6th annual Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference to be held near Ann Arbor

Learn the latest in production information, market and industry trends for the craft beer raw material supply sector, and network with brewers, growers and industry representatives.

The 6th annual Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference offers hop and barley growers an opportunity to learn the latest in production information, market and industry trends for the craft beer raw material supply sector, and network with brewers, growers and industry representatives. The conference will be held March 5-7, 2020, at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest near Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The conference was established to help support growers and brewers, as well as the ingredients that are supplied to Michigan’s craft beverage industry. Featuring several nationally and internally renowned speakers, attendees will learn necessary information to remain successful in the market. 

“This conference is the premiere event for hop and barley growers east of the Rockies,” said Dr. Rob Sirrine, a Senior Educator for MSU Extension with statewide leadership for hops education, outreach and research. “We are thrilled to attract the quality lineup of speakers we have this year, and provide the information necessary to keep Michigan’s Craft Beer Industry vibrant. Attendees involved in all facets of the hop, barley, and craft beer industries are sure to find something of interest.” 

The conference features an introductory pre-conference session on Thursday for beginners, or those who are relatively new to the industry. It features University experts who will share knowledge on the basics of the hop and barley industries, including planting and harvesting, hopyard construction, storage options, pest management, processing and marketing.

The full conference will kick off on Friday with welcome remarks from Gary McDowell, chair of the Michigan Craft Beverage Council and director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. After hearing from Director McDowell, attendees will hear a keynote presentation from Chris Swersey, supply chain specialist for the Brewers Association. In his role, he seeks long-term opportunities to ensure Brewers Association members have sufficient supply of high-quality ingredients. Chris will discuss the state of a changing craft beer industry and dive deep into the hop and barley sectors.

After an opportunity to visit with vendors and network, the conference will feature two tracks with advanced topics:

  • Hop Track: Featuring disease and pest management updates; knowledge learned from the Lupulin Exchange; updates on marketing, differentiating and quality testing; highlights from the mass spec project, results from the brewer survey and rounding out with a profitability panel.
  • Barley & Malt Track: Featuring industry trends, storage and quality, research updates, supply chain development, risk management tools, disease management and concluding with a regional maltsters panel.

Attendees will end day one with the Michigan Brewers Guild reception, with the opportunity to network with other brewers, growers and vendors in order to make connections that will help their business succeed.

Saturday will feature updates from Jesse Bussard, executive director of the Craft Maltsters Guild and the Hop Growers of Michigan. Attendees will participate in a single hop beer comparison to determine the effect of terroir on hop and beer aroma and flavor. The conference will conclude with a post-conference ‘sip and network’ session at Ann Arbor Brewing, featuring Michigan craft beers and delicious bites. This special event will include a guided tasting looking at malts, hops, and processes, along with a beer pairing lunch.

Registration is open for the sixth annual Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference. Registration for the preconference is $50, for the full conference is $225 per person, and the optional offsite event on Saturday is $30 per person.  Discounted lodging is available at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest until January 31, 2020. Call 1-877-757-7133 or 1-800-228-9290 and mention you are part of Michigan State University to receive the discounted nightly rate of $120 per night, plus tax. Alternatively, attendees may Book the group rate for Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference online. Parking for hotel guests is free. 

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