Mike at the New England Beer Summit in Portland, Maine.

There’s a lot happening with craft brewing in the East Region! First up was the New England Beer Summit on Thursday, March 7th in Portland, Maine. This was a one-day conference with sessions running throughout the day on topics ranging from Quality to Finance to Safety, just to name a few. I manned the Briess trade show booth and want to thank all those who came by to say hello! Most of you were gentle with your fist bumps and hugs – I’ll get to the reason in a bit. This was a fun event, complete with a brewery “Battle of the Bands” at Oxbow Blending & Bottling. It’s sad that they weren’t including vendors in the “Battle”. I’m sure I could have won the crowd over with my Jim Morrison-style crooning.

Next on the agenda is the New York State Brewers Conference held at the Albany Capital Center from March 20-22.

The last evening of the conference is special since that is when the winners of the New York State Craft Beer Competition Awards are announced. The event culminates in the awarding of the prestigious Governor’s Cup, which Genesee Brewing took home in 2023 with their House Helles. New York brewers, please come by the Briess booth to say hello! As I said before, be gentle with those hugs and handshakes.

These conferences might be a bit of a challenge for me, as I’ll only have the full use of my right arm. Sady, I severely injured my left arm in a bicycle crash in January, ending up with a dislocated elbow and a seriously bruised ego. I’ve got a nice new piece of stainless steel holding my left elbow together. Putting together the Briess booth might be interesting. So, we’re only doing right-handed greetings and fist bumps – okay? And maybe some half-hugs. Let’s respect the boundaries. 

One surgery, and a whole bunch of pain meds later, and I’m on the mend!

If I don’t see you at one of these conferences, then I hope to see you soon on the road. Perhaps in Las Vegas at CBC? Make sure you arrive in time for the Welcome Reception on Sunday evening at The Venetian. Briess is one of the sponsors and will offer chances to spin a wheel for prizes, plus register for the grand prize which is a full pallet of malt! Starting Monday morning, you can find me and the Briess team in Booth #903. We’ll be pouring some of our favorite beers from across the country, including some pilot brews that include Crystal Red™ and another new malt that we’re announcing at CBC.