New Sister Conference: Beer Marketing & Tourism

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.

Yes, this is a conference very similar to our Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference. We are now in our sixth year of running the WMTC so the new beer version is a bit later to the scene. But that is as you would expect; beer tourism itself is just now becoming established.

As a member of the wine industry, you are undoubtedly familiar with the raging craft beer industry. Here are some details for you.

  • The craft beer revolution is booming. Craft beer sales by volume in the US were up 12.8% in 2015 on top of 18% growth in 2014.
  • Don’t think the craft beer revolution has peaked. Craft beer represents only 12.2% of the US beer market and it continues to take market share from the big brewers.
  • There are now over 4,400 licensed breweries in the US. More get added almost every single day.
  • With increasing numbers of breweries, competition for tap room visitors and retail shelf space is becoming tougher. It is because of this that beer marketing is now of strategic importance.
  • Beer tourism is just now becoming established, with two dozen vacation tour operators and day beer tour companies in most major US cities.

And here are some interesting things to consider when comparing beer to wine:

  • Breweries are generally not tied to their raw materials and thus can be located anywhere. Every city can have breweries and anywhere can be “beer country”. This is more similar to the “urban winery” model, which is only a small part of the wine industry.
  • Breweries are divided into categories: brewpubs, microbreweries (small), regional craft breweries (a bit bigger), regional breweries (the biggest craft brewers), and large breweries (the big boys). Of these, the first two, which make up the vast majority of breweries, often sell all or nearly all their beer from their own premises. Hence, “beer tourism” and tap room sales are just as important to the beer industry as are wine tourism and tasting room sales to the wine industry.
  • An interesting difference is that brewery tap rooms are set up more like bars, focused on consumption on premises. Yes, many breweries allowing tasting and some sell beer to go (in “growlers”). This comers to wineries where tasting rooms are primarily set up to induce to go purchases rather than on-premise consumption.
  • “Beer clubs” are not yet very established at all (in part because of greater shipping difficulties), as compared to the prominent position of wine clubs in winery marketing and sales

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 at the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference in Virginia to test the concept.

We are excited to add this new conference to our Zephyr Conferences schedule. Come join us if you have an interest in cross-pollinating!