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May 29
Boston, MA
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Brewbound Session: Understanding the Buying Habits of Beer Geeks

Suzanne Schalow and Kate Baker

Die-hard craft beer geeks are fickle customers.

They’re promiscuous. They’re not loyal to any specific brewery and they’ll shop stores as much as they’ll shop brands, looking for places where the rarest, most obscure offerings are available.

They spend hours perusing the beer aisles, examining labels, asking detailed questions and are known to leave the store without spending a dime.

Nobody understands these customers better than Suzanne Schalow and Kate Baker. A pair of beer geeks themselves, Schalow and Baker founded the Belmont, Mass.-based Craft Beer Cellar, a high-end off-premise retailer that caters to hardcore craft beer drinkers, in 2010.

That’s why Brewbound asked the pair to join the upcoming Boston edition of the Brewbound Session to share their insight into the buying habits of craft beer consumers, drawing from over three years of intimate conversations with shoppers and their expansive set of point-of-sale data.

In her presentation, Schalow will describe the three types of consumers that shop at beer-centric retail outlets – local clientele, transition drinkers and beer geeks — explaining each group’s purchasing habits, product selections and a variety of other buying tendencies.

Following the presentation Schalow will join a moderated question and answer session with Baker and Brewbound editor, Chris Furnari.


Schalow and Baker currently own and operate two Craft Beer Cellar locations and have recently franchised the concept to six additional locations across the country. New Craft Beer Cellar franchise locations are currently being planned for California, Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire and New York.

The Brewbound Session, which will take place on May 29 at the Revere Hotel in downtown Boston, is a full-day conference for beer industry professionals. The event focuses on the strategic marketing, brand building and business development issues that most directly impact craft brewers. A variety of distribution, retail, investment and branding discussions are offered.

Brewbound Session attendees will have multiple opportunities to engage speakers, both during the moderated portions of the program and also during structured networking and sampling breaks.

Sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities are available. To learn more or for questions regarding registration, please contact Mike Vassallo at or by phone at 617-231-8827 to learn more.

Personal Speakers Bios:

Suzanne Schalow:

Often times called “the people whisperer,” I have spent my life in some of the underworlds of human interaction.  For 16 years I studied my way across the country, at various and sundry universities, and could always be found at “Some Restaurant”, USA. There is actually not one single job in the restaurant business that I haven’t held, even for a short period of time. My 12-year stint as General Manager of Cambridge Common/Lizard Lounge was an enormous accomplishment and an incredible amount of fun! Cambridge Common will always be remembered as the place where I discovered craft beer, albeit accidentally. Craft Beer is the center and focus of our lives, and Kate and I also love, love, love the restaurant business . . . one thing at a time! We spend our days not taking ourselves too seriously whilst surrounded by more than 1000 beers, enjoying the people in our lives, and learning every single thing we can about people, food, and craft beer; or livin’ the dream, as we say! I was born in Arkansas, hold degrees in both Liberal Arts and Conflict Transformation, and have special people-negotiation-jedi-mind-trick-trance abilities.

Kate Baker:

Previously nicknamed “The Keg Shaker”, I’ve most likely had my hands on more kegs than most people could imagine. Hoperations Manager? What can I say? I am a woman of many names! I spent just over eight years at Cambridge Common/Lizard Lounge, as the FOH Manager, Kitchen Manager/Chef, and Beer & Beverage Manager. It’s definitely where I got my foundation and real thirst for craft beer. Before the Common I lead the kitchen at Beer Works in Fenway (I was only on my spiritual journey for good beer back then), where I was forced to stop drinking macro-brewed stuff, but was admittedly still bitter about it! In addition to my amazing family and friends, Suzanne and I love craft beer and food, and am focused on our own journey of how these two things intersect. When not at CBC chatting about beer, you can find me at your local pub researching beer and food, at a pub somewhere in New England, planning our next big beer adventure, or on the road, traveling for beer and food! I grew up in Up-Up-Upstate New York, and have a passion for life, love, and all things consumable. I hold degrees in both Culinary and Restaurant Management from Newbury College and Le Cordon Bleu.

About the Brewbound Session:

The Brewbound Craft Beer Session is a business conference addressing the topics that most directly impact the decisions craft brewers are faced with as they look to grow their brands. The event focuses on the business side of craft, offering brewers a unique opportunity to learn from and network with industry experts.


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