Craft Beverage Expo, Inaugural Event

“…all we had was a vision and a floor plan…

Hats off and glasses up to Kellie Shevlin and the crew who made the first Craft Beverage Expo a success. It was an honor and pleasure to be there last week in San Jose, California.

Ginger, Kellie and Tom McCormick/CCBA

Ginger, Kellie and Tom McCormick/CCBA

The entire premise is ground breaking AND so sensible, it makes one scratch your head and say “why didn’t anyone do this before?” Well, Kellie did just that. She researched and broke new ground that needed to be tilled.

The basis of the Expo is to bring together beer, wine, spirits, cider and mead people to talk about common ground: Bringing Artisan Beer, Wine & Spirits to Market. Regulatory concerns, marketing, sales, and marketing solutions is what was billed. And guess what? You got that and then some. The brilliance of the concept grew on me and I fully appreciate what we can all do when we help and assist. Not that the conventions I’ve been to have been unhelpful. They’ve simply been solely focused on one very specific niche.

The point being is that when we intentionally cross categories, then we cross pollinate we share ideas. This is one of thee most powerful tools in creating sustainable remarkable change.

To to over 1000 attendees, dozens of trade show exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors the event was one that I took to saying you couldn’t tell it was a first year effort. As a colleague of mine put it, it was well produced. In this he meant that it was all very professional both in appearance and operation.

CBE opening session panel

CBE opening session panel

Are there ways the 2015 CBE can improve? Of course – every convention, expo and conference better be looking at continually improvement. Kellie knows this as does her crew and they encourage and welcome constructive feedback. A wise organizer will want specific input to consider moving forward.

Well, Kellie – your vision has paid off nicely. Bringing various alcohol beverage people together to talk, listen, share, connect and start and build relationships makes us all stronger. The people I met were well worth the trip alone, the friends and colleagues I saw were also worth the endeavor. It was a big bonus to be invited to present as well (3 Universal Truths: Attracting and Keeping Female Patrons). I am eager to get back and explore more of the area too, another benefit to traveling to work events.

Your time and dollars are valuable. You want to be sure as possible that your efforts are well founded, rewarding, offer some sort of payback and it’s all enjoyable. We all want to get helpful and useful information, to meet worthwhile contacts and fun ‘new’ people. Perhaps even to get some press and media coverage.

Lovely San Jose, California

Lovely San Jose, California

The City of San Jose was one place 1. that I had not yet been to 2. that I certainly want to explore more of and 3. has much to offer visitors. The Ethiopian restaurant as well as the Mexican establishment as well as the lovely public spaces….the art museum and technology museum are on my short list. You get the idea.

In my work I travel a good deal. One thing I want from my adventures is to feel like attending was indeed a smart investment of time. Like a friend of mine once said, if you don’t like something, “there’s 3 days of my life that I’ll never get back.” The size of the CBE was very manageable too – meaning you could in fact meet those you wanted, have time to talk and not feel too crowded.

Rest assured when you attend the CBE 2015 you’ll be glad you did. It’s in Santa Clara next year, a relative hop skip & jump from this years host city San Jose. I’m already looking forward to returning. See you there.

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Inaugural Craft Beverage Expo

A new expo is in town. The first ever Craft Beverage Expo is launching on May 6 – 8 in San Jose, California. I’d been getting mailings from the CBE and have recently become more acquainted with the conference.

Here are a few aspects that may make this conference appealing to attend.

1. The site states the conference is designed to help “artisan wine, craft beer, craft cider and craft spirit producers do business and increase sales in a regulated space.” It’s a cross industry effort that looks to create broader conversations with interested communities. No need to delineate when we can share best practices, helpful ideas and talk for the betterment of the whole.

2. It’s essentially two full days of seminars, speakers, and trade show. Breakfasts are provided with registration two of the days as well as a mix and mingle happy hour one afternoon.  When you plan your conference strategy well, you can take in the seminars that best suit you, search out vendor information, and take advantage of the relationship building and networking built into the event.

3.  The list of 58 scheduled speakers should give you plenty to listen to. While the mix of gender in speakers is better than a lot of alcohol conferences, the women in beer need better representation. It’s important to have realistic population representation – half the population is female.

4. Well over 100 exhibitors are making the investment and will be readily available to the attendees.

5. Here’s some of the press information to read.

LogoOverall, everyone has to prioritize and decide which opportunities to pursue, for what reasons, and for a particular investment. Heading to a conference is way more than simply paying registration. It’s travel time and expense, time away from the business, and lost productivity and sales in some cases (a trade out so to speak).

What do you stand to gain? Education is always a wise investment. The way to approach whatever you choose to attend should include “What 1 – 5 specific things/concepts/ideas/solutions/connections can I walk away with if I attend the XYZ conference?” Plan to plan. Set goals, do your research of what’s available, what’s close to you, what you can afford (on various levels), who should go, and then do it.

I’ve always been glad to have attended conferences, whether for a single afternoon or multiple days. It’s easy to shoo it away, thinking we don’t have time. Put the effort into the things you want to see benefits from. Do your diligence. Make the time for the right events.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

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