Keynote speakers Fritz Maytag and Ken Grossman will officially open the Brewers Association’s Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in San Francisco, Calif. on March 23. More than 2,500 of the world’s leading brewers, brewery owners and brewing supply professionals are expected at this year’s CBC.
Maytag and Grossman are slated to engage in a wide-ranging conversation looking back on more than 40 years of craft brewing. Expect anecdotes, reflections and insider stories from these two trailblazers.
Fritz Maytag, former owner of Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, is considered the patriarch of the American craft brewing scene. Maytag bought the historic brewery in 1965, and his focus on improved quality, intensified flavors and new ingredients changed the beer landscape forever. Today, Anchor Brewing remains one of the most traditional breweries in America. Maytag sold the brewery in 2010 to The Griffin Group, entrepreneurs who plan to preserve and expand the iconic brand.
Ken Grossman started Sierra Nevada in 1980 with a background in homebrewing, a hand-built brewhouse and some interesting ideas about beer that were inspired by his visits with Maytag and Jack McAuliffe. Today, Sierra Nevada is one of America’s longest-running craft startups, and is known for its innovation and relentless pursuit of quality.
When Sierra Nevada first opened its doors, there were less than 50 brewing companies in the United States. Today, there are more than 1,600 craft breweries in operation, and American brewers lead the world in variety of styles, innovation, experimentation and quality.
Together, Maytag and Grossman brewed Fritz and Ken’s Ale, a Pioneers Stout, as part of Sierra Nevada’s 30th anniversary series.
“I’m thrilled to welcome two pioneers of the craft brewing industry to the stage at this year’s CBC,” said Paul Gatza, Brewers Association director. “Fritz and Ken have a collaborative relationship and focus on quality and flavor that represents a key part of the heritage of craft brewing.”
Russian River Brewing Co.’s Vinnie Cilurzo came up with the idea of a conversation between these two pioneers to serve as the CBC keynote presentation while attending a dinner at Anchor with his wife Natalie to celebrate the launch of the 30th anniversary beer. Vinnie related, “Throughout the night, Ken and Fritz spoke (a lot). They, of course, spoke about the beers being served, but, mostly they told us old stories and talked about our industry. It was amazing and anyone that was there thought the same thing. I truly felt lucky to be in attendance and hear all the great stories.”
Both brewers are past recipients of the Brewers Association Recognition Award, presented each year to an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm and support have contributed to the brewpub and microbrewery movement. Maytag was bestowed the honor in 1988, and Grossman in 1991.
About the Craft Brewers Conference
The Craft Brewers Conference is known for attracting renowned brewing industry professionals and supporters as keynote speakers. The CBC is the nation’s largest annual gathering of the professional brewing industry. This year’s event takes place March 23-26 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.
Conference workshop presenters cover more than 50 topics ranging from technical brewing to brewery management and marketing. A complete list of speakers and selected seminar topics is available on the conference website.
Craft Brewers Conference also includes BrewExpo America®, the nation’s largest trade show for the craft brewing industry, featuring more than 200 of the top vendors in the industry. Attendees will also enjoy numerous social opportunities to sample the diversity of beers available in the San Francisco area.
Learn more about the Craft Brewers Conference at CraftBrewersConference.com.