2017 Conference Program

Check back regularly for updates! 

Confirmed Sessions

Opening General Session: Shift Happens! Are You Prepared?
Panelist: Paul Vander Heide, Owner, Vander Mill
Hillary Sjolund, Founder, Sonoris Wines
Fred Bueltmann, Partner, Beervangelist, Spirited Advisor, Certified Cicerone, New Holland Brewing Company and New Holland Artisan Spirits
Joe Heron, Founder, Cooper & Kings American Brandy Company
Moderator: Alan Kropf, Executive Director of Education, Anchor Distilling Company and Founder & President, Mutineer Films

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

Plenty of companies build a website, then never touch it again. Something resembling an island, especially in being isolated or having little or no direct communication with others. A website is simply a tool for your business, a small piece of your overall marketing drive. In order to properly drive traffic to it, you must align your content and follow the rules of the internet gods. In this session, A Website is an Island Unless You Drive Traffic to It, we will outline the do’s and don’ts of building a website and how to organically drive website traffic. We will discuss the user experience from navigation, overall design aspects, and removing the clutter. You will walk away with suggestions on how to drive traffic organically to your website through multiple pathways to ensure traffic.


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
Presenters: Alexa Carey, Destination Development Specialist, Travel Oregon
Lisa Itel, Global Sales Manager, Travel Oregon
Michelle McKenzie, Consumer Marketing Manager, Travel Portland
Trever Bass, Director of Operations, Hopworks Urban Brewery
Brooks Cooper, Chief Fermentation Officer, Oregon Mead & Cider Co.

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

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.


Creating Brand Reappraisal, A Marketer’s Toughest Test
Presenter: Christian McMahan, President, Wachusett Brewing Company

It’s easy to teach consumers something new, it’s so much harder to change their previously held opinion of you.

In this session, we will learn how companies have gone about trying to achieve the hardest of all marketing strategies, brand reappraisal.  We will see how some succeeded and some failed.  We will learn the multiple levers brand marketers have to pull from when going about this strategy and how to best identify if and when a brand is indeed in need of this approach.

Whether you are at the beginning of your brand journey or already down the road, understanding how to manage (and more importantly, avoid) brand reappraisal is one of the most important lessons for any consumer brand marketer today.


Connectors, Trendsetters and Celebrities: Successful & Compliant Influencer Marketing
Moderator: Rebecca Stamey-White, Partner, Hinman & Carmichael LLP
Panelists: Bryan Batten, Founder, Brewiety
Alan Kropf, Executive Director of Education, Anchor Distilling Company and Founder & President, Mutineer Films
others TBA

Everyone is looking for new ways to create visibility for their product beyond their own audience. How can you use influencer marketing to achieve this goal?  Join our panel as we discuss the ins and outs of this specific type of marketing and how to make it work for your business. From how to engage influencers and get them to share your brand story authentically to what makes a good influencer and how to find them, our panel will provide you the secrets to success. Topics to be addressed will include what platforms work best, what makes a campaign successful and what to do to avoid legal pitfalls along the way. Bring your questions!


Shared Tasting Room Models: Benefits for Your Brand
Panelists: Anne Hubatch, Winemaker/Cidermaker/Founder, Helioterra Wines and Alter Ego Cider
Kate Norris, Winemaker & Proprietor, SE Wine Collective
Ian Atkins, Owner, Way Down Winery and Winemaker, Flat Brim Wines

We all want to share the passion for our product with our consumers and what better way than through a tasting room.  But what if you don’t have the resources to do it on your own?  Co-op, collective, shared tasting rooms are an alternative option for those who want to get their product in front of consumers but don’t have the budget or space.  Learn the how and why of different shared tasting room options, including the pros and cons, from our experienced panelists.  What do you need to consider before entering in a shared venture?  What are the lessons learned?  Understand the benefits this opportunity brings to your brand while connecting you to consumers you may have thought were out of reach.