Author Topic: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review  (Read 5667 times)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« on: June 15, 2014, 06:31:45 AM »
It is Sunday morning, this one is history. My observations.

Host City - they went all out, the NHC was embraced by the local breweries.
DeVos Center - excellent venue with ample space. The friendly helpful staff were all great.
Local Committee - they rocked it.
Speakers - excellent talks. Too bad you can't go to all of those.
Forum meetup - always fun to meet face to face. Do it again next year.

Edit - the welcome session had poor acoustics, so it was nearly impossible to understand what was said. Overhead signs that identified the beers being poured would be an improvement. MI law states that brewers or distributors can't pour beer at an event like this, so that is why very few MI brewers were around. Still some room for improvement.

Everyone I talked to were all positive about the city. AHA and BA Staff were all smiles.

I put the odds of the NHC coming back to Grand Rapids someday as high.

See you in San Diego next year!
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 07:13:08 AM by hopfenundmalz »
Jeff Rankert
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2014, 09:48:50 AM »
I agree with all your points. Grand Rapids was great! I finally got to meet you and I had a great time hanging out with your fellow club members in the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild.
Dan Chisholm

Offline denny

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2014, 11:39:31 AM »
For whatever reasons, I went in with low expectations.  I'm happy to say I was completely wrong.  Great, friendly city, lots of cool breweries and hangout spots, wonderful venue.  But for me, the real treat is always getting to see thr friendsI only see at the conference.
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2014, 12:07:28 PM »
I also got to meet Denny and Drew who have helped me numerous times on this forum. I didn't want to be the "creepy brewer groupie" guy and those guys are very approachable and geniune nice guys. A great time was had by all.
Dan Chisholm

Offline mabrungard

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2014, 12:11:43 PM »
MI law states that brewers or distributors can't pour beer at an event like this, so that is why very few MI brewers were around. Still some room for improvement.

Oh, that explains it. I was pretty ticked that there was no brewery representation at the Pro counters. I wanted to rub elbows with the folks that actually knew something about the beers. The brewers would have been great, but at a minimum I would have appreciated a knowledgible Brewery Rep or something like that. Sorry we got shot down by another stupid state law. They seem to be everywhere.
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Offline Dave_in_Indiana

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2014, 12:19:24 PM »
Yeah, Great Conference and great seminars.

I agree it was hard to hear during the banquet. 

Looking forward to San Diego!

Offline denny

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2014, 12:21:53 PM »
I also got to meet Denny and Drew who have helped me numerous times on this forum. I didn't want to be the "creepy brewer groupie" guy and those guys are very approachable and geniune nice guys. A great time was had by all.

Dude, we're just homebrewers like everybody else.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline denny

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2014, 12:23:33 PM »
Yeah, Great Conference and great seminars.

I agree it was hard to hear during the banquet. 

Looking forward to San Diego!

No, it wasn't hard to hear...it was FREAKIN' IMPOSSIBLE to hear!  As an audio professional, I was offended.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Dave_in_Indiana

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2014, 01:43:25 PM »
Yeah, Great Conference and great seminars.

I agree it was hard to hear during the banquet. 

Looking forward to San Diego!

No, it wasn't hard to hear...it was FREAKIN' IMPOSSIBLE to hear!  As an audio professional, I was offended.

We sat about in the middle ... to be honest - after the meal, we left.  It was cool to talk with folks at our table and one guy had a lambic that was still in the competition ... we wanted to see if he won or not ... but we just couldn't understand anything, so we wished him good luck and got on the bus back to the hotel.

Really wanted to hear Jim Koch, too...

Even with that ... I still talked her into San Diego!   ;) :)

Offline jeffy

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2014, 03:37:14 PM »
When I saw them setting up the banquet tables on the same concrete floor of the Club Night room, I knew it was going to be impossible to hear anything.  I wonder why they didn't use one of the rooms with carpet or lower ceilings.

I agree that I felt very welcome in the local community.  Heck, they had welcome posters at a lot of bars.  They seem genuinely proud to be "beer city."  Lots of stuff within walking distance.  Nice city.

I think it might have been better to have the Homebrew Hospitality Suite closer to the entrance of the expo instead of off to the side.  It was odd that people had faster access to commercial beer than homebrew.  Our club had the very first shift on Thursday before a lot of people found the serving area so we didn't "sell" as much as we thought we would.

What happened to the leftover competition bottles this year?  Was that another state rule?

