As the craft beer business booms in Colorado, there’s another emerging market that has all the fun of craft beer culture without the grueling brewing process. Since the popularity of craft beer in the state is quickly growing, so does the frequency of beer programs and events — and the people running them are the ones “living the dream.”
Craft beer consultants and event planners are the people who run programs educating restaurants and hotels how to compile a craft beer menu that complements their food, and coordinating events that bring craft brewers together and to the public for festivals showcasing their brews.
“It’s a passion industry. We have six or eight people in the company who all get paid enough to live. No one’s making a lot of money,” PJ Hoberman, co-owner of Denver’s Imbibe, told Denver Business Journal. “But we get by. We have the ability to ski on a Tuesday. We drink beer…and we bring joy to people’s lives.”
Though the business is fulfilling, it isn’t terribly lucrative — yet.
In 2001, Laura Lodge, co-owner of Denver’s Imbibe, helped her brother organize a festival to spread awareness about the quickly growing craft beer industry — and the festival has grown quite a bit itself. This year, 126 breweries will participate in the festival, which sold out in seconds.
Part of the success of the event planning business is handling the ticketing for the events and selling “Passports,” which basically functions like a discount card at participating restaurants and bars in different cities. Social media also plays a large role in the marketing of these events — 70% of people who use social media are connected to at least one local business — and more and more of them are craft breweries.
The surge of popularity of the craft beer business facilitates the beer consulting and event planning business, which could see similar growth over the next few years.