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Opening Thoughts from #BBC11

After an energizing introduction from Allan (@zephyradventures), Julia Herz (@herzmuses) followed up with a deck of some very intriguing and though-provoking numbers from the state of craft beer.  Over 13,000 beer brands in the US now, and the #craftbeer category as a whole is showing good growth, though beer as a whole was down 0.9%.  Also, it seems that the numbers provided by marketing research firms ACNielsen and Symphony/IRI DO NOT contain numbers from brewpubs, nanobreweries, and possibly even gourmet/small scale groceries carrying more craft beer.
Could the growth numbers be even more staggering?  The Southeast, likely lead by Florida and the Carolinas, posted 24% growth!
The Keynote Speech and Q&A with Fred Eckhardt and John Foyston was informative as well as hilarious.  Just to a search for #BBC11 and you’ll see such quotes as “My favorite beer is the one in my hand…my next favorite beer is my next free beer.”  Hearing about all of Fred’s experiences early on with homebrewing (even before it was legal) was amazing.  All #BBC11 attendees wish to adopt him as their grandpa.
The folks from the Brooklyn Brew Shop (@bklynbrewshop #NYC represent!) led up with a deck about brewing, emphasizing that bloggers should be brewers.  The ease of  brewing (even in a tight NYC apartment) is “as easy as making oatmeal.”  While it might not be exactly the same process, I might be convinced to start brewing again at some point.  They also talked a lot about how cooking and brewing are close cousins…they make an apple crisp ale, which they reuse the by products to make dessert (this made me even more hungry).  The Craigslist jokes about Sweet Wort Seeking Yeast (Top, Bottom, & Brett) was very funny and popular with the crowd.  During the Q&A, they also mentioned failed attempts with cedar and peach cobbler beer.
All in all, an incredible start for the conference!
Looking forward to our trip to the hop fields now.
Stay tuned for more updates, or watch #BBC11 for the play-by-play on Twitter.

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