Business of Beer Track

Hear from some of the top minds in the field on trends and strategies that shape the future of our industry.

Independent craft brewers tend to be very involved in their communities through philanthropy, product donations, volunteerism, and sponsorship of events. Whether they are raising awareness about current issues, raising funds for disaster relief, taking a stand in a public debate, or endorsing a cause, independent brewers cultivate authentic connections with the communities they serve as a result of their philanthropic activities. This seminar encourages attendees to take an inclusion and equity-driven approach to philanthropic activities to expand the reach of values-driven programs and to support the goal of diversifying craft beer fans, hands, and brands.
Jon Lane is a husband, father and lover of craft beer and spirits. Operator of multiple restaurants, breweries and a distillery. O.H.S.O. is in the people business more than any other, we love to learn and we often make mistakes, but recovering from those times is how we have grown as a company. We are lucky to be in a collaborative industry and we are lucky to have opportunities to share and shine with our customers each and every day.
R.J. Price is the Chief Marketing Officer for Downtown Phoenix Inc., (aka DTPHX) overseeing special events, branding, hospitality and destination marketing. Fun Fact: R.J. is from New Ulm, Minn., home to the second-oldest family owned brewery in the United States (August Schell Brewing Company).
Leah Huss is the co-founder of Huss Brewing Company which Leah and Jeff Huss put together as a family enterprise. Leah, a graduate of Scottsdale Culinary Institute, was owner and manager of Papago Brewing Company in Scottsdale for more than 14 years.

With a background in Pharmaceutical Science, Dustin Hazer left the research world to attend The Siebel Institute’s World Brewing Academy in Chicago, IL. After completing the coursework there, he went on to start his brewing career at Ellicottville Brewing Company in Western New York, getting to apply all aspects of his learned technical brewing skills in the 1,000 bbl/year setup.

After a couple of years in Ellicottville, Dustin was brought out to brew at Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe over a decade ago while they grew from 18,000 bbls per year to close to 40,000 as both a brewpub and distribution brewery.

After about three years in the Valley, a large opportunity arose as the founder of Southern Tier Brewing Co brought him back to New York to oversee brewing operations as well as help with commissioning and designing new equipment. He was the Brewmaster with Southern Tier Brewing Company for four years where he was in charge of all brewing and related operations, commissioning the new 110 bbl Steinecker brewhouse, along with new 660 bbl and 880 bbl fermenters, cellar and yeast automation and a new state of the art centrifuge. During that time, they grew from around 40,000 bbls per year to producing over 100,000 bbls per year, becoming one of the top 20 breweries in the country. At the end of 2015, Dustin resigned from his position there to open Helio Basin Brewing right here in Phoenix that opened in mid 2016!

Ken Wilson is a loyal and passionate ambassador for Arizona beer. Ken has spent nearly 25 in the beer industry and has managed statewide sales for Lumberyard Brewing Company in Flagstaff for the last eight. He has been a champion of Arizona craft beer as a whole and proudly represents the world class beers of the Lumberyard. He previously served as President of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and is currently a member of the Brewers Association Market Development Committee.

Join Leah Huss of Huss Brewing, Sarah Benken from KNOW Book + Tribe and Becca Booker of Homemade Social in a panel discussion on networking.


Hear from outside of the brewing industry to discuss Empowering yourself by Empowering other women and how to build your girl Tribe. Showing how no matter what your job or title that you need to first take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.

The goals: Stepping outside of your home networking & building "your squad" to specifically help the ladies of the beer industry think about networking outside of our industry and help you relate to others by sharing their experiences.

