May 2, 2022 - Things to Do

Craft brewers flow into Minneapolis for major conference

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Minneapolis is the center of the craft beer universe, at least for the next few days.

What's happening: The Craft Brewers Conference, which runs Monday through Thursday at the convention center, is expected to draw more than 9,000 attendees representing 1,200 breweries from all 50 states.

Why it matters: The annual gathering is a big deal in the beer world. But it's also cheers-worthy for downtown's tourism and hospitality industries.

  • The event, which is the biggest conference to hit the convention center since 2019, is projected to generate $12 million in direct spending locally, per the Brewers Association.

Plus: Local breweries will participate in the conference and host events, including stops on a bus tour of local beer-makers.

What they're saying: "Everyone's gonna be out there exploring our local tastes, flavors, what we have to offer as Minnesotans, because that's the spirit of who we are [as brewers]," Lift Bridge Brewing Co. co-owner Brad Glynn told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

State of (local) taps: Organizers have said they picked us because of the state's booming beer scene.

  • The number of breweries in Minnesota has exploded from 39 in 2012 to more than 200 today.

Yes, but: The market for craft beer has declined and some local industry veterans are predicting that oversaturation will soon prompt slowdowns and closures.

Be smart (craft beer aficionado edition): Axios' resident beer nerd John Frank tells us this year's conference will focus on how the industry can spark growth and evolve as the pandemic and market forces disrupt the sector.

What to watch: Keep an eye out for events and special releases open to the public this week.


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