Virginia Craft Brewers Guild

2021 Virginia Craft Beer Conference – July 26-27

Each year, the Virginia Craft Beer Conference (VCBC) focuses on topics that help brewers in the Commonwealth produce world-class craft beer. In 2021, the Conference will be held virtually and feature guest speakers and peers sharing information and best-practices on quality, technology, good manufacturing practices, safety, workforce training, marketing, yeast management, and other topics. This year’s topics can be found below – REGISTER HERE!

Day 1 – July 26

10th Anniversary Celebration Session: 9:30am – 11:00am

Virginia’s Guilded Age: Examining Growth of Craft Beer Through the Years (9:30am-10:30am)

Speakers: Janell Zurschmeide, Dirt Farm Brewing, Eric McKay, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Mark Thompson, Brewing Tree Beer Company, Mike Killelea, Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. & Brett Vassey, Virginia Craft Brewers Guild

Kick off this year’s Virginia Craft Beer Conference with VCBG President & CEO Brett Vassey, current VCBG Chair Janell Zurschmeide, and some former VCBG Chairs as they reflect on the growth of the craft beer industry over the past decade. Some good articles for reflection:

The State of the Guild: Chair and CEO Report; Leadership Council Election (Annual VCBG Member’s Meeting – MEMBERS ONLY)

Speakers: Janell Zurschmeide, Dirt Farm Brewing, & Brett Vassey, Virginia Craft Brewers Guild

Technical Brewing Session: 11:30am – 12:00pm

The Use of Tanal A for Haze Formation in Beer

Speaker: Fausto Yu-Shan, Technical Product Support Manager, Wyeast Laboratories, Inc.

Join us for a Technical Brewing Session to learn about Tanal A, its chemical composition, the natural sources from where it is extracted, and how it can contribute to produce haze in certain beer styles such as German Hefeweizen, Belgian Wit and New England IPAs in which the presence of a haze is expected.

Workforce + Tech Session: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Combatting the Labor Shortage and Elevating Your Service

Speaker: Maggie Read, Senior Sales Consultant, Arryved

As we make our way out of the pandemic, we have to contend with a completely different world than the one we used to live, work, and play in.   Small business owners are struggling to rebuild their post-pandemic teams while still suffering from limited capacity and lower margins. So how do you and your team come back stronger than before? Take what you’ve always done right (great service) and blend it with some helpful tech tools. We’ll talk all about incorporating tech to enhance your service model and help your team excel.  

Diversity & Inclusion Session: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Fans, Hands, and Brands: Strategies and Tactics for Being Inclusive and Building Diversity in Craft Beer

Speaker: Dr. J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, Brewers Association Equity & Inclusion Partner

What do a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, a colony of ants, and a recipe for a brown ale have in common? In the real world, very little. But in Dr. J.’s interactive talk, this eclectic list of common objects will inspire attendees to rethink how we approach diversity and inclusion in the craft brewing industry. Dr. J. will open the door for an honest and judgment-free conversation about the realities of authentically reaching populations that are underrepresented among those that produce, distribute, and sell alcoholic beverages.

Key Takeaways:

  • Diagnoses three critical flaws in common approaches to organizational diversity and inclusion.
  • Presents a framework for rethinking organizational diversity and inclusion that empowers employees to craft context-specific solutions that are tailored to their organization’s goals and capacity.

Workforce Session: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Minimum Wage and Compression: Compensation Planning for Breweries

Speaker: Peggy Richmond, Compensation Services Director, Insperity.

Day 2 – July 27

Guild Update Session: 9:30am – 11:00am

Virginia Craft Beer Growth Regulatory Issues

Speakers:  Nicole Harrell, Esq., CIPP/US, Kaufman & Canoles PC, George Kastendike, Three Notch’d Brewing Co. (invited), Porter Hardy, Smartmouth Brewing Co., Eric McKay, Hardywood Park Brewing Co. & Brett Vassey, Virginia Craft Brewers Guild

This session will focus on select regulatory issues that will help the Virginia Craft Beer Industry continue to grow and profit: Temporary Distribution Agreements w/VA Beer Franchise Act Waivers, Distributor Performance Regulation, Expedited Distribution Agreement Termination Process @ ABC; and CBD-infused Craft Beer.

Workshop: 11:30am – 12pm

10th Anniversary Collaboration Beer Introduction

Speakers: David St. Clair, Swover Creek Farms Brewery, & Tiffany Meyers, Ballad Brewing

Learn all about the collaboration Farmhouse Ale launching this fall to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Guild. Breweries on the Collaboration Beer Panel include: Swover Creek Farms Brewery, Mountain Valley Brewing, Starr Hill Brewery, St. George Brewing Company, Old Ox Brewery & Ballad Brewing.

Technical Brewing Session: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Creative Yeast Ideas for Utilizing R&D and Pilot Systems

Speaker: Erik Fowler, Certified Cicerone®, Education & Brewery Experience Manager, White Labs, Inc.

Join Erik Fowler of White Labs in discussing Creative Ideas for Utilizing R&D and Pilot Systems. This lecture will cover using new yeast strains for trending styles, yeast nutrition in beer, and adjusting fermentation profile for creating complexity. Along with determining a target profile and consumer preferences, it’s critical to understand new yeast strains and process considerations to ensure your beer is created as intended, scalable, and reproducible.

Workforce Session: 2:00pm – 2:30pm

Developing Your Own Talent: University of Richmond Brewing Certification Program

Speakers: Bobby Faithful, University of Richmond; Robyn Smyth, Virginia Tech

Learn all about the University of Richmond Brewing Certification Program and how you can use it to elevate your team.

Bonus Technical Brewing Session: 3pm – 4pm

Hard Seltzer Fermentation Analysis and Optimization

Speaker: Ben Koppenhaver, Lab Technician, Jasperyeast

Hard seltzer has risen in popularity tremendously. Since 2016, the market share of hard seltzer has annually increased by ~130%. From small brewpubs to large international brewery conglomerates, all have put effort towards producing hard seltzer. Although primarily made of essentially simple ingredients, its fermentation can be quite challenging. Hard Seltzer production routinely demands intense downstream polishing to create a palatable and clean product, often unattainable without specialized equipment and techniques. Here we report on our efforts to streamline the fermentation process, so breweries can minimize downstream processing, and even forego it altogether, as well as share detailed results we obtained during our analysis.