Just as craft beer continues to expand, the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) & BrewExpo America has grown. Organized by the Brewers Association (BA), a

Craft Brewers Conference CBC
The 2013 Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America attracted nearly 2,000 more attendees than the previous year. (Photo by Jason E. Kaplan, courtesy of the Brewers Association)

non-profit trade organization based in Boulder, Colo., the CBC attracted 6,400 brewing professionals and approximately 440 exhibitors from March 26 to 29, in Washington, D.C.

At the conference, the BA released a full, extensive analysis of 2012 data on U.S. craft brewing growth. In a year when the total U.S. beer market grew by 1 percent, craft brewers saw a 15 percent rise in volume and a 17 percent increase in dollar growth, representing a total barrelage increase of almost 1.8 million, it reported. It also unveiled three new sustainability manuals for craft brewers: “BA Water and Wastewater: Treatment/Volume Reduction Manual”; “BA Solid Waste Reduction Manual”; and “BA Energy Usage, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction, Efficiency and Load Management Manual.” Each contains multiple levels of solutions for breweries of different sizes as well as a toolbox including guidance, checklists and Microsoft Excel-based tools.

On March 27, Fort Collins, Colo.-based New Belgium Brewing Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Kim Jordan delivered the opening keynote address. She discussed topics like technical brewing considerations to the industry’s collective spirit and future.

Also during the opening address, BA Director Paul Gatza delivered his “State of the Craft Brewing Industry” presentation, which displayed data supporting the growth of craft beer. He also noted that seasonal varieties make up the most dollar share in the craft beer category, followed by India Pale Ales (IPAs) and pale ales. He concluded by saying that craft brewers should continue to be optimistic for the future, because growth in craft barrel sales are accelerating, brewers are keeping up with demand, local purchasing remains strong, craft beer is winning on-premise, and high-end growth is increasing.

 The conference also offered educational seminars as well as the second annual Craft Beer Bar Owners Conference on March 28 and the BrewExpo America trade show on March 27 and 28. The Craft Beer Bar Owners Conference featured a day of panel and roundtable discussions that included craft beer bar owners, wholesalers and brewery representatives. The BrewExpo America trade show served brew-pubs, breweries and wholesalers by creating an environment that allowed exhibitors and buyers to develop profitable business relationships and helped brewing and brewery restaurant professionals learn about the latest products and services that industry vendors have to offer. Next year’s conference will take place April 8-11 in Denver in conjunction with the 2014 World Beer Cup.