Strategize, Network and Exchange Ideas at the Top Conference for Brewery Entrepreneurs and Executives
Serious beer industry professionals gather twice a year at the Brewbound Session to exchange ideas, discuss the state of the industry and learn strategies for succeeding in the most competitive alcohol beverage segment.
Attendees will hear thought-provoking conversations with industry leaders, listen to inspiring presentations from emerging craft brewery entrepreneurs and engage in interactive panel discussions with experts from all three tiers of the beer industry.
The program is specifically designed to help attendees better understand a dynamic and rapidly evolving marketplace, while networking with like-minded entrepreneurs, investors, distributors, suppliers and retailers.
Brewbound Session will take place at the Metropolitan West Pavilion in New York, NY on June 15.
Summer 2017 Speakers
Founder, Heavy Seas Beer
A sixth generation Baltimorean, Hugh J. Sisson has been involved in all aspects of craft brewing. The Founder and Managing Partner of Heavy Seas Beer, Sisson is among Baltimore's premier authorities on craft brewing and a former manager of the state's first pub brewery, Sisson’s, located in Federal Hill. In the mid-eighties, Sisson, along with the help of Senator George W. Della, Jr., successfully lobbied the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation required to open a brew pub in Maryland. With the initiation of pub brewing in Baltimore in 1989, Sisson immersed himself in the development and market recognition of both Sisson's and its beers. In 1994, he left Sisson’s to begin a new venture, Clipper City Brewing Company. Clipper City has been in operation for more than 21 years and markets fine beers – under the brand name of Heavy Seas -- in 18 states, as well as Washington, DC. Sisson is a member of the Brewers Association, is past president for the Brewers Association of Maryland, and a former member of the Master Brewers Association of America. He was founder of the Cross Street Irregulars Home Brew Club, Maryland’s oldest such club, and co-hosts a weekly program on WYPR Radio, Baltimore, entitled Cellar Notes that critiques fine wine and beer.
CEO, Bell's Brewery
Laura Bell is CEO of Bell’s Brewery, Inc., the seventh largest craft brewery in the United States. A second generation co-owner (Laura was just 2 months old when Larry Bell founded the brewery), she has spent time working various odd jobs when she was younger like gluing labels to bottles and in the Eccentric Café’s kitchen while in high school. Laura officially started working at the brewery full-time in 2007 after graduating from Michigan State University. Since then, she has spent time in sales, all areas of beer production and built the marketing department from the ground up. She now oversees all brewery operations and planning for Bell’s and its sister brewery in Escanaba, Upper Hand Brewery.
Director of Beverage Strategy, Yard House Restaurants
Greg began his restaurant career over two decades ago in service and continued into management through multiple concepts eventually landing at Yard House in November of 2005 opening the 13th location. After spending two years in management serving several locations in Southern California he moved into a beverage support role at the home office in 2007 officially taking over the beverage program as Director in September of 2014. Greg and his team currently manage beer, wine, cocktail, sprits and non-alcoholic beverage programing for the 69 Yard House locations in 24 states supporting over 9,100 tap handles nationwide and $36 million dollars in beverage purchasing.
Co-Founder & CEO, Founders Brewing Company
Mike Stevens is a co-founder of Founders Brewing Company and serves as the company’s CEO. Founders is one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in the nation, currently ranking among the top 20 largest craft breweries in the United States as of 2016. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival, and its beers are often rated among the best in the world by RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users. The company has seen its annual barrel output nearly double each of the last seven years while distribution has expanded from seven states to 46. Founders finished 2016 with a total of 347,780 barrels shipped.
Co-Founder, Night Shift Brewing
Rob is part of a trio of friends who left their day jobs to follow their passion for brewing. Rob graduated from college with a strong love for craft beer. Post-college Rob worked for 6 plus years in the technology industry in Boston. In early 2012 Rob and his two other Co-Founders launched Night Shift Brewing in Everett, MA. For the past 5+ years Rob has lead the brewing team at Night Shift pushing for innovation and the creation of unique world class beers. In the fall of 2016 Rob and his Co-Founders launched a second business venture, Night Shift Distributing. Rob now leads this disruptive beer wholesale operation. Rob also serves as a the President of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Brewers Guild where he works to protect and promote the state's brewing industry.
Chief Marketing Officer, World of Beer
With over 15 years of experience in beverage, retail and hospitality marketing, Mr. Haley has an extensive track record building big ideas and transformative marketing strategies that deliver share and EBITDA growth. Over the past three years, Mr. Haley has served as Chief Marketing Officer for World of Beer, a market leader in the craft beer bar and restaurant space with over 70 locations in the United States and China. From 2007-2013, Mr. Haley served in multiple marketing leadership roles for P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc., including Vice President of Marketing for their P.F. Chang’s restaurants and Vice President of Marketing for Pei Wei Asian Diner, the company’s 200+ unit fast casual concept. Prior to 2007, Mr. Haley worked at SABMiller leading marketing for brands such as Henry Weinhard’s, Leinenkugel’s, Foster’s, and Miller Genuine Draft. Notably, his work on Miller Genuine Draft was recognized by Advertising Age as one of its “Marketers of the Next Generation” and in 2006, he was featured in BRANDWEEK’s “30 Under 30” in U.S. Marketing.
