Smithsonian Food & Beer Expert Susan Evans to Provide Keynote Speech

susan-evans-photo-credit-briget-ganskeSusan Evans, who serves as Director of the Smithsonian Food History Programs and was previously Marketing Manager of Magic Hat Brewing Company in Vermont, will provide a keynote speech at the 2017 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference.

We are very excited about this in part because Susan comes to the conference both from a traditional path (a brewery) and a non-traditional path (as someone involved with a beer history project at our national museum). We caught up with Susan to ask her a few questions.


You are the Director, Smithsonian Food History Programs, at the National Museum of American History. How did you get such a cool job and what does it entail?

My experiences working both in museums and in craft brewing have come together in this amazing role, where I get to work with our curators, researcher, scholars, and educators to use stories of food to connect audiences with American history. Food and drinks are a great way to make personal connections to broader stories of history. One example is our chocolate demonstration program where we take audiences through the process of making drinking chocolate in the Colonial era and then make connections to late 18th century global trade routes. Starting with chocolate makes it a lot easier to find a personal connection to historic stories of global trade routes!

We found you, of course, because the National Museum of American History posted a job opportunity for the role of Historian / Scholar of the American Brewing History Initiative. Why was this role created and what will this person do?

We are thrilled to launch the American Brewing History Initiative! Brewing and beer have been an important part of the American experience since before the nation’s founding and continue to shape industry and community life to present day. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is uniquely positioned to document the stories of American brewers and collect the material culture of the industry and brewing communities for the benefit of scholars, researchers, and the public. The new historian on the project will explore how beer and brewing connect to larger themes in American history, from agriculture to business, from culture to economics. The person will conduct research, both archival and oral histories, and document that as part of the Smithsonian’s collections. An important part of the role will be sharing that research with the public, through programs, presentations, and on social media too….so look out for more on beer history from the National Museum of American History in 2017.

The American Brewing History Initiative is already up and running, including a collection of historic documents and objects and programming related to the beer industry. How has the project and the events been received by the public?

People love learning about beer…and we’ve had a great response to this project so far. Our programs on brewing history have brought together pioneers in the craft brewing industry together with historians to talk about the impact of brewing on American history. And, no one turns down the opportunity to learn about history by tasting it through beer!

You yourself spent three years as Marketing Manager of Magic Hat Brewing Company in Vermont. Obviously that experience gave you a leg up on your current job. But do you miss working directly in the craft beer industry?

I had an incredible experience working at Magic Hat Brewing Company, and I continue to build on those experiences in my current role at the Smithsonian. In my time in the world of beer, I found that the craft brewing industry and community are a tremendously friendly, warm, and welcoming group. Collaboration is one of the core values of the industry, which makes it a great group to work with. Luckily, in my role at the Smithsonian, we have the opportunity through the American Brewing History Initiative to bring brewers into the museum and continue to work together.

As keynote of the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference, have you thought at all yet about what topics you might address or messages you might impart to the audience?

I think breweries and museums have a lot to learn from each other about building relationships with their audiences. Beer bloggers and writers have been incredibly influential in creating a craft beer community.  I’m looking forward to talking about my own experiences in both industries, sharing more about what we’re working on for the American Brewing History Initiative, and hearing from conference attendees about their work and where they think the brewing industry is headed.

Call for Content and Speakers at the 2017 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference

Speaker applications and content suggestions are now open for the 2017 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference and will remain open until November 13th.

We are ready to hear from you to create an exceptional schedule and content sessions for next year. If you are an expert, have a story that needs to be told, and can impart some necessary wisdom upon our community, then we want to hear from you!


You will be asked to select from among the following content categories:

  • Blogging & Social Media: There are dozens of excellent potential topics involving blogging and social media. Keep in mind 2016 will be the seventh annual Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference so we have covered many topics. Topics that will be most successful are those at an advanced level or covering new ground.
  • Business & Career: Many beer bloggers wish to launch from their blog to a part-time or full-time career in consulting, events, or even brewing.
  • Beer Industry: These sessions will not include beer pouring and can include a wide range of topics, from current trends in brewing to best practices for interviewing brewers. All content should be of interest to beer bloggers and writers.

