Long Beach, Calif — Thursday and Friday, Sept. 12 & 13, the Long Beach Convention Center was filled to the brim with beer. Not necessarily beer itself, but brewers and industry vendors who came to talk everything from malt and hops to fermenters, to talk about everything beer.
Typically held in Sacramento the California Craft Beer Summit was traveled south for the first time. The Summit brought nearly 170 individual breweries and other industry professionals to town to share their passion for the industry.
While Saturday’s festival was open to the public the events on Thursday and Friday were mostly meant for industry professionals. This doesn’t mean that it was completely shut off from the public, but it would require a VIP ticket to enter. Once inside participants are greeted by a large diagram showing the history of breweries in California.
To the left are vendors, peddling everything from malt, to recyclable kegs, to high tech canning machines; and to the right, there is a booth displaying all of the various hops a vendor has for sale. While this is an opportunity for people to come and learn about the brewing industry and craft beers it is also a prime time for those looking to make connections and sales.
There are brewer’s guilds present from all over the state, from San Diego, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and Northern California. They are there to provide information about the various breweries they represent and talk about the benefits of being a member
Dean Palmer was the representative of San Diego based Kegstar, he was there to inform the brewers about their keg pricing and shipping options. “Most of the big keg distributors don’t want to deal with the little guys, they just want volume. That’s where we come in” he said.
The wonderful thing about the Summit is that it brought people from all over the industry, and from all sizes of businesses like Dean. He said that many of their clients started off only ordering a few kegs per month, but now many of them are asking for pallets at a time.
With the Summit typically being held in Sacramento, it was a big deal to have it moved down to Long Beach for the fifth annual show. As a result, many many of our local brewers were there to show everyone why that was the right choice. Steady LB had a prominent booth near the center of the show floor.
One of the vendors on site was the American Cornhole Association, showing off modern updates to the best game you can play with a beer in your other hand. A new tabletop version of corn hole was on display which used tiny catapults to propel the sacks across the “field” of play. The set on display was custom emblazoned with USC logos, but they said they can be made to order with any logo in mind.
In the back left corner of the convention hall was “Can Land” a section devoted to the canning process and all of the things that go along with it. From the cans themselves to bottles and growlers, the machinery used to can the drinks, a service that will come to your brewery and handle the canning process for you and even some graphic designers and label makers to help make sure your beer stands out on a shelf.
Overall, the chance to walk about and see all the things that go into making our favorite beverages was an eye-opening experience and helped to highlight the amount of work that goes into creating the craft beers we love. It also goes to show all of the different kinds of work that exist in the industry.
While the trade show isn’t exactly geared towards the public I would highly encourage anyone with an interest in joining the industry to attend. For more information, you can visit the California Craft Beer Summit’s website. https://www.californiacraftbeer.com/craft-beer-summit/
Also, check out our writeup on Saturday’s Festival to see the other side of the events!