Money & Business

How an American Beer Hit a German Tradeshow's Center Stage

By / Apr 15, 2016 The Charlotte-based Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. (Handout photo)

Proving its global reach, the Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte, North Carolina, is participating in a massive tradeshow in Germany later this month. The chief export? A few German-inspired brews.

When President Barack Obama takes a sip of beer at the Hannover fair in Germany at the end of the month, the cold brew he’ll be appreciating probably won’t be German.

Instead, the major industrial technology tradeshow, at which Obama will participate in the opening, will feature a brew from back home—albeit one inspired by Germany. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (OMB), a beer maker in Charlotte, North Carolina, is donating beer for the event’s opening reception, thanks in part to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

The local chamber is sending a significant delegation to the event, also known as Hannover Messe, which is the world’s largest industrial fair. The U.S. is serving as the partner country for the event for the first time. But preceding the delegation is the beer, all 13,440 bottles of which have been shipped to Hannover, thanks to the Charlotte office of Kuehne + Nagel, a global logistics firm founded in Germany and based in Switzerland. The beer alone costs $15,000.

Like Kuehne + Nagel, Olde Mecklenburg has ties to Germany. The German-style brewery’s founder, John Marrino, spent much of his early career working for a German water treatment equipment manufacturer. But it’s the brewery’s ties to Charlotte—not Germany—that inspired it to participate in the fair.

“This international initiative is actually about supporting our local community,” Marrino said in a news release. “Not only do we create jobs at OMB, but we help bring jobs to Charlotte through our brewery’s offerings and events like this.”

Bob Morgan, the Charlotte chamber’s president and CEO, said that the beer donation was intended to get Charlotte on the radar of attendees.

“It is a conversation starter,” Morgan told WSOC-TV. “They may or may not be aware of Charlotte, but when you talk to them about the beer that is in their hand that they’re going to enjoy, you can then use that as an opener to talk to them about our airport, our attractive cost of doing business, and the growing workforce that we have that is skilled and increasingly young and diverse.”

Obama won’t be the only world leader likely to get a sip of Charlotte’s frothy export. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also be at the beer-fueled opening event.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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