Most sessions at the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference that involve beer take place during meals, events, or sponsored sessions. If you are interested, please contact

Please note this process does not include keynote speakers. Please contact us directly if you have suggestions about a keynote speaker.


Everyone is free to submit suggestions, whether you have attended the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference before or not. Our speakers include bloggers, writers, breweries, PR firms, and others – the key is to suggest excellent content with credible speakers. You also need not want to present yourself as you can simply suggest a content idea.


  • Open call for speakers: October 20 – November 13. We will accept your proposals and suggestions until November 13, 2016.
  • Session reviewNovember 14 – 17, 2016. We will review all content submissions. We do not have enough room to include all submissions and so will make decisions on which are most applicable, combine similar sessions, and edit others as we deem appropriate.
  • Alumni voting: November 18 – 30. We will ask BBC alumni to vote on submissions.
  • Content & Speaker Announcements: First Half of December. We will update the BBC17 agenda  and contact speakers whose sessions will be included in the conference.

Submit Your Content now and please remember to Register for BBC17, August 3-6 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Zephyr Conferences Hiring Part-Time Beer Marketing Person

Please note we have filled this position.

The Beer Now Conference (the new European Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference), which focuses on marketing, tourism, and communications for today’s beer industry and will take place March 17 – 19 in Sheffield, UK, is hiring to fill a part-time marketing position.

Responsibilities of this individual are to:

  • Manage social media (primarily Twitter and Facebook) of the conference
  • Conduct email marketing to target markets, primarily the European beer industry
  • Update and grow databases of our contacts within this target market
  • Create content for the conference website

The ideal candidate would:

  • Be located in the UK since that is where the conference will take place
  • Have experience within the beer industry
  • Have experience with digital marketing
  • Be self-motivated, well organized, and detail oriented

The job can be done in approximately 10 hours per week (1/4 time) from a home office. This is an ideal job for a UK-based beer blogger but we will consider candidates from outside the UK too. If interested, please send a summary of your qualifications to info at beer now .org.

The European Beer Bloggers Conference is Becoming Beer Now

The European Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference (EBBC) is changing its focus, name, and URL and is becoming the Beer Now Conference with a spotlight on “marketing, tourism, and communications in today’s beer industry.” The 2017 conference will take place March 17-19 in Sheffield, the United Kingdom, running sequentially with BeerX.

Beer Now logo no taglineWe at Zephyr Conferences love the EBBC. It is our only conference that takes place outside North America. It is our only conference that regularly rotates countries. It is our conference with the most international mix of attendees. What is not to love about hanging out in our host cities of London, Leeds, Edinburgh, Dublin, Brussels, and Amsterdam with a bunch of enthusiasts who all passionately write about beer?

At the same time, the EBBC is our smallest conference, about 1/2 the size of the North American Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference, which itself is our smallest conference on the other side of the pond. And we understand this. There are simply a lot fewer active English-language beer blogs in Europe (166 Citizen Bloggers, by our count) than there are in North America (654). And most of those are located in the UK.

So we are making this change to Beer Now to ensure European beer bloggers and writers still have a conference to attend in 2017 and years from now.

The primary difference with Beer Now is we are expanding the content and thus expanding the audience. We will continue offering sessions on blogging, writing, and social media. But we will expand this to include other forms of marketing (search engine optimization, email marketing, digital advertising, etc) in addition to a focus on what is becoming a hot subject in the industry, beer tourism (events, tap room management, regional promotions, etc).

Frankly, we think everyone wins.

  • Beer bloggers and writers in Europe still have their own conference with content applicable to them. You will have access to expanded content that will serve you in your current endeavors and help you expand your industry involvement if you so choose. You will have access to more conference sponsors and industry attendees than you now have with the EBBC.
  • The beer industry (brewery marketing, communications, and tap room managers; brewery associations; tourism promotion agencies; beer tour operators; etc) has a new conference focused on a side of today’s beer industry (marketing, tourism, and communications) that is under-served in terms of industry training. Plus, sponsors and attendees of Beer Now will have access to the extremely influential beer bloggers and writers who attend.
  • We at Zephyr Conferences have an expanded base of attendees and sponsors that should make the conference viable into the future.

