Craft beer is different, and it's great! I just spent the last two days with many people who, for all intents and purposes, would be considered my direct competition. The truth is, many of these 'competitors' treated me with more respect and consideration than actual 'vendors' who I would deal with on a routine basis in my past professional life. They were actually willing to discuss and put more time into helping me develop my business than people I would pay in the past for such services. Granted, there are some subjects that remain somewhat 'tongue in cheek' at functions such as these. Things like recipe formulation and traditional items like financials are areas where you would tend to tread lightly. Still, you routinely see breweries (competitors) coming together to collaborate on projects - working together to formulate some of the best brews in the world. It was as if every area of their businesses was an open book. All you had to do was ask. It was such a refreshing and delightful environment to be apart of, I frequently found myself offering my own $.02 (well, I guess it could really have been considered more like a half cent than two cents) on how people could improve their own operations.
In conclusion, it was a great experience. The costs were reasonable. A great networking tool.The time wasn't overwhelming. The food and beer were great. The people were friendly and knowledgeable, and a pleasure to be around. Cheers to the NC Brewer's Guild, and all it's members for bringing together such an incredible group of outstanding individuals. It's made a believer out of me! :)
Hob Knob Brewing Co.