Keynote Speaker


Stan Hieronymus, Author & Beer Writer

Stan Hieronymus is a lifelong journalist who has been writing about all facets of beer and brewing for the past 26 years. The four books he has written for Brewers Publications – Brew Like a Monk, Brewing With Wheat, For the Love of Hops, and Brewing Local – focus first on process, but he views brewing as a matrix in which culture and agriculture are among the essential components. He travels often internationally to speak at brewing conferences, most often about hops. Visit to sign up for Hop Queries, his free monthly newsletter.

Breakout Session Speakers

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Kara Taylor, Senior Laboratory Manager of White Labs

Kara Taylor has been with White Labs since 2009. She became interested in fermentation science while homebrewing during her days at Loyola Marymount University. She received a B.S. in biology in 2009 and began employment at White Labs in San Diego as a yeast laboratory technician. Since January 2014, she has functioned as analytical laboratory manager in White Lab’s analytical laboratory and as of August 2016 she functions as the Laboratory Operations Manager. She is a member of Master Brewers Association of Americas and the American Society of Brewing Chemists.


Leif Miltenberger, Managing Partner at Hired Guns Creative

Leif Miltenberger is the Managing Partner at Hired Guns Creative, a small but mighty design agency focused on providing branding and packaging design for the wonderful world of alcohol (breweries, distilleries, and wineries.) He handles new business development for the agency and oversees business operations. Hired Guns Creative has provided award winning design to the alcohol sector since 2008, for clients ranging in size from start-ups nanos all the way up to national brands.


Hannah Talbott, General Manager/ Owner of Highlander Beer

Hannah Talbott has worked in various areas of the craft beer industry for the past 11 years. She began her career by attending Siebel Institute for Brewing Technology, which later set her up to be a brewer for a small brewpub. After receiving her MBA from Colorado State University, her brewing role transitioned into the position of CEO for Nutmeg Brewhouse in Minneapolis. Hannah is also a Level 2 Certified Cicerone, and spent years teaching off-flavor and sensory analysis classes. In 2017, Hannah moved to Missoula to become General Manager, and recently, part owner of Highlander Beer.


Taylor Anderson, Development Engineer at McDantim

Taylor Anderson is the Development Engineer at McDantim. Throughout his eight years of tenure, he has assisted many breweries, including those in Montana, design and troubleshoot their draught system. On his off-time, Taylor skis, hikes, and bikes as much as possible – with stops at any nearby breweries.

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Brittany Waiss, PHR, SHRM-CP, HR Manager at KettleHouse Brewing

Brittany Waiss, PHR, SHRM-CP is a certified Human Resources professional and all-around lover of all things people and problem-solving. A graduate of the University of Montana, she previously worked as the Director of HR for a statewide health care agency and as a non-profit Program Manager. Joining KettleHouse as the HR Manager in 2017 allowed her to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather and father as a third-generation “beerman.” When not at work, you can usually find her outside, skiing, running, and hiking - quite possibly with a cold beer in hand.


Emily Shirley, Engineering Technician at McDantim

McDantim’s resident math nerd and beer lover, Emily has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Montana State University (Go Cats!). Shortly after starting her career as an Engineering Technician at McDantim, she completed the Micro Matic’s Dispense Specialist Dispense Program, which enabled her to help set up/troubleshoot local draught systems, as well as take troubleshooting calls involving draught system issues. When not troubleshooting draught systems, Emily enjoys rafting, camping, drinking beer, and knitting.

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Loy Maierhauser, Administrator of Many Things at MAP Brewing Co.

Loy Maierhauser first fell in love with beer while attending college in Eugene, Oregon, after she began homebrewing with her roommates - and has been a beer lover, brewer, and connoisseur ever since. Loy is currently the Administrator of Many Things at MAP Brewing in Bozeman. She is a Certified Cicerone and a Certified Beer Judge through the BJCP, and loves judging beer whenever she can. In addition, her side-hustle is as one of the founding partners of Fermentana, a beer-and-all-things-fermented events planning and promotions company, which organizes Craft Beer Week in Bozeman and a women’s only beer education series called Beer Maven, among other things. Her passion is teaching, so she jumps on every opportunity to educate people about beer, whether that’s her MAP staff or at her Beer Maven classes. When Loy’s not working on something beer related, you can probably find her kayaking, traveling around to find the best dive bars in Montana, snowboarding, or volunteering at the Montana Raptor Conservation Center.