Kristan Drewes is the Business Development Manager for the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. The Guild protects and promotes over 100 independently owned Arizona breweries statewide and 100 allied trade partners. Drewes, formerly the managing partner of Papago Brewing Co, brings 7 years of brewery retail and sales experience to bear on a rapidly growing and opportunity-rich industry with over $1 billion dollars in economic impact in 2017.
Leah Huss is the co-founder of Huss Brewing Company which Leah and Jeff Huss put together as a family enterprise. Leah, a graduate of Scottsdale Culinary Institute, was owner and manager of Papago Brewing Company in Scottsdale for more than 14 years.
Sarah Benken is the founder and visionary for the KNOW Book + Tribe. Her mission is to empower women who break glass ceilings in their respective fields. She’s been a business owner for more than ten years, teaches CEO classes to pregnant teens, works with women through ministries; all while raising her 21 and 10-year-old children. Sarah has always been enchanted by women who break the mold, even while working in male-dominated fields. She believes in bringing women together to live out her personal, and KNOW Tribe manta, lift and rise. She’s an organizational freak, obsessed with details and all things glittery. She looks forward to bringing the KNOW Tribe movement to a city near you!
Becca Booker is the Owner of Homemade Social, a boutique social media agency specializing in social, digital, and influential campaigns for lifestyle brands. Northern-California made, Becca received a double-major in Marketing and Journalism from Barrett, The Honors College at ASU and now lives under the sun in Phoenix, Arizona. Shortly after graduating, Becca created her business and quickly became a respected entrepreneur in the valley. Becca started her agency to work hands-on with small- to medium-sized lifestyle brands and businesses to implement social media and Facebook advertising strategies to elevate their brand and reach. Dubbed the “modern social media queen” by AZ Foothills, Becca is revolutionizing the social media game and inspiring brands to use innovative tactics to grow their social media.  She also is a loving dog mom of Jojo the Cattle Dog mix (why yes, her dog has an Instagram @accordingtojojo), and can be found with a Venti Iced Soy Matcha Latte in hand at almost all times.
Hear from some of our public policy and legislative champions including Representative Jeff Weninger in a discussion hosted by Camila Alarcon, counsel to the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. Laws, rules, regulations, and policies shape our business in often unforeseen ways. Rep Weninger will discuss his role in the yearly omnibus bill process, the recent change of law that will open Arizona to online beer sales and we'll get his take on the digital economy from bitcoins to crowdfunding.
BIO: Camila Alarcon is a partner at Gammage & Burnham, PLC, where she focuses her practice in administrative law and government affairs. She has had extensive experience in both the public and private sector, and prepares her clients to navigate successfully the complex procedures and rules of federal, state, and local agencies. She also assists her clients in shaping legislative policy when current statutes and rules require amending. Many of Camila’s clients are in the alcohol and hospitality industry, including producers, wholesalers, retail establishments, and trade groups. Her intimate knowledge of both the federal and state regulatory scheme ensures that her clients are in the forefront of industry practices. One of her most current achievements was serving as the lead lobbyist for the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild in the passage of SB1030, which was one of the highest profiles and contentious bills of 2015.
Representative Jeff Weninger is serving his first term for Legislative District 17. His district serves Gilbert, Sun Lakes and a large portion of Chandler. Jeff is the co-owner of two local restaurant concepts, Floridino’s Pizza & Pasta in Chandler and Dilly’s Deli with five locations in the East Valley and a kiosk in Sky Harbor Terminal 4. For more than 20 years, Jeff has employed thousands of Arizona citizens and fed millions while contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy through sales tax revenue. Before serving as a State Representative, Jeff served on the Chandler City Council for eight years and held the position of Vice Mayor. He became known as the common sense councilman and created a culture that ultimately changed the way Chandler employees approached spending tax dollars.
Hear from Ted Golden on how Four Peaks grew from a small brewery in Tempe to one of the largest craft breweries in the country. Ted will be joined by Jim Roper and others instrumental to their success.
  • Teddy Golden is known as the Beer Traffic Controller(Sales Director) Four Peaks Brewing Company.
  • At the age of 26 was introduced to my Career in Beer in San Diego at Coast Distributing. 20 years of AZ Beer Sales-18 years of those being at Four Peaks Brewing Co and 2 years at Rio Salado Brewing Co.
  • Before being bitten by the Beer Bug held multiple positions in the Restaurant/Retail/Hotel/Hospitality industry.
Sustainability is awesome. Also, it’s difficult. If your intention to safeguard the long-term viability of your brewery while promoting a clean, just, and regenerative world is falling short, let the Brewers Association (BA) help. Matt Gacioch, BA Sustainability Ambassador, provides guidance on opportunities and resources to break down the barriers keeping you from achieving your sustainability goals. Take concrete steps to move from intention to action. Actually.
Matt Gacioch has spent his career exploring the nuance and opportunity of sustainability within the craft beer industry, the built environment, and communities around the world. As the former Director of Sustainability and Marketing for Short’s Brewing Company in Michigan, he created programs and executed sustainable design initiatives on energy, water, and waste, all while working to tell an authentic story of successes and (plenty of) road bumps. He has also worked in sustainability at Left Hand Brewing Company and in the Craft Beer Program at the Brewers Association. He holds an MBA in Strategy & Finance, an MS in Environmental Policy & Planning, and a BS in Environmental Science, all from the University of Michigan. In his day job at stok, an integrated real estate services firm that provides sustainable design and engineering services, he explores business cases and develops strategies for sustainability and wellness in commercial real estate.
This discussion will focus on the structure of a sales call, and how to build capabilities to provide the most effective sales calls. Using an independent method developed by industry experts, the sales call method discussed uses an emphatic approach to selling. Focusing on your customers needs, you can foster better relationships and close more sales.
Rob Merollis has successfully launched and operated his own independent craft beer distributor in Portland, OR, as well as hold titles as national accounts manager and general sales manager with independently owned distributors. Additionally, Rob was a part of the Goose Island sales team during its independent years in Chicago as a leader in craft beer and brewing. With a fondness for beer history and its implications on politics, culture and pre-industrial revolution geographic limitations, Rob used his love of beer to become Certified Cicerone back in 2010.