For a seventh successive year, we headed Stateside to showcase our products at the three-day Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America in Denver, Colorado.
With more than 700 vendors all in one location, it is viewed as the premier trade show for craft brewers, providing an environment that allows exhibitors and buyers to develop business relationships, while it also helps brewing professionals encounter the latest and best products and services the industry has to offer.
We landed in Denver six days prior to the show kicking off and started our trip by visiting no fewer than 11 breweries in Colorado, all of whom are Simpsons Malt customers. Simpsons Malt Vice Chairman Richard Simpson, Operations Director at Tivetshall Maltings Andrew Holding and Content Marketing Specialist Martin Inglis were taken on the two-day tour by Chad Hatlestad, the Director of Sales at Brewers Supply Group (BSG) – our fantastic US distributor – where a series of informal chats and brewery tours took place.
The first visit of the two days was at 4 Noses Brewing Company in Broomfield, a family-owned and independent brewery and taproom that first opened in 2014. Here, we met with Director of Brewing Operations Alex Rabe, who was highly complementary about the Simpsons’ malts he uses in many of his beers.
From there, we headed to BSG’s Denver HQ – one of 13 bases the distributor has in North America – and were given a tour of the warehouse, before heading to Avery’s Brewing Company in Boulder. We stayed in the town to visit Finkel & Garf Brewing Company nearby and then made the trip to Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont. The day concluded with a trip to Liquid Mechanics Brewing Company in Lafayette, where afterwards we met with BSG’s Vice President of Supply Chain Laura Hansen.
The second day’s trip offered up much of the same, but this time staying mostly within the city limits of Denver. The first stop-off was Denver Beer Company’s Canworks, which was built on the site of a former church, before heading around the corner to Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project. Crooked Stave is renowned for its sour beers and here, the fermentation process in aged oak barrels can take anywhere from six to 36 months. Other stops included Great Divide Brewing Company, Copper Kettle Brewing Company, Living the Dream Brewing Company and, finally, Declaration Brewing Company, where a pint of its Mile Half Lander Scottish Ale went down a treat at the end of a busy day.
After spending the weekend catching up with BSG’s Marketing team, we spent most of Monday setting up our stand for the show, deconstructing the contents of our crate and lining up our tables and cabinets with malts and merchandise – the latter of which would fly off the shelves over the three days.
The doors to the show opened in earnest at 9am on Tuesday and thousands of industry attendees piled in. Richard, Martin and Malt Sales Director Jamie Ramshaw – who arrived in Denver on the Friday before the show – manned the stand and they were inundated with a mixture of happy US customers telling us about their favourite malts of ours and what beers they use them in, to inquisitive start-up home brewers eager to taste our malts and find out more about how they could get their hands on our products.
Richard reported that the trip across the pond had been a successful one, saying: “We headed over to the States slightly earlier this year in order to visit as many Simpsons Malt customers as we could and it is still so very humbling to hear so many positive comments about our products, which we received during our brewery visits and also throughout the week during the show.
“The show seems to get bigger and better every year, which can only be good news for the industry, and I’d like to thank BSG for hosting us again in their little village. We’re already planning for and looking forward to next year’s show!”
The 2020 Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America will take place in San Antonio, Texas, from April 19-22.