Jesse Bussard, Co-founder/Co-Owner of Fermentana

Jesse Bussard is best described as a renaissance woman. As co-founder of Fermentana, a community-based, fermentation-focused events promotions company, Jesse and her partner Loy Maierhauser are creators of some of southwest Montana’s best beer events including Bozeman Craft Beer Week and the women’s beer education series, Beer Maven. Along with creating unique events, Jesse offers communications services to agriculture companies through her business, Cowpunch Creative, and is an occasional contributor to beer publications like Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine and October. She has served as President of the Gallatin Valley's popular and ever-growing homebrew club, Bridger Brew Crew, since 2014. Additionally, she’s also chapter co-leader for the Montana Chapter of Pink Boots Society. Jesse's get-shit-done attitude, networking savvy, entrepreneurial drive, and passion for building and strengthening communities truly make her an asset to Montana's burgeoning craft beverage scene. Her diverse experience fermenting everything from kombucha to mead to IPAs is just icing on the cake.


Kayla Mann, Marketing Assistant at McDantim

McDantim’s resident word nerd, Kayla has worked for McDantim since 2015 and is the Marketing Assistant. Her attendance at MicroMatic’s draught school cemented her interest in draught beer and beer quality. Through McDantim, Kayla has been able to assist with local draught system installs, and troubleshooting with customers across the country. She spends her free time visiting breweries, riding bikes, and raising a toddler.


Hannah Turner, Director of the Montana State University Barley Genetics & Malt Quality Lab

Hannah is the Director of the Montana State University Barley Genetics and Malt Quality Lab. This lab services the MSU Breeding Program and works to improve barley of all types with a focus on malt barley. The Malt Quality Lab also supports the region by providing barley and malt testing for farmers and craft maltsters. Hannah has a strong devotion to the agricultural industry of Montana and believes in fortifying the farming, malting, and brewing/distilling community through outreach and education. Hannah received an M.S. in Plant Science as well as a B.S. in Environmental Horticulture from Montana State University.


Dr. Jamie Sherman, Assistant Professor of Barley Breeding at Montana State University

Jamie Sherman has been working as a cereal geneticist and breeder in Montana since 1997. She became the barley breeder in 2015 and established the MSU malt quality lab in 2016. She is excited about the release of a new malt barley variety from MSU that is low in protein named “Buzz” to honor a grower in Montana named Buzz Mattelin. She has a grant in collaboration with CSU exploring flavor differences in barley varieties. The grant has focused on identifying unique malt quality and flavor in heirloom varieties. A recent Brewers Association grant is supporting an exploration of the interaction between malt processing and variety to create new flavors. She is an expert in genetic dissection and looks forward to sharing with brewers what she has learned recently about malt quality.


Acacia Coast, Brewers Guilds Manager at Brewers Association

Acacia serves as Brewers Guilds Manager on Brewers Association’s Government Affairs team. With eight years at the BA, Acacia’s focus is to foster the development of more than seventy small non-profit state and regional brewers associations (“guilds”) across America. Currently based out of Missoula, MT, Acacia’s role includes traveling to 20+ states and dozens of craft breweries each year, attending Capitol Hill climbs, brewers guild meetings, numerous industry and association conferences, and beer festivals nation-wide. In partnership with the Brewers Association and state craft brewers guilds, we work to ensure the success in our collective mission of protecting and promoting America’s small independent craft breweries.


KoRI Christianson, Marketing Manager at Draught Works Brewery

Kori grew up in the windy wilds of eastern Montana (Glendive) and moved to Missoula to attend The University of Montana following high school. After an ill-fated foray into accounting, she received a degree in business administration and marketing from UM in 2014. Stumbling head first into the craft beer industry, she assumed the role of Marketing Manager at Draught Works Brewery in the spring of 2015. As with many small business employees, she wears many hats and enjoys the wide variety of tasks that present themselves each day. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in the great outdoors with friends, family, and assorted dogs.


