Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Brewers Only Dialogue

It's right around the corner. This biggest beer festival in the Western Hemisphere (I think): The Great American Beer Festival.  During the week of October 6-13 Denver, CO will be brimming with craft brewers from around the country, and beer enthusiasts from around the world.  Over 600 breweries bring multiple beers for three days, four sessions of beer sampling all in one place. Quite the experience, to say the least.  But that ain't it.  Denver has a fantastic craft beer scene, not to mention geographic scenery. There are many "smaller" events that take place during that week, most of these are special tappings or tasting parties. Falling Rock Tap House, Freshcraft and the Rackhouse usually have awesome events.

And while these events focus on enjoying great, sometimes rare, beer, this year there is another event that separates itself from the others.  The Great American Brewers Dialogue (GABD) will kick off its first installment on October 9th.  With so many craft breweries and their staff in town, it makes sense to try to gather them in one (or several) places to engage in group discussion about their industry. Rarely do brewers et al find free time to exchange ideas and talk about problems or obstacles they face. The GABD is a chance for them to air these out.

Since there are so many brewers in town, several locations will host these discussions simultaneously: Prost Brewing, Strange Brewing and Vine Street Pub are lined up now as hosts, with more to be added if the number of attendees pours in beyond venue capacity.

What makes this different than just a collection of brewers in one places is the addition of professional facilitators from OvalOptions for Conflict Management to help guide the groups through dialogue. These facilitators utilize methods to improve discussions, brainstorm, keep everyone engaged, and discover possible solutions to problems.  So now we have brewers gathered in one (or 3) place, where they can (re)connect with each other, focus on certain topics for discussion (each group decides their own topics), and professionals to help unpack and address concerns. Sounds like a good deal, even better since it is FREE!

It is only open to brewers and brewery staff to keep discussions open and confidential. Like everybody, brewers are reluctant to advertise problems they face. The GABD provides a safe space.  This should be fun and interesting!