Last week, Washington D.C. was inundated with craft brewers and beer geeks as the Brewers Association’s Craft Brewers Conference was held in the nation’s capital. This conference was a mix of trade shows, seminars, receptions, tap-takeovers, and special events around the city. My hotel was in Georgetown and found a great little pizza/beer spot just down the road (Pizzeria Paradiso). As a craft beer geek, I was in heaven.
As a conflict management specialist, I was embarking on a new frontier for Oval Options. Heading into the conference week, I had questions: was there much conflict in craft brewing? If so, where did it originate and where did it show itself? Who would be interested in Oval Options services? How would craft brewers and brewery owners react to conflict management service? These questions and more (like, “does Oklahoma produce a nice saison?”) bounced around in my noodle all week.
The answers I received were helpful (yes, Oklahoma does have a nice saison). As per every business, craft brewing does endure its share of conflicts, although not as many as other industries. This is for several reasons, but the main one is the intimate and personal nature of breweries. Brewers make beer because they love to make (and drink) beer. Enjoying a monetary profit is a bonus. They also love the community atmosphere of brewing. They’ll talk to anybody, share a beer with everybody, and are always interested in new things…especially beers.
I had a great time speaking, and drinking with craft brewers from all over the U.S. and some from the international scene. At the Churchkey I ordered a beer with my friend Alan from Backcountry Brewery, and started chatting with the guys from Fernie Brewing in Canada. Nice people, nice beer, nice conversation. That wraps up the character of craft brewing right there.