Must Attend Trade Shows of 2018

Must Attend Trade Shows of 2018

With 2018 winding up to be a big year for craft distillers, its time to start prepping for the conventions. Any distillery who has been doing this for a while knows how important these little get-togethers can be. This is where the best and the worst ideas (i.e., see the mistakes by the competition and avoid them) all come together for everyone to see.

We learn the trends before they become a trend, and we see how new technology can help with production. It doesn't matter whether or not you have a massive booth and display ready to set up, or are just there to see what's going on. Chances are you will you'll find something invaluable in achieving your distillery's goals. Best of all, we get to learn about and possibly sample some of the world's best craft spirits. 

There are some conventions related to the alcohol industry, including some regional affairs that can be a boon of info and connections to a local market. For craft distillers, there are two big ones that anyone who is serious about their business will want to attend. One is The Distillers Convention & Vendor' Trade Show put on by the American Craft Spirits Association. The other is The Annual Craft Spirits Conference & Vendors Expo done by the American Distilling Institute. Both have a lot to offer so be sure to hit at least one of them. 

The Distillers Convention & Vendor' Trade Show (ACSA)

Location: Pittsburg, PA

Dates: March 4th thru 6th

The biggest draw for this one is the long lost of rock star level (at least in distiller circles) speakers. Many of these individuals have spend decades in the industry and are there to impart their wisdom to those willing to listen. There are three tracks for convention gores to follow - marketing, technical, and business essentials. These cover everything from getting the most out of your tasting room, leveraging your brand's story into sales, maximizing flavor, and the usual stuff like the best way to work with your distributor and how to use data in your business. No single distillery owner/manager is so smart that they have all the bases covered. There is always something new to learn, and his particular trade show is a great place to learn it. 

The Annual Craft Spirits Conference & Vendors Expo (ADI)

Location: Portland, OR

Dates: March 26th thru 28th

Listening to some of the smartest minds in the industry speak is great, don't get me wrong here, but sometimes the best way to learn is by doing. This is where the ADI's Annual Craft Spirits Conference & Vendor's Expo shines. They offer a wide array of hands-on workshops where attendees can try their hand at gin, whiskey, rum, vodka, or brandy distilling.

It's a great way to see if a new spirit is something you want to incorporate into your distillery. There are also workshops that focus more on the general, daily operations of a working distillery which is suitable for those who are taking the first steps of that dream of opening their operation. One final note on conventions. For many, the total price of the tickets, rooms, food, and just getting there can create a sense of sticker shock. There are ways to save money like checking to see if any airlines give a discount for convention goers and stuffing the motel's in-room fridge with your food. (Bologna and cheese lunches for the win!!!) Even then, it will still cost a pretty penny. That said, it will cost you more in the long run to skip the convention than it will to go.