Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Duluth Experience Craft Beer Roundtable: The Drink of Opportunity

A couple days ago was the first of 4 events in the North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable hosted by The Duluth Experience. The idea behind the event is to give people a behind-the-scenes look at the craft brewing scene in the area. I have been given the privilege to help promote this event as well as meet some pretty awesome people and getting a great perspective into the craft beer scene here on the North Shore. Cheers to Lake Superior Brewing for providing free complimentary beer during Sunday's event!

The first session, The Drink of Opportunity, focused on the business of running brewery or brewpub. Moderated by The Duluth Experience's Paul Helstrom, the panel consisted of 5 brewery owners:

At the start of the panel discussion, a great question that was brought up about the challenges faced by the owners in terms of running a brewery. The big one for me was trying to educate the consumer about different beer styles and generating interest in craft beer in general. The last points touched upon in this topic included procuring resources for making beer as well as getting together the funding needed for starting a brewery.

The next topic covered was about laws and regulations. The big talking points were regarding a brewpub's right to distribute commercially (or lack thereof) and the need for Sunday Growler Sales, which is looking very likely this year. Another good big discussion topic were the laws, regulations and politics surrounding the brewing industry as a whole, both on a local and statewide scale, and how that has been evolving as the brewing scene grows stronger.

A couple other good points which were made during the panel included talking about the huge potential that the Twin Ports beer scene has to generate interest on a national scale in regards to tourism and the social aspect for the community; For example, artists and musicians.

The last topic touched upon was how homebrewing is driving education in the craft beer industry and how it's not only used as a measurement, but it also helps make people better brewers. Finally a issue brought up was recognizing how women are driving homebrewing now more than ever before. This was probably one of my favorite talking points because I feel that women in general are painfully underrepresented and/or misrepresented as a whole in the craft beer industry.

Overall I thought it was a very informative event which covered a wide array of great topics. If you missed this event, don't worry! There are still 3 more events which you can attend:

April 13th: “Crafting the North Shore Beer Scene” – The Brewers Roundtable
Moderated by: Tim Wilson – The Duluth Experience

Dave Hoops – Fitger’s Brewhouse
Dale Kleinschmidt – Lake Superior Brewing Co.
Jason Baumgarth – Carmody Irish Pub & Brewery
Jeremy King – Canal Park Brewing Co.
Brian Schanzenbach – Blacklist Brewing

May 18th: “Riding the Wave of Beer” – Craft Beer Related Business
Moderated by: James Sanders – The Duluth Experience

Marissa Sauer – Northlandbeer.com
Paul Riordan – Brule River Hill Top Hops
Brad Nelson – Star Creative
Carolyn Jones – CMT Farm
Paul Helstrom – The Duluth Experience

June 22nd: “Women of the North Shore Craft Beer Scene” – A Candid Discussion on the State of Women in Brewing
Moderated by: Elissa Hansen – Barley’s Angels Duluth/Superior Chapter

Allyson Rolph – Thirsty Pagan Brewing
Jamie MacFarlane – Castle Danger Brewing
Liz Gleason – Carmody Irish Pub & Brewery
Laura Mullen – Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Melissa Rainville – Fitger’s Brewhouse

All the events will be held at Teatro Zuccone in the Zeitgeist Arts Building at 222 East Superior Street in Duluth, Minnesota. Tickets for each event are only $5 and all proceeds from the event will be donated to a local charity. For more information about the North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable call (218) 464-6337 or visit The Duluth Experience website at: www.theduluthexperience.com/special-events/craft-beer-roundtable/

If you weren't able to make it the first time around, here is your chance to attend one of these great and fun events! I hope to see you all there.


- Nick


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  2. Great synopsis Nick! Thanks for your continued support for the North Shore Craft Beer Scene!