The Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America isn’t exactly a beer festival – even if it feels like one at times. In fact, it’s more like a Star Trek Convention for beer geeks. Hundreds of exhibitors teach seminars on everything from new brewing techniques to the proper way to pour a draft beer. The latter is a seven-hour class. And you thought it was as easy as pulling a tap handle? The keynote was delivered by prolific food author and journalist, Michael Pollan. Most of us are aware of his impressive catalog and food activism, but did you know he was a home-brewer?
This year, there was a willing audience of 9,000 beer industry professionals – a record for the conference and a sure sign of the craft beer industry’s growth and clout. It didn’t hurt that the event was in Denver, one of America’s great beer cities – outside of Oregon, of course. Cosgrave beer lawyer, Marcus Reed, attended the conference along with a sizable Oregon contingent. “I was really impressed by the prevalence of the Oregon beer industry at the conference,” says Marcus. “Living in Oregon, I think we take it for granted that we are living at the center of the craft beer universe. Oregon was everywhere at the conference, with Oregon businesses like Crosby Hop Farm in the exhibition hall, Teri Fahrendorf of Country Malt Group and the Pink Boots Society winning the BA Recognition Award, John Harris of Ecliptic Brewing hosting the Troubleshooting Panel, Pelican Brewing winning Champion Brewery, and Oregon brewers everywhere you looked.”
With this year’s CBC wrapped up, all eyes are on Portland, as it is set to host next year’s conference, April 14-17, 2015.
The conference culminated with the 2014 World Beer Cup awards. Brewers from five continents and 1,400 breweries submitted 5,000 beers for the 10th annual WBC, which is held every other year.
A panel of international judges awarded 281 medals across 94 beer style categories. Fourteen different Oregon breweries won a total of 17 medals, with Cosgrave clients winning their share of awards, including Pacific City’s Pelican Pub and Brewery, which won the coveted Brewery and Brewmaster award in the Small Brewing Company category.
World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster
Small Brewing Company
Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Darron Welch & Steve Panos
Category 1: American-Style Wheat Beer, 23 Entries
Category 19: American-Style Brett Beer, 35 Entries
Category 70: English-Style India Pale Ale, 41 Entries
Category 84: Golden or Blonde Ale, 67 Entries
Category 87: American-Style India Pale Ale, 224 Entries