2018 NanoCon Speakers


Vilija Bizinkauskas graduated from Framingham State College with a degree in food and nutrition science and is currently the Lead Brewer at Drop-In Brewing Company in Middlebury, Vermont. Vilija previously brewed at Cape Cod Beer and Barleycorn’s Craft Beer, both located in Massachusetts. She is a graduate of the American Brewers Guild where she also now gives current students hands-on instruction in the Guild’s brewery. Let Vilija show you how to best clean your way to better beer with the ins and outs of small-scale CIP systems as well as knowing how to spot secret trouble spots to keep an eye on when cleaning any commercial brewery.


John Blichmann is is the President of Blichmann Engineering. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1988 from Iowa State University and worked at Caterpillar for 15 years. He’s been an avid brewer for over 25 years. He started Blichmann Engineering in 2001 in his garage, and focused on providing homebrewers top quality, innovative products. Blichmann Engineering has supplied equipment to over a hundred nano breweries, helping them achieve their goals. Over the past several years they’ve expanded to turnkey systems up to 10 BBL with a broad range of cellaring and support equipment. Let equipment guru John Blichmann help you sort out what to keep on your radar as you hunt for a home for your new Nano in the “Infrastructure Sizing for your Nano” session on Friday, November 2 and for Saturday, November 3, John will speak on “Pro Options for Heat: Choosing Between Steam, Electric, Gas & More” to help you understand the are pros and cons to consider whether to go with steam, electric or gas.


Chris Rockwood is the head brewer for Magic Hat Company.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Michael’s college in Colchester, VT with focuses in Economics and Philosophy. Through his tenure at Magic Hat, Chris has worked through all facets of brewing operations, including experience in the sales force, and as the lead cellarman before taking the role of head brewer. Armed with a diploma from the Master Brewer’s Association of the Americas’ concise course on Brewing and Malting Science and over a decade of brewing experience, he manages a talented team of brewers to create the best tasting beer on the planet one batch at a time.


Glenn Clark is the President of Crafting A Brand, Co. Glenn will speak two different times on Friday, November 2: “Building on Your Brewery Branding” will help you take a look at doing a branding audit to make sure you are focused on the most effective stories surrounding your brewery, but are also united in reinforcing that story with customers. Later that same Friday, Glenn will speak on”Brewery Branding 101″. Glenn works with breweries on branding every day and he’ll share the keys you need to consider before even opening your doors.


Audra Gaiziunas is the owner of Brewed for Her Ledger, LLC, a management consultancy firm focused on providing guidance to the craft brewing and cider communities. Prior to owning her own company she served as Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Controller 2009-2010 and Mother Earth Brewing’s Chief Financial Officer 2011-2014. She has been working exclusively in craft beer for 9 years. A graduate from the prestigious Kenan-Flagler OneMBA program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Audra possesses over a decade and a half of experience in senior leadership roles in craft brewing, manufacturing, services, non-profits and startups. She earned her undergraduate degree in accounting and business management (double major) from Loras College (Dubuque, IA) in 1997.  Her passions include homebrewing, mobile marketing, crafting stories from numbers, and paying it forward. When you won’t find her on the beach surfing or in the mountains hiking, you’ll find her blazing the trails racing, camping out of her FJ, backpacking, and exploring Western North Carolina’s beautiful mountains. On Friday, November 2, Audra will speak on “Creating (and Financing!) Your Nano Business Plan” to help you write better business plans that will in turn help raise money to get your new brewery off the drawing board and into business. Later that Friday,  Audra will show you how to make sense of the cost-side of your business so you can make better decisions overall with “How Much Was That Last Batch?: Brewery Cost Accounting”.  Audra who regularly works with craft breweries on operational audits and how to improve their processes, accounting procedures, and other key aspects often overlooked in small-scale breweries will speak on Saturday, November 3 about “Operational Audits to Achieve Savings” to show you how to learn what the key metrics are to keep in mind and how to best tackle this internal audit.


Pablo Gómez travels the East Coast representing White Labs, Inc. and visits breweries helping brewers with anything relating to yeast and fermentation. He is also the Spanish translator editor for the AHA’s Zymurgy magazine, hosts a podcast for The Brewing Network and is one of the reviewers for the Spanish version of the Cicerone Program. In “Nano-Sized Yeast Management” on Saturday, November 3, Pablo will speak about the keys to managing your yeast in a small-scale brewery from re-pitching, taking yeast counts, and keeping the yeast healthy for a good fermentation.