The final kicker is the 2017 Beer Now Conference will take place March 17 – 19 in Sheffield, the United Kingdom in partnership with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and in conjunction with their annual BeerX conference. Our attendees will have access to some BeerX events and BeerX attendees can add on participation at Beer Now.

Interested in Beer Now? Here is what you can do:

  1. Register now. Registration is open and prices will gradually increase. Citizen Beer Bloggers & Published Beer Writers receive 50% off the regular rates. The Beer Now conference will be less expensive than the EBBC if you register now.
  2. Follow @BeerNowCon on Twitter. We are just getting started.
  3. Sign up to receive email alerts each time we post news on the Beer Now website. This is the best way to stay updated.
  4. Most importantly, if you are a European beer blogger or writer, we hope you continue to see Beer Now as your conference. You are just sharing it a bit more.

We will see you in Sheffield in March!

Milwaukee #BBC17 Early Registration – Best Numbers Yet

Conference attendance is rising – Early Registration for BBC17 – Milwaukee shows that the conference is set up to be one of our biggest yet. 

Early registration for #BBC17 in Milwaukee showed the most promise of all past conferences, resulting in the highest number of registrations in the month we announced the conference. In fact, if we continue this pace #BBC17 is sure to be one of our biggest conferences ever!

As of July 31, 2017, the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference had 34 people registered for the Milwaukee conference, which is still 13 months away.

Why attend #BBC17 – Milwaukee?

We explained in a previous post why we are taking the 2017 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference to “Brew City.” Milwaukee, Wisconsin is not only a perfect place to meet to discuss beers of today, it’s also a lesson in American history, and that is the kind of stuff beer writers and bloggers live for! Read about last month’s #BBC16 – Tampa experience and highlights so you know what to expect in Milwaukee.

What are you waiting for? Register today!

Kathy Flanigan – Beer Culture Writer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Kathy FlaniganKathy Flanigan is a Tap Milwaukee reporter who writes about, among other things, the beer culture in our 2017 host city. She is also writing a book on the breweries of Wisconsin and so is one of the foremost experts in the state. We caught up with her via an emailed interview to ask about her job and the local beer scene.

I see you have worked for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 22 years. When did you take on the role of craft beer reporter and how did it happen?

Funny story. I am a general assignment reporter for features and entertainment. Three years ago my editor wanted me to take on a part-time beat. She suggested women. I did some research. I tried some ideas out. There is no part-time when you’re talking about half the population. Then I wrote about women and beer. And I kept writing about beer.

It was serendipitous timing. Craft beer really started to take off here then.

You are writing a book on the breweries of Wisconsin. Where did you get the idea for that? How much work is it and how long will it take?

I wish I could take credit for the idea. Globe Pequot came to me (thanks to a recommendation from beer-and-food writer Lucy Saunders). I’m a third of the way in visiting breweries and I have — heart palpitations here — two and a half months to finish it. 

Again, the timing works because here at the Journal Sentinel we’ve developed an interactive guide to every brewery in the state. I’ve been using that to help me get to each of them. I think I’m at 50 right now. There are 140, give or take.

Is it discouraging to write a book about something that will be out of date likey before it is published?

I’m writing it so that the book will still be a valuable guide to the state’s regions, some of which I really hadn’t visited before now. And they’re beautiful areas. New Glarus is nestled in rolling hill farm country. Central Waters is a solar and taste achievement in central Wisconsin. Driftless Brewing is smack in the middle of the state’s organic farming region. The beer is good. The food is good. The scenery is beautiful.The breweries are the cherry on that sundae.

You mentioned Milwaukee is “behind” in the craft beer boom but recovering quickly with the onslaught of new brewery openings this year. Why do you think Milwaukee, with its rich beer history, is behind the times now?

I ask people that all the time. Some say there was a strong loyalty to Miller here. Relatives, friends and neighbors have worked or worked there. Miller is a great investor in the city — the Brewers play at Miller Park, for example. I drive past the brewery everyday on my way to work.

We had three great craft breweries here for a long time. Sprecher, Lakefront and Milwaukee Brewing. Now the city is attracting more entrepreneurs and natives, who moved elsewhere to brew, feel like they can come home and own their own brewery now. Any old way, it’s a good time to be in Brew City again.

And who are these new breweries planning to open?


