Inaugural Sampling & Educational Conference

Conference Speakers

Stan Hieronymus

Brewing Local: Why and How

Stan Hieronymus is a lifelong journalist who has made beer and brewing his beat since 1992. He has written four books for Brewers Publications that reflect the diversity of his interests, ranging from monastic brewing practices to hop science. As the title of his most recent book, Brewing Local: American-Grown Beer, suggests he is an advocate of terroir, and comments on it at

Steve Parkes

The Origins of Beer Flavor

Steve Parkes splits his time between being the owner and lead instructor at the American Brewers Guild Brewing School and the Head Brewer’s job at Drop In Brewing in Middlebury Vermont. He graduated from Heriot-Watt University, with a degree in Brewing Science in 1982 and has spent the last 35 years working in small and medium sized breweries on both sides of the Atlantic. He has built breweries from scratch using both used and new equipment, and has years of experience in practical problem solving. He has been a regular speaker at the annual Craft Brewers Conference, is a veteran GABF and World Beer Cup judge, held office at the regional level with MBAA, and at a national level with the AOB board of advisors. He co-wrote the chapter on brewhouse operations for the recently published MBAA Practical handbook for the Specialty Brewer and several entries in the Oxford Companion to Beer

Matt Rutkowski

Spiegelau Glass Pairing

Matt is a brand and product development executive who works globally with the craft beer, food service and retail industries. Key work includes the creation of style-specific Craft Beer Glassware developed in collaboration with some the very best craft breweries in the United States. These unique (and award winning) products have him actively cross-promoting glass with craft beer, while working closely with the top breweries, beer, wine, food service distributors and retailers in the world.

Matt Albrecht

Cooperage & Barrels 101

A New England native, Matt was raised by a family of woodworkers and craftsman. Starting his company in 2008, River Drive was among the pioneers of the Craft Beverage revolution. Using a consultative approach, Matt and his crew work closely with beer, wine, and spirit makers to customize and fine tune their aging programs. Matt combines the art of old fashioned coopering with industry leading technology, all built upon a foundation of Quality, Consistency, and Control. Matt also runs an online barrel sourcing site.

Jamie Scheppers

Pink Boots: Women in the Industry

Jamie Scheppers grew up around the beer industry. Her grandfather, Norb Scheppers, started N.H. Scheppers in 1950 and grew the business into something that would be passed down and support later generations of the family. Oddly, when Jamie was younger and her father, Joe Scheppers, was running the business, she wanted nothing to do with the beer industry.  She had set her eyes on becoming an engineer. Well, a year into college at Northwestern University, she ended up transferring to the journalism program where she graduated with her BSJ and MSJ.

Eventually Jamie came to her senses and allowed her cousin and current NHSDC President, Joe Priesmeyer, to talk her into joining the family business. In 2013, after a 10-year career spent as a magazine editor and web development project manager, she also joined NHSDC. Officially, Jamie is the Sales Execution Coordinator for the business, but she spends much time cross training and learning all aspects of the business so that she can follow after previous generations and one day run the company. (No pressure…)

Dan Simmons

Allocation Games: Beer Buying Strategies

Dan Simmons has the luxury of seeing craft beer through multiple lenses.  After spending 25 years in the sales and marketing segments of the commercial horticulture and landscape industry, he left the world of ornamental plants for that of adult beverages.  Dan started out fighting the trench warfare that is big box retail but, eventually, moved on to manage Harry’s Liquor, a stand-alone beer, wine and spirits store owned by, and housed inside of, one of Kansas City’s largest grocery chains.  Shortly after the passing of his wife in late 2015, Dan departed Harry’s for North Kansas City Beverage serving as a retail merchandiser and on-premise draught technician for the distributor’s Craft Beer Division.  After a year in distribution, Crane Brewing Company located in Raytown, Missouri, approached Dan about a new position with their young brewery and, in February of 2017, he joined the brewery’s team where he currently handles sales, branding and social media.

Dan is passionate about craft beer and has a strong presence in the craft beer community, not only in Kansas City, but nationally, and has developed a large following of craft beer enthusiasts, on multiple social media platforms, who simply know him as “Dan the Beer Man”.  When asked about his favorite beer, he’ll typically reply “the one in my hand”, but anyone who truly knows him, knows that he’s a sucker for beers with coffee in them, regardless of style…

Cat Golden

Pink Boots: Women in the Industry

After over a decade of teaching Advanced Placement Literature and Composition to high school seniors, Cat Golden, Head Brewer and Production Operations Manager at Mark Twain Brewing Company, longed for a change that would challenge her in new ways.  A passionate homebrewer, Cat ended her teaching career and moved to Missouri from her home in Nashville, Tennessee to apprentice at a craft brewery in the St. Louis area.  Once she had mastered the skill of brewing on a professional scale, Cat was hired to brew full time.  A serendipitous weekend trip to Hannibal in 2014 led her to fall in love with the river, the welcoming community, and the unique character of downtown.  So, when offered the opportunity to relocate to Hannibal a year later to brew at Mark Twain, she jumped at the chance to make “America’s Hometown” her home. 

