or CBC: The Roller Coaster of Emotions
or CBC: How many mistakes can one girl make??
Hey there! Amanda here! I wanted to share with you, my story of the Craft Brewers Conference down in DC. CBC, as it is commonly referred to, is an amazing event that allows brewers from around the world to get together once a year to learn, buy and socialize. I was given media passes to attend and was excited to be able to go and see what it was all about! This here story starts a week prior to my flying out for CBC.
The Week Before
CBC started officially on Tuesday with pre-conference events on Monday. I am the type of person that needs to breathe in a space before I feel comfortable so I booked my flight for Sunday so I could get in, settled and be ready to hit the ground running. I had all of my equipment mostly packed and only had intentions of collecting audio and making connections. But…the Sunday before I was to leave…I learned my job was being in-sourced! My time, working remotely for someone else was done. There were about 5 of us contracted workers that lost our job that day as the company decided to bring everything in house.
I decided to take advantage of this time and lean into Great Beer Adventure! I was going to make (and still plan on making) this brand the most amazing beer and travel brand out there!! The entire week was spent taking meetings and fielding ideas on how to turn GBA into something that could sustain itself. One idea, which I think is really going to be amazing for everyone involved, was to put together a directory of breweries around the country. Breweries will pay a fee to be part of this directory (and get a bunch of perks, a lot that will directly benefit you too!!) and the plan was to use CBC as a launching ground for the directory. I worked tirelessly putting together the program and a slide deck and running it past people.
I spent every moment I had free working on it, so much so, that I ended up packing my clothes 30 minutes before I left for the airport!
When the universe tries to help
I didn’t leave my house at the time I was supposed to. I was probably about 20 minutes later than planned. My things didn’t fit into my allotted bags but I figured I would make it work somehow. And the universe decided to play a hand! As I was checking in I ran into Sean from the Maine Brewers Guild!!! What luck! He very kindly popped my business cards into his bag and we walked together to security. Sean, like most people, passed through security with no problems. I, like most folks who travel with extensive amounts of recording equipment, did not. After repacking my overstuffed bag I proceed towards the gate and caught back up with Sean. We shared conversations, podcast recommendations and beers as we waited for our plane to load.
The flight was a smooth one. The crying baby was only a slight annoyance. My seat mate was quiet the whole time. As we approached the airport it was amazing seeing the monuments from such an angle! I met back up with Sean to grab my business cards and hailed a Lyft car. I decided to go for the Lyft line (Mistake #1 & #2) The realization that I should have taken public transportation came me to later in the week! It would have saved me a ton of money! Also, Lyft line added SOOO much time to my drive and the guy didn’t know how to access the airport the way he was supposed to so he had three of us (me and the other two liners) trying to find him at the airport!
The Beginning of the End
Once I got to the house I was staying at I settled in and immediately set out on an adventure. I grabbed another Lyft and headed to Caboose Brewing Company! It was fabulous! I had tasty beers, yummy snacks and great conversations! It was such a lovely evening that I walked over to Whole Foods and grabbed a couple of beers at the bar, grabbed some food to go (Mistake #3 in the making) and some beers to pack up and bring home to my wonderful husband. That is how we do this you see; I travel and bring beer home to him and he stays with the kids while I am gone!
I grabbed another Lyft back to the house I was staying at and stored my Whole Foods sushi in the fridge (Mistake #3 officially) before hitting the hay!
The conference set up brewery tours around the area for folks who were coming in early to enjoy! I was lucky enough to be on a tour with Nate from Flight Deck Brewing, Harvey from Wise Man Brewing and a number of gents from Canada! (Plus a whole bunch more but those are the folks I hung out with all day!) We went to Monocacy Brewing Company, Rockwell Brewing, Mad Science and Brewer’s Alley for lunch! It was a fabulous day. Before the day begin though I made a number of mistakes: I took another Lyft line (I am a glutton for punishment!) (Mistake #4), I tried to find a printer so I walked a half mile from the convention center and it was closed (Mistake #5 & #6 as there was a printer right in the convention center!!! that was open!) and got a greasy breakfast sandwich without enough napkins (Mistake #7).
Upon returning back from our brewery tour I hit up a couple of events for a minute or two each before making my way to Welcome Party at the American History and the Natural History Museums. I was able to meet up with so many awesome folks! I shared cars with the gents from FoulMouthed, I ran into the HopYard guys and I toured the American History Museum with Nathan from Rising Tide Brewing Company! It was truly a beer geeks dream day! I even got to interview a few amazing people, including Laura Bell from Bell’s Brewery! I Lyfted (Mistake #8) back to the house and decided it had been such a good day I would eat the Whole Foods sushi before going to bed. (Mistake #9!! This was a BIG one! It ended up ruining all plans I had!)
Tuesday & Wednesday
I woke up Tuesday and I was sick! Big time, food poisoning, fever, sick sick! My body wanted nothing to do with traveling around but I refuse to admit that I am ever sick so I packed up and tried my best. My best sucked!!! I can not recall any of the specific events or conversations I had, or how many additional mistakes I made during these two days. Both nights I went to sleep super early and hoped that the next day would be better.
We’ve got this! (Maybe)
Finally, I was feeling mostly myself. I had not accomplished any of my goals and I had recorded very little audio. Hope had been abandoned that I would be able to launch my membership program at CBC and so I focused on collecting audio. There were way too many cards left and had to transport beer hope so I packed up a box of things I felt comfortable sending through the mail and hit up public transportation!! I was going to rock this last day of the conference. When I got close I popped out of the subway and grabbed some breakfast before jumping back on and heading over to the convention center.
On my way back down the escalator (which escalators all on their lonesome freak me out) and the box with all of my cards and various pieces of equipment breaks sending business cards and stickers everywhere!!! They escalator is getting closer and closer to the end of its way and I can’t pick them up quick enough. I am freaking out that I am going to get sucked in. My iced coffee cover and straw pop off and land on the floor and a passer-by tried to help by putting the straw (which was on the subway floor, THE SUBWAY FLOOR) back into my previously clean, still drinkable coffee. I have no idea how many cards and stickers got sucked into the bottom of the escalator. And there is no trash can around for me to throw the coffee stained ones or now undrinkable coffee away in!
Let’s try this again!
I try to put everything back in the broken box and jump on a train and head to the convention center. (What mistake am I up to at this point?? Just for giggles I also forgot deodorant that day.) I head to the FedEx center located in the convention center and the lady (between flirting with hop growers or maltsters or whoever they were) very kindly offered me a new box and told me she would take care of it all! (Mistake #23243: Trusting the overly distracted FedEx lady. She decided to not tape the bottom and I can only guess how much got lost on its way back to Maine.)
The rest of the day actually went quite well! I got loads of audio, got to check out the Expo halls, finally had some beers, hit up the Pink Boots Society meeting and have dinner with Monhegan Brewing!
I headed back to the house at a reasonable time, packed my things up and went to bed. The next day I flew home with no big events or mistakes. Of course, I was stopped in security but that is just the usual these days.
Folks keep telling me that next year will be better but I am still not sure what next year will bring for me. I wish I had felt better so I would have a better sense of what CBC is supposed to be like. Currently, I am still quite bruised (emotionally from all of my mistakes) to even think about next year but wounds heal and next year is in Nashville….so…..we’ll see.