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Micro conference looks into future.

Micro conference looks into future

About 200 microbrewers, brewpub operators and aspiring businessmen were in attendance at the recent 1989 Microbrewers Conference in San Francisco, sponsored by the Institute for Brewing Studies. Conference attendees were informed of the small category's recent developments and given insight into "Brewing into the Future," the event's theme.

Presentations and round-table discussions during the conference's general session covered topics such as participation in state legal matters, choosing brewing equipment, brewery sanitation for the small brewer, yeast management and the role of the brewmaster. Additionally, attendees heard presentations on working effectively with beer distributors, expanding marketing areas, the relationship of food and beer in the brewpub, and the three-tier system and the small brewer.

The microbrewery industry is "no longer an infant category," Jeff Mendel, assistant director, Institute for Brewing Studies, told conference goers in his welcome address. He added that it is the brewpub subsegment that is currently driving the segment's growth. Pub breweries in the U.S., he said, now outnumber microbreweries 90 to 65.

According to Mendel, 27 states and the City of Baltimore permit the operation of brewpubs. Of the remaining markets, he said, "It is not certain that every state will allow brewpubs."

In expounding on the conference's theme, the Institute official stated that in the next decade microbrewers will be concerned with "fighting for existence and managing growth." Quality, Mendel said, "will separate the haves from the have nots."

Distributor relations

With the growth of microbreweries, several presenters said, effective relations with beer wholesalers have become mandatory. Over 60 percent of the 220 North American microbreweries polled use distributors, the Institute reported, while only about five percent of brewpubs do.

A majority of microbrewers, however, are not completely satisfied with the three-tier distribution system as it exists today. According to Daniel Bradford, marketing director, Association of Brewers, a recent poll indicates that microbrewers feel alterations should be made to the system to accomodate microbrewers.

The conference's keynote address was delivered by David Bruce, the former president of Bruces Breweries, Plc., London, and the founder of the first brewpub in London, Firkin's Pub.
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Title Annotation:microbrewers
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Sep 18, 1989
Words:352
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