The first annual Gluten-Free Craft Brewers Conference (GFCBC) took place at Holidaily Brewing Co. in Golden, Colorado on Wed. Oct 2. With research data showing that the gluten-free beer market is expected to climb 14% by 2022, gluten-free breweries from across the country gathered to collaborate on education, branding and marketing, and innovative ways to continue pushing the gluten-free beer industry forward.
Participating breweries included Holidaily Brewing in Golden, Co; Bierly Brewing in McMinnville, OR; Groundbreaker Brewing, Portland, OR; Ghostfish in Seattle, WA; Dos Luces inDenver, CO; N.E.F.F. Brewing in Tulsa, OK; Alt Brewing, Madison in WI; Burning Brothers, St. Paul, MN; Aurochs in Pittsburgh, PA; Mutantis Brewing in Portland, OR (brewery in planning).
“[This conference] exceeded expectations in the progress made. [We] made strides in collaborating a united message,” Karen Herz, founder of Holidaily Brewing Co. and organizer of the GFCBC, said. “Our goal is for a strong focus on education for distributors, retailers, and consumers.”
Additionally, the group of breweries discussed possibly adding a new certified gluten-free seal to dedicated gluten-free breweries, similar to ones seen on food products. They also also spoke about ongoing messaging to educate all consumers, not just gluten-intolerants, on gluten-free beers.
“There will be an ongoing campaign called #GetBeerCurious to educate consumers on the processes of brewing gluten-free beer, including safety procedures and quality ingredients used,” Herz said.
Other topics discussed include guiding consumers to understand the difference between gluten-free beers and gluten-reduced beers, slogans and unified messaging, social media techniques, and working with the media.
“I’m thrilled that the hundred percent dedicated gluten-free breweries around the world are now working together as a team to educate the public on the differences between our brews and the enzymatically treated beers which are being marketed to our community,”Paxton Scott, head of sales at Ground Breaker Brewing, said. “Our goal is to help educate people so they can make an informed decision on what they’re putting in their bodies. It’s time to get beer curious.”
The group also collaborated on a gluten-free brew called Weihnachtsbier (“Christmas Eve Beer”), a traditional spiced German Christmas lager. It will clock in at 7%, and be released a week or so before Thanksgiving, depending on tank availability. The beer is set to be released around Thanksgiving.
“Each year we hope to brew a collab for the Gluten Free Beer Conference (GFBC), and so this beer is being called the “GFBC 2019 Collaboration Brew – Weihnachtsbier,” Alan Windhausen, head brewer at Holidaily Brewing Co., said. “[The beer] includes Douglas Fir needles from Oregon (Bierly Brewing), Panela sugar from Columbia (Dos Luces Brewing), organic cloves, and organic cinnamon. It is lightly hopped with German noble varieties, and features new types of roasted and caramelized millet malt from Grouse Malthouse. Gluten-free lager yeast was donated by Propagate Yeast Labs.”
Although next year’s GFCBC date has not been set, it will take place at Holidaily Brewing Co. once again. Until then, quarterly meetings have been scheduled and a board has been formed to discuss overcoming challenges in this sector of the industry and encourage breweries to produce the highest quality and safest product available.