The Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference heads to a different, beer-oriented location every year. While much of the actual professional content of the conference could be held anywhere, the conference is also very much about beer and the local beer scene. By moving the conference each year, attendees get exposed to new and exciting breweries, beers, and beer cultures while local breweries get introduced to the BBC and its attendees.
Tampa Bay is more than just a sunny spot. It’s a sunny BEER spot. Home to 45 production breweries according to Tampa Bay Brew News, with many more in the planning stages, the Tampa Bay area is teeming with beer activity. Tampa ranked second in a poll of best beer towns by USA Today in 2014. Tampa Bay’s Cigar City Brewing came in 5th place in the “Top 10 Breweries 2015” category at this year’s United States Open Beer Championship in which nearly 4,000 beers were entered from around the globe.
In determining where to locate the conference, we look at dozens of potential locations and include a number of criteria. The will of our attendees is very important but, sometimes, we also like to choose places that are up-and-coming beer scenes not yet on the radar of our alumni. Tampa Bay has a surging beer scene we think our attendees will love.
- The Visit Tampa Bay organization has been awesome in prioritizing the conference because they recognize the BBC and its attendees can help tell the story of Tampa’s beer scene to the world.
- The local community has committed to provide two beer dinners, Live Beer Blogging, and a Saturday evening party as part of the conference – all with local beers.
- We had six attendees from Florida at this year’s conference, including local Tampa beer blogger and BBC Advisory Board member Gerard Walen from the blogs Road Trips for Beer and Beer in Florida, who has been and will be a big help in making sure the conference features the best of the area.
- We were able to get a great rate of only $139 at the four-star Marriott Tampa Waterside hotel, which has been stellar in providing us the space we need for the conference (including room to do breakout sessions next year).
Worried about visiting Florida in the summer? There are many reasons to visit Tampa Bay in the summer and beer is only one of them. In addition, we know the summer months work well for our attendees and flights to Tampa should be very reasonable.
The 2015 conference in Asheville sold out three months in advance at 160 attendees. We have upped our capacity to 180 for next year but still expect to sell out. Registration for BBC16 is open now. We look forward to seeing you in sunny and over-the-top beer-oriented Tampa Bay, Florida July 8-10, 2016!