Corporate Events Serve Craft Beer

Corporate Events Serve Craft Beer: When Did That Start?

Beer At Corporate Events

A few months ago, I traveled to San Jose for work where I attended a conference for a very large software company. The event was in a major hotel next to the convention center. Part of this event included a networking session with food and beverages.

American Domestic BeersIn my experience, an event like this has a few wine selections, possibly some mixed drinks and a few domestic beers. Sometimes an import (Heineken) sneaks into the mix. So I had very low expectations on what beer options would be provided.

And as predicted, when I walked up to the bar I saw a white and red wine that was flanked by a few liquor bottles. But wait, what were those bottles on the other side of the bar top? It was beer but there wasn’t a Budweiser, Bud Light, Corona, Coors Light or Miller Lite in sight. Instead, I saw the following:

  • Lagunitas IPA
  • New Belgium Fat Tire
  • Sam Adams Boston Lager
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Widmers Brothers Brewing Hefe
  • Blue Moon Belgian WhiteSierra Nevada Pale Ale

At first, I wasn’t impressed. I am a craft beer enthusiast and wanted to see something local or unique. But as I ordered the Lagunitas IPA, I realized this line up was much more impressive than I was giving it credit for; since when did corporate events serve craft beer?


Before continuing, I know that many will argue that some of the beers above are not “craft” based on the definition provided by the Brewers Association. I know what their definition says and I have written about what I think about it. Regardless of how you categorize them, these beers were still better than the various American light lagers that normally dominate corporate events.

Macro Lagers – Nowhere To Be Seen!

Where were the standard macro-lager options?

BudweiserIt is possible that these beers were intentionally selected by the event coordinator. Maybe the person spearheading the event loves beer and insisted on a something better (if so, I am truly grateful!). Or is it possible that this is their standard offering for a networking event.

Either way, this says a lot about beer preferences and how tastes are changing among the general public. From the craft beer viewpoint, it is easy to believe that the demand for more beer variety is increasing. But I always thought that was limited to craft beer fans; it looks like I was wrong. So, what would make corporate events serve craft beer? Simple, it is what clients and attendees want. For years, they have provided the same options but customers are demanding more options and businesses are taking notice.

From my perspective, craft beer replacing domestic beer is not something I think about often. I didn’t move from domestic beer to craft beer. Instead, I jumped right into craft beer. The reality is domestic beer drinkers are trying craft beer and seeing that there is more to beer than the American light lager. Many like what they find and are drinking more and more craft as a result.

New Belgium Fat TireThis shift is happening at a rate that is impacting what beer options are given at corporate events, restaurants, sporting events and anywhere else beer is served. At this event, there were no complaints about the beer selection. In fact, multiple people were very happy to see a corporate event serve craft beer. Some even commented that they enjoyed being able to try a few different beers. Which leads me back to my favorite topic, craft beer creates community. At this event, craft beer was bringing people together as they discussed which beer they were drinking and what they liked about it. I think every networking event should turn into a craft beer tasting.

Yes, Corporate Events Serve Craft Beer

It is quite clear that craft beer is truly integrated into our daily lives and for many it is replacing the traditional domestic beer. This shift will continue to be a slow, steady movement but it is one with great momentum. Craft beer fans are speaking up and asking that their local businesses offer craft beer.

Craft beer just recently exceeded 12% market share so there is a long way to go before craft beer even comes close to competing with the American lager brands. But this type of shift shows that craft beer has captured more than 12% mind share and it’s influence continues to grow.

Have you witnessed corporate events serve craft beer?

If not, where have you spotted a surprisingly good craft beer list?


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