Co-Founder, The Beer Connect
Chris is the Chief Beer Drinker at The Beer Connect, focusing his award winning strategies and leadership in assisting the craft beer segment exercise their self-distribution rights while utilizing The Beer Connect's self-distribution and marketing technology. Since The Beer Connect's inception in December of 2015, Chris and his team have been able to help over 90 breweries grow their brands and gain exposure to millions of craft beer consumers and beverage managers across the US and world. Prior to diving into the intersection of craft beer and technology, Chris was a service member of the United States Coast Guard, managing pharmaceutical operations and supply chain, as well as serving as an EMT. After exiting the Coast Guard, he pursued a career in digital marketing and won multiple awards in direct correlation to his leadership and success of his teams. He has assisted fortune 500's to small privately held companies become more successful with their digital marketing strategies.
SVP, Beverage Alcohol Practice, Nielsen
Danny Brager is the Senior Vice President of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area in the United States, supporting relationships with Nielsen’s many Beer, Wine, and Spirits clients, as well as with key industry groups and the media. In this role, Danny and his team provides business information, analysis and insights, focusing on the U.S. retail environment and consumer – who they are, what they buy, and why. Danny has fifteen years of experience specific to the Beverage Alcohol industry, and for the past 30 plus years has held a variety of marketing and sales positions with Nielsen in both Canada and the United States. Danny is a frequent speaker at many client and industry events on the subject of Beverage Alcohol retail and consumer trends. Danny holds an Honors Bachelor of Business Administration from York University in Toronto, Canada. After residing and working in Canada for many years, he now lives in Southern California. And as a Canadian, he's a passionate hockey fan!
Chief Marketing Officer, Quri
James is a 25 year veteran of the CPG and Digital Media world. An entrepreneur at heart, his passion and expertise lies in the use of research and big data analytics insights to transform an industry and drive untapped growth and ROI for the industry. James has been vital to this type of transformation on many occasions including the emergence of scanner data with IRI, the transition to category management and CRM with Clorox, and the transformation of commerce and advertising through Internet and mobile technologies with comScore, InMobi, and most recently AdTruth, now a division of Experian. James joined Quri with deep expertise in marketing, product development, market strategy, data science and analytics, global business development, consultative selling, media relations, and broad market research knowledge. James is a graduate of Colby College in Maine with a BA in Economics and minor in music. A Vermont native, he now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two children, and a cat named Pucci.
Chief Spokesperson, Liberation Distribution, Inc.
Brian D Rosen is a life long leader in the Adult Beverage Category. Brian is globally regarded as a leading authority in the three-tier system, retail off premise, marketing, merchandising, ECOMM and go to market strategy for the Adult Beverage Space in any tier. Brian has been featured for Forbes, American Beverage License Association, Beverage Dynamics, Wine and Spirits Daily, Beer Business Daily, Wines and Vines, Santa Rosa Democrat, Chicago Tribune, Modern Luxury Magazines, Newsweek, Wine Spectator, Market Watch, Wine Enthusiast, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, Food Network, Travel Channel, WCIU, and TNT. Rosen had been named, Retailer of the Year 3X, Forbes Best of the Web 2x, and 14 under 40 winner, amongst others. Rosen was CEO of his own 100M-retail enterprise, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Adult Beverage and now runs his own consulting firm. Clients include; Anheuser Busch, Target, 7-11, Testa Wines, Alcohoot, Young’s Market, Wise Guys Liquors Fresh Market and many more
Associate Client Manager, Nielsen
Caitlyn Battaglia is an Associate Client Manager within Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area, where she supports Nielsen’s initiatives and thought leadership across Beer, Wine, and Spirits clients. Prior to joining the Beverage Alcohol Practice Area she worked in advanced analytics focusing on pricing and promotion as well as sales and marketing effectiveness. A current Houston resident, she holds a B.A. from Denison University and has been with Nielsen for nearly 4 years.
Owner-Operator, Winking Lizard Tavern
John Lane is one of the owner-operators for the Winking Lizard Tavern/Lizardville establishments. There are 19 Winking Lizard Taverns and 4 Lizardvilles all located in Ohio from Cleveland to Columbus. Since 1999 the Winking Lizard Taverns have been voted by Cleveland Magazine as having the Best Beer List. The Lizardville brand has been deemed the Craft Beer Associations Top Ohio Bar for 2016. John has been the key note retail speaker for the Craft Brewery Association's draft quality seminar and has also has conducted a seminar at CBC on draft quality. Being an Honorary Knight of the Belgium Brewer’s Mash Staff is his greatest accomplishment. It is a rare and distinct honor for Sir John Lane. John is also a Cum Laude Brand Ambassadeur for Orval. He is one of ten chosen and the only one outside of Europe.
Senior Manager of Emerging Business, Craft Brew Alliance
is the Senior Manager of Emerging Business for Craft Brew Alliance, where she discovers and integrates strategic partners. Karmen previously served as the Redhook Brand Manager for CBA where she initiated a partnership strategy with national Retail and Media outlets that led the brand from negative to double digit growth. Karmen has more than 15 years' experience in the Food and Beverage industry, specializing in brand strategy and strategic partnerships. Ms. Olson holds an MBA from George Fox University, a Bachelor of Science from Portland State University, and serves on the Board of Directors for Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, OR.
Innovation Brewmaster, Craft Brew Alliance
Thomas Bleigh is the Innovation Brewmaster for Craft Brew Alliance where he leads a team of Innovation brewers to create new products, explore new ingredients and engage in brewing Research & Development. Tom was born in Augsburg, Germany and is a graduate of UC Davis with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and the University of Wisconsin with an Master of Fine Arts. A 16 year Craft Beer industry veteran, Tom’s interests are in meats, cheese and kimchi in addition to “Pursuit of the Perfect Pint!”