The University of Southern Maine's Portland campus hosted more than 600 craft beer industry leaders from around New England for a day-long conference on March 31.
The 2017 New England Craft Brew Summit drew brewers, bankers, business lawyers and beer suppliers to the Portland campus for a full schedule of speeches and educational sessions. The university also hosted tours of its Quality Control Collaboratory. Created in partnership with the Maine Brewers' Guild, the lab provides testing, research and education to Maine breweries while also providing students with a hands-on educational experience.
Prior to a keynote talk led by Bart Watson and Katie Marisic, the chief economist and the federal affairs manager for the national Brewers Association, USM President Glenn Cummings welcomed the capacity crowd at Hannaford Hall.
"I do believe that I am the only university president in America who is trying to put our undergraduates and beer closer together," Cummings said.
Breweries added a total of $228 million to Maine's economy last year and employed more than 1,600 workers, according to an industry study described in March by the Portland Press Herald.
Cummings praised the work of Lucille Benedict, an associate professor of chemistry at USM who directs teaching within the QC2. Benedict helped lead a panel about some of beer's science to a standing-room-only crowd.
"We are trying to find new ways in which we can contribute and help what's going on in the world," Cummings said. "This is one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial industries in the State of Maine. We are extremely grateful of that."panel about some of beer's science to a standing-room-only crowd.
Other speakers at the event included Boston Globe reporter Dan Adams, Andrea Smith of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Brandon Mazer from Shipyard Brewing Company and WCSH-TV weather forecaster Keith Carson, who emceed the introductory session.
To view coverage of the USM QC2 lab at the New England Craft Brew Brew Summit, see the story from WCSH-TV here.