Sours, Stouts, and Event Profs

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Sours, Stouts, and Event Profs

2018 Food and Beverage Corporate Event Trends: Beer

By now it shouldn’t surprise you that more events are turning from wine, the traditional choice of events, to beer. With a resurgence of popularity and the rekindling of the craft beer industry, corporate meeting and event planners have seen attendees embrace beer tastings, food pairings, and brewery explorations. Even though the initial surge has waned, a more sophisticated interest in beer is still one of the hottest 2018 food and beverage corporate event trends we have spotted. In honor of National Beer Day, we are sharing some ways featuring beer can help you create engaging events.

Put Care Into Your Beverage Choice

Different glasses of beer on the wooden table

With the surge of the craft beer movement, many people have found beer to be an exciting and liberating channel that lacks the perceived pretension around wine. Some surveys find that up to 40% of the American population over age 21 drinks craft beer at least several times a year. This means that you will likely have some serious beer enthusiasts at your events. To appeal to these attendees, put some extra care into your beer offerings. Just as a meal is affected by the quality of the food, the pairing of the wine, and the choice of the tableware, it is also greatly affected by the choice of beer.

When you are booking your food and beverage, ask questions about their beer options. Do they have anything from smaller craft breweries? Do they consider styles of beer for suggested pairings with their courses? Ideally, you could partner with a local brewery to showcase one of their beers. You don’t have to serve small-batch, barrel-aged beers to earn their good favor; you can show attendees you are thinking about their interests with some carefully curated beer choices.

Know Your Pairings

Group Of People Cheers Concept

If your food and beverage director isn’t on board with your attention to beer yet, it is a good idea to have a basic knowledge of how beer can be deliciously paired with your food. One of the 2018 food and beverage corporate event trends we have observed is a keen eye for choosing accessible beer for your event. Here are our quick guide to beer pairing:

  • Spicy food, like buffalo, jerk, Thai, or cajun styles, are complemented by ales (especially India pale ales) and lagers. The extra hops help cut through the heat in a nice way.
  • Burgers, steaks, and other roasted meats call for a deeper beer that can match the smoky, earthy flavors. Bocks and brown ales are classic accompaniments.
  • Fresh seafood, shellfish, and sushi naturally has a bright and light flavor, so it is important not to overpower it. Light lagers and Belgian saisons will lend grounding notes with letting the flavors of the ocean shine.
  • A few years ago pairing a beer with dessert would get you a confused stare, but now we know how delightful pairing a dark chocolate mousse with a milk stout can be. When it comes to fruity sweets you can either go dark with a stout or match its fruity flavors with a lambic.

Brewery Venues

Since offbeat venues are one the fastest growing 2018 food and beverage corporate event trends, a brewery could be the answer to curing your boardroom blues. With the popularity of edgy events, many breweries are offering beautifully furnished spaces for your corporate meetings. Some offer interactive programs for fun team-building experiences as well. Here are some of our favorite brewery venues from around the country.

Known for their innovative flavors like their No Crusts brown ale with notes of peanut butter and jelly. They have a rustic chic venue with various options, including personalized brewery tours and a tasting lead by their Cicerone Certified staff.

A perfect destination for a corporation with a laidback, hippie culture, Terrapin is a fun brewery with personality. They offer brewery tours at their main location and also hold events at their Brewlab at Suntrust Park.

With three venue options to choose from, Sweetwater is a corporate event planner’s dream. They love corporate luncheons that let them show off their beautiful brewery and have fun while doing it.


Image cred: sweetwaterbrew.com

The fabled Deschutes Brewing is known for its serious attention to flavor profiles that reflect the land and farms around them. Their menu is filled with local produce, even spent grain from their own brewing process.

A homegrown brewery that has seen rapid growth in the past few years, St. Arnold is a mix of traditional brewing and contemporary ideas. They have lots of options for renting their space, including their German-style beer hall. With non-alcoholic beer-inspired drinks slowly taking over the scene, they are ready with their secret recipe home-brewed root beer and Hop2O, their own sparkling water infused with Citra and Amarillo hops.


Creating engaging events requires strategy in understanding trends and being able to properly execute them. Seemingly small gestures like showing attendees you value their interests can demonstrate the true value of your business, developing relationships that will last for years. Contact us for more information on connecting with your attendees in meaningful ways and executing engaging meetings and events.