All in all, the city was friendly and accessible, except transportation to and from the airport (cab only); the venue was good except for acoustics; the seminars were good, but most were only presented once so you had to make a few tough choices. 

I had a big smile for 3.5 hours at club night.  I love club night and they had much more space than last year.

Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline mklawz

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2014, 05:44:36 PM »
I think it might have been better to have the Homebrew Hospitality Suite closer to the entrance of the expo instead of off to the side.  It was odd that people had faster access to commercial beer than homebrew.  Our club had the very first shift on Thursday before a lot of people found the serving area so we didn't "sell" as much as we thought we would.

Completely agree with the above comments.  Granted, we had an unfavorable time slot  (Saturday from 10-noon), we thought the location for the Social Club was bad and seemed like an after-thought behind the expo.   I also thought Social Club should have gone right up to the Banquet time.   There was a big gap from the closing of the Expo to the start of the banquet.  Our club brought home 30 partially full kegs of beer, yet there were several times that there was no beer to be found.

Other thoughts - as everyone else has said, the sound was deplorable.   I knew right away the tall ceilings and concrete floors were going to be an issue.  It was sort of an industrial looking banquet room.     

The BN as Club of the Year is a complete sham.   Quaff was robbed again.  When is HomebrewTalk going to form a club??   

Overall great conference.  Grand Rapids was great.  My only complaints are the Social Club was a little lame, the sound, and the Club of the Year.  Everything else was fantastic.

Offline fatguybrew

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2014, 05:47:29 AM »
I thought it was a great place and a great time. Grand Rapids is not far from Chicago and I have found a new weekened getaway spot for sure.

Club night killed it.

I thought the way the social area/ booth setup was crazy. Too close (right on top) of the expo. If someone was pouring in the expo it was hard to even get in the thing at times.

BNA9 was super fun. Kickball was a blast. With that being said, I still felt that Pro Night was missed and I am curious as to why it was left off the roster.

Brewery Vivant was my favorite place.

Cider Panels were the best and most informative. Mitch Steels botanicals and spices was a close 2nd.

Banquet Dinner was UNREAL! (If you like meat). The acoustics were so bad. Some simple drapes hanging from the rafters would help a lot. Hopefully the convention center learned from it.

The way they let us setup and breakdown club booths was so accomodating. Last years end of club nite fire drill was unfair and unexpected. Big change this year.

I didnt mind the BN winnning as a club in the beginning, but now that they are a Business first, IMO that makes them not a club. Time to explore a rule change there on what identifies you as a club.

I want to love the San Diego pick for next year, but I think it is WAY to soon to have it there again. I cant see how there isn't more cities that wouldnt line up to support this. A few that come to mind would be Dallas, Phoenix, Milliwaukee, Chicago, St Louis, Kansas City, San Francisco and New Orleans. I am curios as to why San Diego got so much attention again? I do understand how the selection process works, I just find it strange that no other clubs in those cities couldnt pull this off.

All in all another Uber successful NHC. Looking forward to 2015. Cheers.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 05:51:14 AM by fatguybrew »

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2014, 06:13:48 AM »
Fatguybrew - the social club was in the Expo area in Philly. The vendors that I know were happy with the extra space in the expo this year, even with more vendors.

Jeff - there were some second round bottles in Conf. chair's suite afterwards. I don't know why they were there, or why not outside the banquet for the hour the tap was open.

In the expo there were brewery reps pouring beer, and I talked to several I know. There must be some language that makes that OK. At the Michigan Brewers Guild Festivals, the brewers and staff are pouring beer. At local festivals they can be behind the booth,but can't pour. I will have to ask about that.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline bphad

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Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2014, 07:14:16 AM »
Yeah, Great Conference and great seminars.

I agree it was hard to hear during the banquet. 

Looking forward to San Diego!

No, it wasn't hard to hear...it was FREAKIN' IMPOSSIBLE to hear!  As an audio professional, I was offended.

We sat about in the middle ... to be honest - after the meal, we left.  It was cool to talk with folks at our table and one guy had a lambic that was still in the competition ... we wanted to see if he won or not ... but we just couldn't understand anything, so we wished him good luck and got on the bus back to the hotel.

Really wanted to hear Jim Koch, too...

Even with that ... I still talked her into San Diego!   ;) :)

Middle was a mess for Audio

We got up and moved to the side of the room, we could hear from that point for some reason.

That was the only down point of the whole weekend for me, couldn't hear while eating the meal.
Brewing....