Brian is the Publisher and Editor at Artisan Spirit Magazine. Brian started Artisan Spirit with a close group of friends and family to celebrate the art and science of craft distilling and quickly grew the magazine into the largest and most popular distilling trade publication in America. He is passionate about distilling education and consumer outreach. Brian also sits on several advisor boards and committees within the distilling industry such as the American Craft Spirits Association, Craft Beverage Expo, and numerous state distilling guilds, as well as acting as Judging coordinator for craft spirits competitions within the industry.
Jim is the Missouri Wine and Grape Board Executive Director for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. As Wine and Grape Board Director his duties are to coordinate with wholesalers, restaurants, retailers and the general public about Missouri wines and juices. Priorities include building consumer awareness of the quality and availability of Missouri wine and juices. He has spread consumer awareness for wine and juice through events, brochures, news releases and articles of publication. His overall goal is to have a resourceful program that assures quality wine and juice products, and serves to stimulate growth of the grape and wine industry in Missouri.
Tyler manages the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Grape, Wine & Spirits Program and the Kentucky Grape & Wine Council (KGWC). His first job out of college was working as a wine advisor in Northern England. While in the UK, Tyler began his Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certifications. He has been working with Kentucky’s wine industry since 2012 and completed the WSET Diploma in 2015. Tyler is currently a Master of Wine Candidate in Stage 2 of the study program, lives in Lexington, KY and likes wine, obviously…
Jacob Halls is a diversified alcohol industry expert that has assisted distilleries, wineries, breweries, distributorships, bars, restaurants and retailers in various aspects from production, regulatory compliance, marketing, pricing strategies, logistical resources and licensed succession planning. Jacob has also participated in think tanks for many conference and expos and has spoken to audiences worldwide on a wide variety of topics. While acting as the Principal Consultant at the Convergence Consulting Group, Jacob also organizes and directs the South East Craft Beer Fest – Sampling and Educational Conference combination event, which has revolutionized the way consumers, retailers and manufacturers look at beer festival opportunities. By combining the technical aspects, the broader consumer and retail specific trends and marketing strategy sessions and the pure fun of the sampling aspects of a beer fest, now everyone benefits in multiple ways, maximizing the breweries exposure, budget and enhancement. It’s the innovative thoughts and fresh ideas that Jacob brings to the table to give the Mid-America Beverage Expo a taste of what is to come.
Michelle is the VESTA National Center Director, Principal Investigator
Michelle Norgren has served as the Director and Principal Investigator of the VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance) National Center for the past nine13 years and under her leadership the program has grown from a three state partnership with an enrollment of 25 students to an ever growing 16 state, 23 institutional partnership with participation of over 1700 students from around the world. Prior to taking on the leadership of the VESTA National Center, she served as the assistant director of the Center for Scientific Research & Education, coordinating numerous K-12 educational outreach programs for the College of Natural & Applied Sciences at Missouri State University including the Region 7 Missouri Science Olympiad, the District VIII Missouri Junior Academy of Sciences, and served as the director of both the Ozarks Science & Engineering Fair, and the Missouri Junior Academy of Sciences. Michelle is actively involved with the promotion of pre-college student science and engineering research on the international level, having served as president of the International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) Advisory Council and continues to serve as a member of the ISEF Display and Safety Committee and as the director of the Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair.
She is on the board of the Winegrape Growers of America and the WineAmerica State Advisory Panel.
In addition, she is the recipient of Monteith Trophy given annually to one national figure in the American grape and wine community, is a member of the Knights of the Vine, received Ohio Travel Association’s Paul Sherlock award, the Paul Harris Rotary award and is a member of Ohio Wine Hall of Fame. She helped to create the License to Steal, National Wine Marketing Conference. She was on the founding boards of several retinal tourism organizations and served as a trustee for both the Ohio Travel Association and for many years on the Ohio Division of T and T Advisory Board. She also sits on several regional and state economic development committees.