Four hundred brewers from all around the world will be in Wellington next March for the Institute of Brewers and Distillers Asia Pacific Convention.
For five days, international brewers will be in the Craft Beer Capital sharing brewing intelligence and techniques, while conducting thorough ‘research’ into the local brewing scene. The Convention runs from Monday 19 March – craft brewing day – and closes on Friday 23rd with a coach tour visiting Wellington breweries.
Emerson’s Brewing’s Chris O’Leary is chairing the organising committee. His enthusiasm comes from attending a Convention five years ago where he picked up techniques that are influencing his brewing today.
“I came back from that Convention with my first Bird Dog IPA recipe. I’m still looking back on my notes of things I learnt during that week – it took my brewing forward about two or three years. After I got back I had half a dozen people I was contacting for advice on yeast management, using oak, new techniques and technology, and these are things I would never have learnt if I had not gone to the Convention. That’s the kind of thing that will happen in Wellington.”
Speakers include Deb and Dan Carey from New Glarus Brewing in Wisconsin, and Dr Charlie Bamforth, Distinguished Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at the University of California, and Honorary Professor in the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham.
Local experts, including Kelly Ryan, Brian Watson and Søren Eriksen, will also be speaking.
“The whole idea of making me chair was to put craft brewing right up front for this Convention,” says Chris. “Going to a convention like this is an investment in your time and funds, so we want the craft brewing fraternity to have a full day on the Monday focusing on craft brewing and it gives them an opportunity to knuckle in on what they want to know.”
Following days will feature presentations sharing brewing ideas and techniques, brewery visits, and a tradeshow.
“Trade night on Tuesday will be going around eight or so bars, so the international people can experience Wellington for the first time. That’s a great opportunity to get your place in front of 400 international beer experts.”
Techniques and technology aside, Chris says one of the biggest benefits comes from meeting other brewers.
“You’ll meet people there who you’ll be able to tap into in the future and your network will just explode. You’ve got a connection now because you’ve had a couple of beers with them, they’ve tried your beer, and you become mates and colleagues for life. The best competitive edge you can get as a brewer is to go for the full week, because you’ll learn stuff that other brewers won’t get to hear.”