Black Husky

Like Minds Brewing

City Lights Brewing 

Third Space


Enlightened Brewing

Biloba Brewing

Milwaukee Brewing 

No official opening dates:

R’Noggin Brewing

Pabst Brewing

Westallion Brewing Co.

Broken Bat Brewery

The Explorium

You have worked in the newspaper industry a long time. Does craft beer reporting rank up there among your most fun roles?

Yes. But I should probably expand, right? We have great business reporters who cover the business of beer. I sort of picked up on the cultural side of it — who drinks it, who makes it and what are their stories. I have always like that part of journalism and storytelling.

Join Us In Milwaukee for BBC17

The 2017 Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference is to be held in the great city of Milwaukee August 3-6.  We are thrilled to be hosting this conference in #brewcity for the first time ever and know our attendees will not only find the agenda and events outstanding, they will also find the location absolutely ideal for craft beer enthusiasts.

Why Milwaukee?

We explained in a previous post why we are taking the 2017 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference to “Brew City.” Milwaukee, Wisconsin is not only a perfect place to meet to discuss beers of today, it’s also a lesson in American history, and that is the kind of stuff beer writers and bloggers live for!

Celebrating 155+ Years of History

From 1840, when Richard Owens opened the first brewery in Milwaukee to present day, Milwaukee’s history has been inextricably linked to beer. Beer is not so much present in Milwaukee’s culture as it IS its culture. We already know that Milwaukee is the place to be when it comes to celebrating American beer. That is why we are excited to learn about Milwaukee’s unique heritage with the beer bloggers and writers of the world at the BBC conference August 3-6, 2017.

Milwaukee’s Unique Beer History

Milwaukee has a unique position in the history of American beer. No other American city is the ancestral home of such beer giants as Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz, and MillerCoors, whose original breweries still stand in the city. No other city is historically referred to as “Brew City” – a name that lives on in earnest as Milwaukee is home not just to classics brands, but to modern day brewing pioneers like Sprecher, Lakefront, and MKE Brewing. With over 10 breweries-in-planning slated to open in the next 12 months, Milwaukee promises to be a beer destination for years to come. BBC17 incorporates excursions to Lakefront, Good City Brewing and Brenner Brewing Co. as well as a beer dinner hosted by MillerCoors – MKE.

More than Beer and Cheese

While Milwaukee may claim the moniker for beer and cheese there is a lot more of the city to explore. From a lakefront that can challenge views on the West Coast to a restaurant scene that competes with Chicago’s best foodie spots, Milwaukee is a world class destination for beer tourism. From Fish Frys to late night dancing at Milwaukee’s number 1 dance club Mad Planet, there are plenty of local activities to immerse yourself in between BBC excursions.

Hilton Milwaukee – Ideal Downtown Location

The Hilton Milwaukee Downtown is the host hotel for Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference to be held in August 2017. The Hilton Milwaukee Downtown is in the heart of the city’s business and financial district and just minutes from Lake Michigan with its beautiful beaches, parks and recreational areas. The downtown Milwaukee Wisconsin hotel is connected by skywalk to The Wisconsin Center and only a few blocks away from the Milwaukee Theatre, US Cellular Arena, and the Bradley Center.

Register today for #BBC17 and you, too can shout “Hello, Wisconsin!” with the country’s leading beer bloggers and writers.

BBWC17 to Take Place August 3-6 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The 2017 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference will take place August 3-6 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – “beer capital of the world”. Registration is open now.

Premier.VISITMilwaukeeWell, Milwaukee used to be known as the beer capital of the world. With breweries popping up in the city as early as the 1840s, the city was eventually home to four major brewing giants: Pabst, Blatz, Miller, and Schlitz. And we will revel in that history, with our conference taking place at the historic Pabst Brewery and with one dinner taking place at the MillerCoors brewery, which has over 1,200 employees and brews up to 10 million gallons of beer per year.

But times have changed and Milwaukee is well entrenched in the beer revolution. We’ll not only drink beers from many of the newer brewery entrants but also visit three smaller breweries during the conference. Included in our stops are Lakefront Brewery for a tour and tasting, Good City Brewing for dinner, and Brenner Brewing for a post-dinner party.

What’s even better, there are several beer-centric cities within a few hours travel and we are planning TWO overnight excursions (one pre and one post) to two of these three locations. Details coming soon.

