As seen in the Sacramento Business Journal
At a craft-brewing event in Sacramento last weekend, business cards were almost as important as the beer.
The California Craft Beer Summit and Brewers Showcase brought many current and aspiring brewers to downtown Sacramento. But lawyers, marketing professionals and equipment vendors also attended the event, hoping to build professional relationships with brewery owners.
Dean Peckham of Ruhstaller Beer chats with brewers at the inaugural California Craft Beer Summit Expo on Saturday at the Sacramento Convention Center. The California Craft Brewers Association put on the event.
It was evidence that the craft beer boom’s business impact extends beyond breweries. New businesses have formed to serve craft brewers’ needs. And some existing businesses have expanded their services for the same reason.
Some professionals at the summit saw a void in services early on. More than six years ago, Candace L. Moon founded The Craft Beer Attorney APC. The San Diego-based legal practice focuses on serving the craft beer industry, with more than 150 clients across California, including some Sacramento-area breweries. Moon was a presenter at the summit, and also sold copies of her book, which is a guide to opening a brewery.
Moon said the event was a good experience from a professional standpoint, since she met many people who planned to open breweries.
Lindsey Herrema, a co-founder of The Can Van, was also pleased with the networking opportunities. Herrema’s company, which is based in San Francisco and Sacramento, offers “mobile canning solutions” to breweries. The company brings equipment, materials and staff to entrepreneurs interested in canning their brews.
“I liked that this focused just on California,” Herrema said of the summit. “It went well. It was a fun event.”
Organizers said more than 1,800 people attended the two-day summit at the Sacramento Convention Center, which included educational sessions geared largely toward people in the industry. A beer-tasting showcase, geared more toward consumers, was held Saturday on Capitol Mall and attracted more than 2,500 people, according to organizers.
“It was very well-organized and well-run,” said Scott Scoville, who co-founded Beers In Sac with Ted Rozalski. “We did run into a lot of people that wanted to get into the industry.”
Beers In Sac, an online hub for information about beer in Sacramento, was a sponsor of the event. Beers In Sac also designed the event’s smartphone app.
The first-time event was presented by the California Craft Brewers Association, a group that says the state currently has about 580 breweries. On average, two new breweries open each week in California, according to Tom McCormick, the association’s executive director. Craft beer contributed more than $6.5 billion to the state’s economy in 2014, he said.
So it’s no surprise the summit was a networking vehicle for many entrepreneurs eager to help brewers in their marketing efforts. The event showcased more than 150 California breweries. “All the big guys were there. They were rubbing elbows with you,” said Ashley Johnson, founder of Sacramento-based Local Beer Works, a new business.
Johnson plans to offer a marketing tool for breweries that will include multiple elements, from a member-based discount program for consumers to an online marketplace designed to showcase beer- and brewery-related apparel.
Dennis and Dana Hall of Elk Grove have designed another marketing tool: a $50 craft brewery tour card for consumers. Beer fans purchase the card and get discounts at its participating breweries for a year. There’s no charge for breweries to participate. The Halls started working on the idea in April, but the cards only recently became available.
“The craft beer summit was huge for us,” said Dana Hall. The tour-card program is called California Craft Breweries.