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All things beer: Brewers Conference & Trade Show explores all aspects of industry

Due to coronavirus concerns in New Mexico, this event has been postponed. Please check with venues and organizations before attending events.

J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, known as Dr. J, is the keynote speaker at the New Mexico Brewers Guild Brewers Conference & Trade Show on March 27. (Courtesy of Kate Thompson)



The New Mexico Brewers Guild Brewers Conference & Trade Show is a one-stop shop for people involved in or interested in the world of brewing.

The conference will include seminars that are helpful to breweries but also useful to small businesses, including a panel discussion on social media marketing.

“We’re having sort of a brewing technical track at the conference, and it will be all-day seminars for people,” said Leah Black, executive director of the New Mexico Brewers Guild. “Everything from fermentation and brewing to equipment and malting, that type of thing, and then we also have an admin or operational marketing side.”

The social marketing panel will be led by Asa Stone, a psychologist and an advanced cicerone, or beer guide, who works at the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College.

The seminar will cover “just the basics, because a lot of brewers don’t want to do social media or they don’t know how to, so we want to give them the tools to promote their business,” Black said.

“We also have Annemarie Henton, who’s the (vice president for) business development and marketing for Albuquerque Economic Development. She’s going to be talking about how the beer industry creates economic opportunity.”

The highlight of the conference will be keynote speaker, J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, known as Dr. J. She is the first diversity ambassador for the Brewers Association, which consists of more than 5,400 brewery members in the United States and 46,000 members of the American Homebrewers Association, joined by members of the allied trade, beer wholesalers, retailers, individuals, other associate members and the Brewers Association staff, according to its website.

“She has a Ph.D. in communication studies,” Black said. “She has dedicated her career to the study of American beer. She’s published books and journals and done keynote lectures, podcasts, you name it. The title of her talk is ‘Want to Improve Organizational Culture: Tell Better Stories with an Effective Communication Strategy.’ ”

The lecture will focus on communication strategy, which provides direction for internal and external communication, establishes a common language around diversity and inclusion goals, articulates standards for culturally competent interaction and guides organizational storytelling, according to Black.

New to this year’s conference will be a trade show featuring 17 exhibitors and vendors who will help answer questions on how to insure a brewery or small business, how to get financing to open a business or brewery and more. There will also be packaging people, malters, keg and equipment manufacturers, yeast purveyors, marketing equipment providers, point-of-sale representatives and more.

“We’ve got Risen Ink,” Black said. “They do everything from totes and hats and clothing. We’ve got a local farmer there from Schwebach Farm coming into the new realm of growing barley that we can have here in the state rather than having to outsource and get barley somewhere else. So keeping it New Mexico True. They’re there. We have people from brewing equipment manufacturers that are going to be there … so brewers can see and do hands-on and talk to people and answer questions if they’re looking to upgrade their system or if they’re just a brewery in planning, just starting out.”

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