  • Grand Rapids, MI and Bell’s Brewery (via ferry)
  • Chicago and Lagunitas
  • Madison, WI and New Glarus Brewing

We are especially thankful to have Visit Milwaukee on our side as our local organizing host. The team there is proud of their beer industry and helped to make this happen for our our 2017 attendees. In fact, Visit Milwaukee and the local brewing community were so eager to host beer bloggers they put together an entire website to convince us to choose Milwaukee!

New this year we will offer discounted rates as follows for early registration:

  • Through July 31, 2016: $95 Citizen Bloggers, $195 Industry Bloggers, $295 Others
  • Through December 31, 2016: $120 Citizen Bloggers, $245 Industry Bloggers, $345 Others
  • January 1, 2017 and Later: $145 Citizen Bloggers, $295 Industry Bloggers, $395 Others

Registration is now open for BBC17 so please join us!

10 Reasons to Attend Three Beer Conferences

We at Zephyr Conferences now organize three beer-industry conferences: The Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference in North America, the European Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference, and the Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference.

Here are ten reasons beer bloggers should consider attending these conferences:

Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference

  1. You should find the content relevant to your blogs. We have a three-hour session on Digital Marketing, a session on What Makes a Beer Story Attractive to the Media (that is you), and a panel on Working With Beer Bloggers: How and With Whom.
  2. You will find ideas that lead you from blogging to other beer industry endeavors. Interested to grow your blog to something more? There will be sessions on Creating & Growing a Food, Wine, or Beer Tour Operator Business and on Organizing Effective Events and running beer festivals.
  3. You will make great contacts. This is an industry conference, so you’ll be rubbing elbows with marketing folks from breweries, brewers guilds, and other beer tourism related organizations.
  4. Who knows? You might even find a job. We have had a number of beer bloggers move into full-time roles with breweries or guilds and attending this conference will at minimum show you are dedicated to the subject.
  5. As a Citizen Beer Blogger, you get $200 off the registration cost if you plan to cover the conference. Just email us for a discount code and remember to register now as prices increase July 1.

Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference

  1. These are THE annual conferences for beer bloggers and writers. The BBWC is now in its seventh year and the EBBWC is in its sixth. If you want to be a serious beer blogger, this is the place to be.
  2. The content is king. These are the only conferences where the content is tailored to beer bloggers and writers, with a combination of practical information (social media, videography, search engine optimization) and potential story ideas (sour beers, faults, etc).
  3. But the people is why you’ll return. If you are a beer blogger working remotely from your home “office”, you might not have a lot of contact with other bloggers. This is your chance to make connections, share notes, and drink a beer together with both bloggers and industry representatives.
  4. You get a heck of a lot for very little cost. Thanks to our sponsors, registration fees at the BBWC and EBBWC are low and benefits (meals, beer, and content) are high. We even negotiate great deals on hotels and pick locations (Tampa and Amsterdam) that are easy to reach. If you haven’t looked up airfares recently, you might be surprised.
  5. Make It a Vacation! If you are a North American beer blogger, what better reason do you have to organize a trip to Europe than to attend the European Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference?

Come join us!


Announcing the Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference

BMTC website

Zephyr Conferences is proud to announce our newest conference, the Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference. The conference will take place March 28-30, 2017 in Asheville, North Carolina and Citizen Beer Bloggers are eligible for a $200 discount. (See below.)

The craft beer revolution is booming. Yet, with increasing numbers of breweries throughout the United States and the world, competition for tap room visitors and retail shelf space is becoming competitive. It is because of this that beer tourism and beer marketing are now of strategic importance.

The Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference is for the beer and tourism industries. But beer bloggers are very welcome: to learn, gain subject matter, and report on the conference. Citizen Bloggers are eligible for a $200 discount if you plan to report on the conference (just email us for a code) and, regardless, we hope you help us spread the word.

We at Zephyr are already quite involved with beer tourism. We run beer tours with our Taste Vacations tour company and active beer tours with Zephyr Adventures. We ran workshops on beer tourism and beer marketing last November in Virginia to test the concept. And we are in our sixth year of operating a similar Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference.

We are excited to add this new conference to our Zephyr Conferences schedule!