Craft Brewers Conference Makes Adjustments in Light of Coronavirus

Chinese equipment manufacturers will be scarce at next month's brewing trade show, while attendees from countries with high-risk travel warnings are eligible for full refunds.

Brewing Industry Guide Staff Mar 3, 2020 - 3 min read

Craft Brewers Conference Makes Adjustments in Light of Coronavirus Primary Image

The trade show floor at BrewExpo America 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Photo courtesy of the Brewers Association.

As the world grapples with the implications of the fast-spreading Coronavirus, the Brewers Association is anticipating a few concerns ahead of next month’s Craft Brewers Conference. The industry group issued an update for attendees on Monday.

The conference, along with the World Beer Cup competition and BrewExpo America trade show, is scheduled for April 19–22 in San Antonio, Texas.

One place where the fallout of the virus will be visible: the trade show floor. Chinese manufacturers will not be attending to exhibit their wares this year, except for those with staff based in the United States.

Another China-related issue: Will World Beer Cup judges be tasting beers sent from China? The association says that it is “closely monitoring the situation and is currently planning on judging all entries received.”

China has been the country most affected by the COVID-19 virus, with more than 80,000 cases of illness and 2,900 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to avoid all non-essential travel to China as well South Korea (4,335 cases), Italy (2,036), and Iran (1,501). Meanwhile the CDC is urging at-risk people to avoid travel to Japan (961). Those numbers are increasing daily, as are the countries with diagnosed cases (67 so far).

Officials have so far identified 100 cases in the United States, including six that were fatal.

The Brewers Association says that attendees from those countries under CDC travel restrictions (and only those countries) are eligible for full refunds.

Despite rising anxiety as health officials work to contain the virus, the current plan is for the conference to proceed as scheduled. “Currently, no federal restrictions are in place to prevent meetings and travel in the United States,” the BA says in the update. “However, misinformation—in the news, on social media, and other channels—has led to some incorrect assumptions and premature calls for meeting cancellations in the U.S.”