map of all hotels connected to the skyway); just be aware that the skyway does close as early as 6pm on Fridays.

Checking In

After you’ve arrived at the hotel, take the elevators to Floor 3: Denmark Commons for check-in. Check-In is open between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

At the Check-In desk, claim your conference badge and printed conference program before grabbing a light breakfast and exploring the Exhibitor Hall. On the day of the Conference, use the QR code on your program to see a digital version that includes full session descriptions. The QR code will also bring you to session surveys and the MNCBG Code of Conduct and Reporting Tool.


Have a question not covered here? Send us a message.

I can't find my ticket. What do I do?

The ticket purchaser should receive the initial confirmation email of tickets. We will send future communications to all attendees once we close and confirm registration details in early March.  

First, please check your email, including your spam folder. There should be an email from Humanitix with your receipt and ticket. If you still do not see it, please email


How are presentations selected?

Anyone is welcome to submit a presentation proposal by January 15. Once all proposals are received, they will be reviewed and selected by the MBAA, MNCBG staff, MNCBG committees, and MNCBG Board members.

Guild members and Conference attendees represent an array of business models, locations, sizes, strengths, and challenges. Panels with presenters representing a variety of business perspectives (region, size, business stage, etc.) will be given preference.

What are "affinity groups"?

Affinity Groups connect attendees from breweries with similar backgrounds by providing an organic space to share and learn from each other. Network and build long-term relationships while sharing your unique perspectives.

Sessions will move with the group’s needs, allowing all staff a place to share viewpoints. We will cover various topics, including but not limited to the challenges and opportunities your group is facing, what a “Maturing Beer Market” means to you, DEI, Events, THC, and more.

Affinity Groups are geared toward brewery members. Your assigned group is noted on your name tag and is based on information provided during registration.

I am also attending the awards ceremony. What should I do between the events?

The conference ends at 5:00 p.m., and check-in for the MN Brewers Cup Awards Ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m.

If you are staying in the Minneapolis downtown area, you can use this time to check-in to your room, relax, change clothes, or any other task that will help you prepare for the evening.

If you feel like taking in all the nightlife that Minneapolis has to offer, you have plenty of options! Just remember: There is a Timberwolves game that same night at Target Center, just a few blocks from the Royal Sonesta, so it will be a busy area! Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to travel back and forth.

I don't know which staff members are attending. Can I still register?

Sure! If you know the number of staff you’ll send to the conference but are unsure exactly who is attending, you can purchase the tickets now and add staff information later. Be sure to include your information as the Ticket Purchaser. Then, when it asks for the attendees, you can write, “Attendee 1 (or 2, 3, 4) TBD,” in the First and Last Name section, and input your own email.

You can edit (“manage”) your attendee information until Friday, March 1. Information on how to do this will be in your confirmation email after purchase as well as on this FAQ page.

I need to change which staff member is attending. How do I do that?

You can make changes to your attendee data until Friday, March 1.

NOTE: Only the person who purchased the tickets can update the attendee information. If the ticket purchaser is no longer with the company, please email to have us make updates.

By March 1, please make sure you’ve entered the correct attendee information to ensure your attendees receive information leading up to the event, get a conference name badge at check-in, and receive all post-conference resources.

To update your attendee information, follow these steps:

  1. Click the “Manage Order” button in your confirmation email. The “Manage Order” button is under your ticket QR code. It will take you to the Humanitix “Manage Order” webpage.
  2. Click “Edit” to update all necessary information on the Humanitix “Manage Order” webpage.
  3. To save updated information, click the blue “Update” button at the bottom of the webpage.
When will the session list be finalized?

Presentation proposals are due by January 15. Once all proposals are received, they will be reviewed and considered by several groups, which will take a few weeks. We will add sessions here as they are finalized, and the full session list should be ready in mid- to late February, before the early-bird deadline ends on February 29.

Thank you to our MN Brewers Conference sponsors and partners!


Click to enlarge.


Thank you for your interest. Media passes have all been claimed for the Conference.