America’s Largest Craft Brewing Industry Gathering Goes On, With Adjustments

Listening to members and assessing their level of comfort in gathering, as well as working closely with state and local authorities helped the Brewers Association host its Craft Brewers Conference, with a few modifications.

The famous maxim “the show must go on” applied to the  Craft Brewers Conference (CBC), which went on, with health and safety policies in place. Following the cancellation of the in-person portion of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the GABF awards ceremony was held during CBC, awarding 290 medals to 265 breweries across the country.  The best beers in 97 beer categories—covering 175 different beer styles—received gold, silver, and bronze medals.

“We listened to our membership and knew there was strong desire to convene the brewing community after more than 18 months,” said Ann Obenchain, BA’s marketing and communications director.

(Handout photo)

BA worked closely with the state of Colorado, the city of Denver, the convention center, and its security team and exhibit vendor to monitor the latest CDC recommendations, local guidelines, and best practices from other large events around the country. This comprehensive planning helped BA carefully manage the event’s onsite operation.

BA eliminated “high touch,” or perceived high-risk activities, and moved the event’s welcome reception outdoors with limited attendance. The group also planned the event for 7,000—half its normal capacity of 12,000 to 15,000 attendees—to better facilitate social distancing.

While the group did not require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend the conference, it did encourage all attendees to be fully vaccinated to protect themselves and others. BA also requested that attendees wear facemasks, regardless of vaccination status.

(Handout photo)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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