Ashton Lewis started working for Brew Your Own before the premier edition even hit the market in 1995 and has filled the role of Mr. Wizard and Technical Editor over the last 23 years.  In 1997 he joined the Paul Mueller Company as part of their brewery equipment group and as the Master Brewer at the Springfield Brewing Company, a showcase brewery built by Mueller that same year.  He is still the Master Brewer at Springfield Brewing Company and one of the partners in the business following its sale in 2011. Ashton is also a sales representative for BSG Craftbrewing in the MIdwest region.  Ashton completed his M.S. in food/brewing science from UC Davis in 1994 and his B.S. in food science from Virginia Tech in 1991. Ashton will walk you through what you should be doing before you add that next item to your next beer so you can make sure your beer will be as good as it can be in his “Evaluating Raw Materials” session on Friday, November 2 and later that day, Ashton will lead “Accurately Forecasting Ingredient Purchases” to help walk you through what you need to know to be as accurate as you can be with your own ingredient purchase forecasting. On Saturday, February 3 Ashton will show you how to cut costs using less equipment and gain flexibility with your brewing with “Maximize Brewery Flexibility & Save Money With Less Equipment”.


Steve Parkes is the owner of Drop-In Brewing Company and also owner and lead instructor of the American Brewers Guild in Middlebury, Vermont. He holds a degree in Brewing Science from the prestigious brewing school at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.  One of the breweries Steve operated in the UK required that he build a working brewing system from old dairy equipment in a short amount of time; Steve learned improvisational skills that would serve him well in his new venture. After 6 years honing his brewing skills in the UK, winning awards and gaining valuable management experience, Steve took up the challenge of starting a new brewery in the USA. Wednesday, October 31 begins his two-day “Turning Pro & Commercial Brewery Start-Up” Boot Camp that continues into the next day in which you will hear Steve’s expertise on planning decisions, and keys you need to know if you want to open a successful commercial craft brewery. When you register for this optional class you will attend it for both Wednesday and Thursday unlike our other offerings. On Friday, November 2, Steve will lead One Person, Many Hats: Keys to Being Both the Business Owner & Head Brewer” where he will help you make better decisions on how best to divide your time and duties so things run smoothly. On Saturday, November 3, will give you all the details you need to scale up your recipe so you recognize that beer in the glass as the same recipe you used to make on a smaller system in “Recipe Scaling”.


 Matthew McLaughlin is the Founder of McLaughlin, PC. Matthew specializes in representing craft breweries and distilleries. On Friday, November 2 he will walk you through the 10 most common legal pitfalls other commercial breweries have faced so hopefully you don’t have to as well in “Top 10 Legal Mistakes Made by Craft Breweries”. On Saturday, November 3, Matthew will lead “Start-Up Brewery Law 101” seminar so you can have a better overview on the legal side of your business well before you ever pour your first pint.


Alex Standiford is the entrepreneur behind the business Fill Your Taproom. Alex turned his love for good brews and web development into a time saving, business supporting endeavor that is tailored specifically to the needs of breweries. His motivation for building these online solutions comes from his personal belief that in everything you do, your time should be invested, not spent. Breweries are passion projects at their heart, so Alex wants to help owners and operators of breweries to “spend less on to do’s and more on the brews”. Through Fill Your Taproom, Alex has been able to provide inspiration and guidance for brewery’s who need to better and more effectively manage their online presence. Through helpful blog articles on social media management, to developing WordPress enabled applications, and even in providing ongoing site management, email campaigns, brand coaching, and support, Alex hopes to provide the breweries with a streamlined and effective solution to finding long-term success and bringing even more delicious brews to the table. On Friday, November 2 you’ll learn how to best use email effectively to build your brewery’s business from Alex, who helps craft breweries with their digital strategies. On Saturday, November 3, Alex will speak on “Maximizing Customer Clubs to Boost Sales & Loyalty” and will also lead “Make Your Brewery’s Website Work Harder” to show you how to get the most of your digital efforts in your website strategies for your craft brewery.


Tabitha Tice, Communications and Marketing Specialist for Alchemy & Science Brewing will lead  “Social Media Strategies to Build your Nano” on Friday, November 2 to illustrate how to use social media correctly as a business. Find out the key strategies for a successful Nano social media program from Tabitha, who spends her workdays managing social media for several different breweries.


Amy Todd who is the owner and analyst for Zymology Labs, will speak on Friday, November 2 about “Quality Control for the Nano” to show you how to establish and follow through with a quality control program for the success of your brewery.  Amy will walk you through what you should be doing as a small-scale commercial brewery to make sure the beer you are selling to customers is truly good to go. On Saturday, November 3, learn what you need to budget for and have in place from day one at your brewery with Amy, who runs her own commercial beer and cider testing lab after a career in craft beer QC with her seminar “Planning & Starting Up a Quality Control Program”.