Top 9 Reasons to Attend the Beer Summit 2010

FILED JANUARY 4, 2010

1. So you can get your bearings before Summer starts. You will first acquaint yourself with the brand performance landscape, and who has the magic mojo and who doesn't. We'll have Dan Wandel of IRI show us the very latest numbers at a crucial period of time: right before the Summer selling season. Dan digs deep into his database to show us which brands and categories have that crucial momentum in each channel, and which are not, and why. Dan knows the off-premise, and he'll show you where to fish.

Also, this year we are featuring somebody you've never seen before -- Jim Rund of Catalina Marketing. Jim also has a database at the consumer level through their retail couponing and loyalty programs, and Jim can not only show you exactly who is buying which beers, but how interactive each brand and category are with other specific goods in the basket, along with many other variables which predict purchase intent. I'm excited about this presentation because it will be the first time anybody at a beer conference has had access to these insights.

2. To learn what is driving craft beer growth, if it will continue, and where crafts go from here. Some distributors sell craft beer brands according to style (as in, here is our book of Pale Ales), and some sell them by brand and brewer. This has been a bone of contention within the industry for several years. For the first time, we put Steve Hindy of Brooklyn Brewery (who likes the "sell by brand" method) and Jim Schembre of World Class Beverages (the craft distributor who favors "sell by style") on the same stage to duke it out on this topic and several other topics. Moderated by category management pro Tom Fox, the panel also includes craft-in-a-can visionary Dale Katechis of Oskar Blues, who will describe the helter-skelter world of growing a brewery from scratch to a significant barrelage in his irreverent style. Yes, I like it in the can, and Dale always delivers.

3. To find out where all the Latinos have gone? And to find out why the ones who are still here aren't buying as much beer. And more importantly, what's the future of the entire Latino landscape as it pertains to beer? Not to put too fine a point on it, but Latino beer drinkers are going to be THE MOST IMPORTANT component of beer growth in the next decade. Getting this right is crucial, my friends. So we brought back blond firecracker Kelly McDonald of McDonald Marketing, the fave Summit speaker back in 2005. Kelly specializes in cracking the Hispanic marketing code with many diverse blue chip companies, from Sprint to Denny's to Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. And here's a bonus: She's a great speaker. A marketing consultant who'se not boring -- only at the Beer Summit, folks.

4. To know why five of the top six mega-brands are in free-fall, and what the big brewers/importers are going to do about it. We've got the big names -- Dave Peacock of Anheuser-Busch, Ed McBrien and Tom Cardella of MillerCoors, and we're darn close to signing a big importer exec. Instead of canned speeches, we've changed the format into a round table, where your editor will joust and parry with The Bigs about getting our largest brands, the ones that keep the lights on and the trucks rolling, back on track. Plus, we'll talk about getting that crucial brewer-distributor relationship back into that warm-and-fuzzy place, the future of three-tier, consolidation, and more.

5. To learn more about how Pabst Blue Ribbon, Yuengling, Magic Hat and others have used the hottest (and cheapest) marketing strategy today to generate crazy growth: Word-of-mouth. We gathered the two best-known pros in the word-of-mouth marketing field in beverages, Ted Wright of Fizz and Darrell Jursa of Dig, to sit on a panel and talk about how this marketing method can be used by brewers and distributors to ignite sales of beer brands. Moderated by MillerCoors communications consultant Pete Marino, this panel will provide actionable ideas for your market that will pay for your Summit registration many times over.

6. To know what the heck's happened to distributor consolidation lately? Distributor consolidation has virtually hit a wall. Is that wall made of paper or bricks? We bring back the man who has closed more beer distributorship acquisitions than any other -- Joe Thompson at IBG -- to talk in his entertaining and candid style about where we are in the consolidation cycle and where we need to go. Joe will show how volume and margin trends affect distributorship prices, and give valuable tips on how to best position yourself as a buyer or a seller.

7. To get a gauge of what's top-of-mind with the top chain retailers. Chain retailers are a cagey lot. They have lots of secret insider info and are closest to the consumers but are loath to share. Well, we have coaxed a few Top Gun retailers to step up to the mic and give us the skinny. Consultant Bump Williams has lined up a group of retailer chains to talk about how beer fits in their assortment, what SKUs are selling and why, and how consumers are reacting to price increases, among other issues. It's often tough to get chain buyers to speak in public forums, but Bump has a first-class group lined up for you.

8. To rub elbows with the top brass in the beer industry. This is often cited as the best part of our Beer Summits -- and it's the fun part. I can't tell you how many times people have told me, "Harry, I never would have gotten such-in-such hot brand if I hadn't met so-in-so at your Summit." The Beer Summit is where crucial connections are made. We cap registration at 400, so you have the opportunity to talk to nearly everybody there if you are so inclined. We have two beer receptions where you can drink and eat tasty appetizers on the unlimited BBD Platinum Amex card, ample breaks, an open-seating buffet lunch, and a resort in the middle of the desert where nobody can escape. Look, it's important what you know, but it may be more important who you know, and the Summit delivers both for the price of a pair of slightly used hand trucks.

9. To not be bored. I know that seems like a low bar to set, a standard that should be a given. But I've sat through many a presentation where I was just about to bite down on the glass cyanide tablet I keep in my cheek at all conventions for such eventualities when the blessed ending applause came. While I can't promise that every presentation and panel will be as entertaining as eight baboons ridden by clowns jumping through flaming hoops, I can say with strong conviction that most will be even better than that. In fact, our feedback forms say the Beer Summit is one of the most entertaining and evocative symposiums out there. Our Summits usually reveal important news later reported in national publications like Reuters and Bloomberg (last year's presentation by Credit Suisse's Carlos Laboy is still being talked about). And we choose our speakers and panels to get the most bang for the buck. We've been planning Summits for seven years now, and I believe we've gotten better each year with regard to picking speakers and discerning the right questions to ask them.

There's little doubt that 2010 is going to be a challenging year. The economic salad days don't look like they're going to suddenly reappear anytime soon. You've got two options: hole up in your office looking at Jim Cramer screaming at you in his shirt sleeves on CNBC about how the sky is falling, or get out there and find out what others are doing to grow their toplines in this unique environment. Come get the best-practices and brightest ideas from the experts, come network within the industry, and position yourself and your company to prosper into the future.

I'm optimistic about our industry. We are an industry of optimists. And I'd like to invite fellow optimists to join me and Lulu and the entire Beer Business Daily team in Phoenix on Sunday, February 28 to start the dialog about how we keep the industry's prosperity going strong into 2010 and beyond (and by the way, feel free to bring your spouse or date to both receptions, free of charge. Anything to help you folks keep the significant other happy).

Look, we can't control the economy, but we can control lots of variables in our little corner of the economy: the U.S. beer business. We can learn to improve the things we can control from each other while simultaneously drinking beer with each other. And the Beer Summit provides the perfect setting for both. At the Beer Summit, we serve beer all day. Why? Because breakthroughs are made in such ways.

But you can't be a part of it unless you register and get a badge. So click the link and let's get on with it.


Click Here to Register

Thanks for your consideration, and I am,

Sincerely Yours,

Harry

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