Craft Brewers Touching Down In San Francisco

The craft beer spotlight will shine on San Francisco this month when the city plays host to the Craft Brewer’s Conference & BrewExpo America beginning on March 23 at the Hilton Hotel in Union Square. The four-day conference is the biggest event of its kind in North America and will draw thousands of industry professionals from around the country. Aspiring brewers, wholesalers, distributors and staff from brewpubs and production breweries will network and mingle to discuss best practices during the trade show, educational seminars and hospitality events.

A few conference details and schedule highlights include:

  • Welcome Reception at the California Academy of Sciences.
  • Fritz Maytag and Ken Grossman will reflect on their careers and the history of craft beer during the Keynote Address.
  • The BrewExpo will present over 200 vendors offering products and services.
  • Attendees can choose from 45 educational seminars about sustainability, government affairs, financing, quality control, marketing, packaging and exportation.
  • Several Bay Area breweries have collaborated on exclusive conference beers.

Conference badges are required for all of the official events and industry professionals can register online (Deadline: March 10@5:00pm). If your not attending don’t worry, you can still get in on the fun. Several breweries and bars will be hosting special off-site events that are open to the public. Check the BACB calendar for details.

Kelsey Williams, BACB’s New Contributor

Hello everyone. I am excited to be joining Bay Area Craft Beer here in the South Bay. For years my interest in beer and writing have followed distinctly different paths.

Let’s start with beer. My first real job was a hostess and then waitress at a microbrewery restaurant in my hometown called Big River (think Gordon Biersch, it’s the same company). It was at this job that I first came to understand the bevy of choices beyond the American domestic lager. I remember sampling the seven styles of beer on tap at the time of my training, and excitedly soaking up information about dry hopping, unfiltered hefeweizen, and the backstory of the India Pale Ale.

For some of my co-workers, the information was a job necessity. We would all have to describe the beers to customers and help to pair them with menu items. For my part, I was fascinated.

Fast forward to college. I took another serving job at a restaurant close to my undergraduate campus in D.C. called Chef Geoff’s. Now Geoff’s, as we called it, was fancier than Big River, and I spent far more time learning the wine list and the food pairings than in thinking about the beer. However, Geoff’s did have 24 beers on tap, and it was here that I started to introduce myself to some great national brands and imports as well as some more popular craft beers. It was at Geoff’s that I first tried Newcastle, Anchor Steam, Dogfish Head, Rogue Dead Guy, Magic Hat, Harp, and Stella Artois.

From that point on, I’ve been hooked on not just beer, but great wine and food as well. I love to cook; I love finding great gems of restaurants that no one knows about; and I love wine and beer tasting. In my hometown, my favorite bar is a little local neighborhood joint, the Tremont Tavern, where I have my very own mug to sample their over 200 beer varieties. Now that I’m here in the Bay Area, I’m enjoying getting to know a whole new world of craft beer.

Now for the writing bit. I have always had an uncommon draw to stories. I was a voracious reader as a kid, and took that love to college when I got my B.A. in Literature from American University in D.C. Currently I am a student at Stanford working on my masters in journalism. I write about everything from business, tech, finance to local politics to food and beer features, and I publish those stories on the Peninsula Press ( I will be interning for SFgate this summer as well as writing for the Peninsula Press and Bay Area Craft Beer.

My interests and journalism background will probably give my contributions a more newsy edge, and, from time to time, I may even grapple with some larger policy questions about food and alcohol. Mostly, I’m just excited to have an opportunity to delve deeper into the beer culture of the bay, and keep myself and readers up with what’s happenin’ in the local brew scene.

Cheers, Kelsey