2017 Conference Program

Check back regularly for updates! 

Confirmed Sessions

Opening General Session: Shift Happens! Are You Prepared?

You have a great brand right now—but the beverage world is in flux all the time. As consumers’ tastes and preferences change and the market evolves, you need to adapt the way you do business in order to stay competitive. Whether that means rotating the beverages you currently offer, expanding into another commodity, creating new partnerships, finding alternative distribution, rethinking your packaging, reinventing the tasting room experience, tapping into new marketing technologies, discovering new ways to market locally or all of the above, you need to be aware of all of your available options. Start right here—this insightful discussion opens the conversation about what you need to know to survive and thrive when shifts happen.


Telling Your Story
Presenter: Jeff Alworth, Author/Writer

In this session, companies will learn how to locate and tell their stories. Storytelling is a bit of a buzzword in corporate communications, but it has real value and is especially important for makers of artisanal products. Customers do not relate to craft beverages as interchangeable widgets; they have an emotional connection–which is why brewery sell-outs are greeted with such howls of anguish. People buy these products because they have a connection to the maker. Telling their story is a critical piece for any artisanal company who wants to project their values and identity to a customer.

In the course of the session, we will explain how companies go through the process of finding the narrative arc of their story, how to use theme and language to communicate it, and how to use that story to drive decision-making about product development, internal culture, communications with key partners, and of course, branding and marketing.


A Website Is an Island Unless You Drive Traffic to It
Presenter: Kate Cardinali, Innovative Media Design

Building a website does not mean that you are reaching your target audience upon launch.  It takes approximately 3-6 months before google will even start scanning your website. Start by playing the google game, making your website SEO friendly means a set rules to follow.

But it doesn’t stop at google, organic traffic is generated through constant new content and a dynamically changing website. Using other sources (social media, newsletters, PR) to drive every member of your audience to your website for more information is necessary.

The last resort is paid advertising listings through google, if organic traffic is generated properly you should never have to pay for a google ad. Your dollars are better spent on sponsored content, social media and using your current audience to drive traffic.

Other tips to be mentioned include yelp reviews, proper location listings, general website formatting and much more.


Make Your Package a Branding Powerhouse
Presenter: Cynthia Sterling, Principal/Creating Director, Sterling Creativeworks

Discover the three brand pillars that form the foundation for break-through packaging design: your unique selling point, brand personality (who your brand is), and an emotional hook (how it makes your audience feel). Use these three pillars to guide your package design process, and create a differentiated and emotionally engaging package that stands out in market. We will provide examples and exercises for discovering and testing your ideas for each pillar. With your foundation in place, you can make packaging decisions – from design to materials – that help you build a break-through brand.


Leveraging the Resources of Local Destination Marketing Agencies to Expand Your Reach

Join representatives from Travel Oregon, Travel Portland and local Oregon producers to learn how craft and artisan beverage producers can and have partnered with their local and regional destination marketing organizations to develop marketing tools, promote their regions, and collaborate across industries to engage with consumers. Understand the resources and programs available to you through local agencies and non-profits such as chambers of commerce and convention and visitors bureaus. Help select the areas to be addressed such as ale and collaborative trails, rural development studios, how to identify tourism resources, accessing agency social channels and online calendars and resources to create unique visitor experiences.  Bring your questions!


Self-Distribution: Marvelous or Onerous?
Presenters: Laura Lodge, Owner/Consultant, Distribution Insight

Viewed by some as an opportunity and a gift, but by others a nightmare, self-distribution can be both at times. Join a diverse collection of panelists with decades of experience from different walks of the alcoholic beverage industry as they explore the positive and negative aspects of self-distribution. Learn how to take the most of the opportunity while managing potential pitfalls in this interactive session.


Creating an Effective Loyalty Program for Your Craft Brand
Presenter: Karen Barnes, Owner, Wine Direct Marketing Services, Inc.

Are you leveraging the passion your customers have for your craft brand? Already have a loyalty program but want to take it to the next level? Learn the ins and outs of creating an effective loyalty program for your distillery or brewery including promotion, implementation and management using key technologies and proven customer service tools. Whether you are a cidery, meadery or winery, learn how to structure your program, review recruitment and retention strategies, implement staff training and incentives, and create effective marketing techniques for success.


How to Win Your Local Market and Why You Need To Keep It
Presenter: David Perks, Owner, The Perks Agency

With more people getting excited about craft and artisan beverage production, new brands enter local markets every day. The fight to the top of these markets is often goal #1 in order to increase profitability, build brand recognition, and drive onsite tourism. This session is designed for all levels of experience in which everyone from startups to seasoned pros will learn how to create and implement a local market plan that capitalizes on the strengths of modern digital and word of mouth techniques. Creativity is the driving force behind it all. Attendees will leave with actionable items you can implement immediately upon your return home.


Creating the Right Visitor Experience for Your Brand
Presenters: Nate Young, Marketing Instructor, Portland State University, TBD

The days of “build it and they will come” are long gone. Your tasting room, brewpub, or tour are about customer interaction and the visitor experience needs to be an integral part of your marketing plan. Make your customer and visitor experience true to your brand. Join us as we help guide you through the importance of establishing goals and objectives for your venue, determining your target audience, understanding staff and staffing, and ensuring that customers’ experience matches the brand you are striving to promote.


A Branding Story: Developing a Successful Creative Campaign
Presenter: Jason C. Roberson, Consumer Product Branding

Your brand has a story to tell. To successfully tell that story, you need to understand the effective techniques for maintaining continuity in your brand story across multiple marketing channels. Join our presenter, Jason Roberson as he examines local and national campaigns for the key elements which lead to a successful creative campaign. Learn techniques for consistently expressing your brand narrative across all consumer touch-points using integrated logos, packaging, labeling, social media imagery, and event graphics. Tell your brand story in a unified voice across all consumer touch-points!


Closing General Session: How to Find Your New Competitive Advantage
Presenter: Tom Flanagan, Co-Founder, Nut+Bolt

Instead of simply fighting for market share, Tom will discuss how helping to create a new market and/or growing a tiny portion of a current market into a very large one is the better strategy. He will explain how market entry must be timed to translate a set of ideas and product at exactly the time the demand is there. Simply put, he will discuss proven tactics to ensure that you are developing the right beverage at the right time for the right audience.