Fast Forward Events Acquires Craft Beverage Expo, Craft Beverage Experience and Women in Craft Symposium

July 26, 2023

Fast Forward Events has expanded its portfolio of events in the adult alcohol beverage industry with acquisition of the Craft Beverage Expo & Distribution Conference (CBE), the Craft Beverage Experience and the Women in Craft Symposium. CBE Co-Founder Kellie Shevlin joins Fast Forward as vice president, sales and marketing.

Created by Shevlin and industry veteran Vincent Polito, CBE has connected professionals and enthusiasts across the craft alcohol beverage space for the past decade. The event is focused on small-batch beverages including beer, wine, spirits, mead and cider and the issues that producers face — from finding the right technology and equipment for their operations to getting their beverages onto store shelves. In 2023, the B2B and B2C events were held March 29-April 2 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. 

Michelle Metter, co-owner of Fast Forward Events, alongside partner, Ken Loyst, expressed their excitement about the acquisition, stating, "We are thrilled to welcome Kellie Shevlin and her esteemed portfolio of events to Fast Forward. This strategic move allows us to further cement our position as the go-to creators of trade shows and events within the adult alcohol beverage markets."

Fast Forward owns and produces the SommCon Conference & Beverage Expo, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival and the e-learning platform, SommGo, an on-demand streaming service for the alcohol beverage industry.

In June, Fast Forward Events announced the launch of Tasting Room Expo, a trade show and symposium centered on tasting and tap room management, March 26-27, 2024, in Reno, Nev. Metter told TSNN/ENN that the next CBE will be co-located with the launch of the Tasting & Tap Room Expo. 

Craft Beverage Expo

"Fast Forward Events has proven itself to be a trailblazer in the industry, and I have no doubt that the CBE portfolio will thrive under their leadership,” said Polito. “This acquisition presents an incredible opportunity to expand the reach and impact of these events, benefiting the entire adult alcohol beverage community."

Shevlin expressed her excitement in joining Fast Forward and working alongside its talented team. 

“Together, we will leverage our collective expertise to create unparalleled experiences, solve unique challenges and drive growth for our clients and partners,” Shevlin said. “Our vision for the CBE portfolio of shows is to help the heart of our craft beverage community find their foothold in today's expanding alcohol beverage market. The cross pollination of craft from our shows into the sectors currently serviced by Fast Forward gives us more depth with which to do so."

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