When she’s not brewing, you’ll find Cat exploring the Mississippi River on her boat, traveling to other breweries across the world, or playing tag with her rambunctious and exceedingly charming kitty, Oliver.

Johnny Eaker

Social Media Marketing: Shaping Your Brand Online with Video

Johnny is the Co-founder of Cosmic Sauce where he helps brands win with video and social media. From his experiences working in both in-house and external creative agencies, he believes in strategy first followed by engaging, compelling content which drives an audience to action.

Chris Kuhn

Monetizing Every Pour: Draft Quality & Off Flavors

Chris is a Missouri native currently residing in Austin, Texas.  He has enjoyed spreading the good word of Quality for New Belgium Brewing Company for the past three years.  Previously, he worked for Missouri wholesaler Major Brands as a Draught Technician.

Billy Cabral

Moderator - Allocation Games: Beer Buying Strategies

Billy Cabral is the founder and lead consultant of FOH Consulting. FOH helps bars and restaurants throughout the United States with the start up and operations of all things “Front of House”.

The experienced beverage team consists of specialists in craft beer, wine, and craft cocktail mixology. They offer the training and management of staffing, inventory, service, drink menu creation, shift management, and events. Their independent team of freelance consultants market themselves strictly on the word of their clients.

Billy is also former co-owner of 1839 Taphouse. He has been an avid part of Columbia’s thriving craft beer scene in capacities such as hosting and organizing Columbia Beer Enthusiast events, judging in the Logboat/iTap home brew competition, and speaking to Mizzou’s Professional Beverage Management Class.

Annie Davis

Moderator - Pink Boots: Women in the Industry

Annie has been a member of Pink Boots Society  for over three years. She spends her time at Double Shift Brewing in Kansas City, MO doing anything from micro testing to keg washing to slinging beers in the taproom. She is always up for a great conversation about beer. When she isn’t at the brewery, she is managing a beer department at Rimann Liquors of Lenexa, Kansas.

Jason Gregory

Allocation Games: Beer Buying Strategies

Jason Gregory has been working in the beer industry in Missouri for four years and has been an organizer for a variety of beer festivals in the northeast Missouri area. Working as the brand manager at Golden Eagle Distributing Co. he has managed a broad portfolio that consists of several local, regional, and national breweries. Normal tasks include ordering and managing inventory, securing new product authorizations and adding points of distribution for suppliers products, as well as providing support for on-premise events, promos, and other tastings. In his spare time, Jason is typically travelling to other beer fests across the United States or working with local area non-profits to enhance their fundraising efforts with ideas that support the local home brewing community and the craft beer industry.

One of Jason’s most recent projects is Brew Skies Music Festival, which takes place in June in Hannibal, Missouri. For more information on Brew Skies, visit their website at

Lydia Melton

Pink Boots: Women in the Industry

As the Founder and CEO of Günter Hans, Lydia Melton is an entrepreneur at heart with a severe case of wanderlust. In fact, her passion for travel led her to open her first bar at the age of 24. Having studied abroad in Belgium, Melton came home to find that many of the beers and treats she loved in Europe were unavailable in the U.S. Worse, many people had never heard of these brands.

Armed with copious amounts of data and an unhealthy level of motivation, Melton approached the bank with her plan. A bar designed to serve customers all things European- including an abundance of items guests have never tried before.

Lacking experience, capital and collateral in a risk-ridden industry, the bank agreed on one condition. Melton had to fundraise $20,000 from the local community to prove support for her concept. Using the “all or nothing” funding platform called Kickstarter, Melton reached her goal with hours to spare.

More than three years later, Günter Hans has not only proven to be a success, but has driven Melton to win several accolades including a position on Hawthorn Bank’s Young Business Leader’s Council and Columbia Business Times, “Top 20 Under 40” leader awards.

Jonathan Whitaker

Allocation Games: Beer Buying Strategies

Jonathan Whitaker is the General Manager of International Tap House

Jon Whitaker started with International Tap House in Chesterfield, Missouri in 2010 when he simply needed a bartending gig to help pay bills after finishing law school. Seven years later, the business has gone from a single, small neighborhood bar in the St. Louis suburbs to 5 across Missouri with the most recent location being opened in downtown Kansas City. He’s managed bars and has experience buying and curating large draft and draft bottle lists in three different markets, including: a virtual island in the suburbs trying to sell craft beer in a Budweiser town (St. Louis), a college town (Columbia) that wasn’t yet experienced with the flavor profile and price point found in the craft market, and now an up and coming and extremely diverse downtown arts district in Kansas City.  He continues to stay fascinated at following the trends of all three tiers and how that ultimately affects the consumer.