Great American Brewers Dialogues

Dialogue: An open, honest, and civil conversation among parties to understand, address, and/or overcome challenges. 

The Dialogues

Two main purposes motivate this Dialogue event: To generate awareness of common, unique and potential issues within the brewing industry; and to initiate problem solving methods to address these (and possibly other) issues. We want to expand and enrich the collective knowledge within the brewing industry. Our expertise is in dispute management and communication. This includes facilitating information exchange and understanding.

A brewery is a business and business matters can taint the rosy image of brewing. Many challenges face breweries and addressing them can be an overwhelming task. Fortunately, brewers are quick to help each other in whatever way they can. The Great American Brewers Dialogue enhances this assistance. With the guidance of professional facilitators, this group discussion can touch on many issues, including, but not limited to:

  • Expansion
  • Business Partner Relations
  • Market Saturation
  • Supply / Distribution
  • Customer Relations
  • Employee Responsibilities
  • Zoning Codes
  • Staff Recruitment & Retention
  • Trademark / Branding
  • and more

Why Have A Brewers-Only Dialogue?

This event is specifically for those who work in a brewery: owners, brewers, managers, and staff.  We want participants to be open and honest, and to keep what is discussed confidential; no “outsiders” are invited (suppliers, distributors, restaurateurs, retailers, etc).

So What Is A Dialogue?

A dialogue is more than a discussion. Not to get too philosophical or historical, but it is a conversation that has its participants inform and to be continually informed by other participants. Dialogue allows for criticism, praise, knowledge exchange, idea formation, problem solving, and ideally, progress. It is open communication in effort to learn. We encourage differences of opinion, contrasting approaches, and unique perspectives. 

How Is It Going To Work?

There is no one format we stick to at GABD throughout the years. Some are more training focused, while others encourage dynamic conversation.  While an end goal or solution is not a priority, it can be set by the group. Of chief importance, though, is the exchange of information. The facilitators will help participants stay on topic, clarify ideas/statements, encourage creativity, and unpack complex issues. 

Why Are Facilitators Needed?

Dialogue is not easy. It is more than people just sitting down and chatting. Facilitators will challenge assumptions and provide reality checks to ideas. This requires patience, understanding, willingness to be wrong and criticized, creative thinking and information storage (note taking).  When ideas or processes are criticized, people can become defensive and tend to retreat from discussion. A facilitator keeps the criticism under control and localized on an issue or situation and away from the person. Sometimes a river of bad ideas produces one great idea and many groups do not have the time, skill, or patience to see manage this formulation. Facilitators have the skills necessary to dig deeper into symptoms to reveal root problems for the group to address.

A facilitator acts as the “head” of the discussion without presenting an overarching authoritative presence. Many times with group meetings, the leader (boss, supervisor, etc) evokes an unseen / heard presence that keeps others at bay. In a facilitated dialogue, there is no leader, just a guide.

Why During GABF?

Simple: there are A LOT of brewing industry folks in town that week. Brewers are busy–getting them together is extremely difficult. GABF and Craft Brewers Conference draw the most, so it is convenient for all involved to have it during GABF week.


The GABD does not have a permanent home. Sometimes, we have them in hotel meetings room in downtown Denver. Other times they are at local breweries. And still other times we use our office in Wheat Ridge, CO. 

Ok, I'm In. How Much Is It?

It’s FREE! All you would pay for is any beer and food you may want. OvalOptions is doing that is to provide assistance to a growing industry, and Jason is a beer geek. Plus, our facilitators love doing stuff like this.

What Do I Do Now?

Stay tuned to this page for information on the next GABD. A link will be provided. 

The 2019 GABD will be on Diversity & Inclusion Sustainability

Is Anybody Keeping Track Of Information That Is Discussed?

Yes. OvalOptions (solely) aims to gather information to use in research into the industry, compile reports and release pertinent information / results back to the industry only. No information will be released to those outside the primary brewing industry. Since we cannot foresee which matters will be discussed and what information may be discovered, it is difficult to produce an accurate example. However, basic statistical information is easier to imagine: hypothetically, say, 80% of all participants indicated they have concerns with market saturation. Or, 10% though expansion is a bad idea. We may use such information to adjust and enhance our services to the industry, such as trainings, coaching, seminars, and organizational conflict management systems.

Note: If you would like a particular topic addressed but are not comfortable bringing it up, please email me at and I will get it to your respective facilitator.