Maranda Williams, Taproom Manager at Philipsburg Brewing Company

Maranda is a born and raised Montanan, hailing from the Hi-Line in Cut Bank. She has a degree in Small Business Management from UM Helena - College of Technology and eventually made her way to Philipsburg working construction. Philipsburg Brewing Co. picked her up in 2013 when she wanted a little extra work in the winter months (it helped that she was a regular and clearly had a love of craft beer). In 2016 she became the Taproom Manager which is a loose title for, as many of you can relate, "doer of whatever needs to be done." When she's not working she can be found hunting morels, huckleberries, or elk, depending on the season, and spending time with her husband and two daughters, Kendyll and Tessa.


Mike Combo, CPA, MAcc at Anderson ZurMuehlen

Mike Combo, CPA, MAcc, is a shareholder in the Missoula office of Anderson & ZurMuehlen Co., P.C.  Mike has practiced public accounting for over 24 years providing tax, advisory and transactional consulting to small and large businesses and their owners. Mike takes a proactive advisory role with clients providing solutions to complex tax issues, and his perspective on tax is a comprehensive approach that focuses on the business, as well as the owners.    Mike serves a variety of clients including privately held for-profit companies, and the manufacturing and healthcare industries. Mike serves on Anderson ZurMuehlen’s Board of Directors and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is also highly active in the Missoula community and has served on various boards over the years.


Molly Nelson, CFP, CTFA, CMFC at HK Financial Services

Molly Nelson, CFP, CTFA, CMFC, is a financial planning consultant HK Financial Services. In collaboration with a client’s CPA, Molly provides integrated planning and investment strategies for growing and protecting clients’ wealth. She designs personalized wealth management solutions by integrating estate planning, risk management and retirement planning based on each client’s unique objectives and priorities. Nelson holds a Certified Financial Planner designation, Certified Trust and Financial Advisor designation, is a certified Charted Mutual Fund Counselor and holds her FINRA Series 6, 7, 63 and 66 securities licenses. Nelson has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon. She currently serves as a Board of Director for A Carousel for Missoula. 

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Matt Leow, Executive Director of Montana Brewers Association

Matt hails from Bluegrass State but now calls the Big Sky State his home. After graduating from Hanover College in 1997, he came to Montana and tasted ski bum life for a couple seasons. The post-college adventure turned into a new life in Montana that's at 22 years and counting. Since 2000, Matt has worked with nonprofit organizations, first as a staffer and later as a consultant, helping advocacy groups achieve their goals through policy change at the legislature and through the citizen initiative process. In 2015, Matt jumped at the opportunity to combine his advocacy and nonprofit background with his love of craft beer when he became the executive director of the Montana Brewers Association. He lives in Missoula with his wife, son and their two terriers. When left to his own devices, he can typically be found on the local trails, rivers or slopes along with a Montana craft beer or two.

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Jennifer Levey, Technical Sales Rep at Birko Corporation

Jennifer Levey is a Technical Sales Representative at Birko Corporation. Her background is in Meat Science/Food Safety, but she knows the best combination is meat and beer. She is an expert in cleaning and sanitation of breweries to make sure brewers can continue to brew great beers!

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Patrick Kainz, Founder/Owner of MAP Brewing Co.

Plain and simple, Patrick Kainz loves the craft beer industry. As a founder and owner of MAP Brewing Company in Bozeman, PK loves the daily excitement that running a brewery brings. PK's history in the industry goes back to the 90s, opening a brewery in Chicago with his brother. From there he went on to sell brewing tanks and equipment, and after landing in Bozeman, he knew this was the place to bring the dream of his own brewery to fruition. Needless to say, with decades of experience, PK knows the ins and outs of dealing with wholesalers and retailers, as well as traversing the pros and cons of self distribution. From dream to reality, owning a brewery and juggling the sale of MAP Brewing beer is a constant work in motion. Self distribution is also one of PK's favorite topics - so he's excited to share and converse with the broader community at the Montana Brewers' Conference this year.


Tucker Kahlberg, General Manager of Bozeman Brewing Co.

Born and raised in Billiings, MT and received a Business Management degree from Montana State University in 2005. Cut my teeth throughout the years in the front of the house waiting tables at MT Brewing Co. and various other restaurants before joining Bozeman Brewing Company. I have since worked at the brewery for 14 years and worn/worked every job within the facility (keg washer to GM). When I’m not at the brewery, which isn’t much I enjoy golfing, fishing, rafting and skiing.


Becky Peppelman, Head Brewer at Snow Hop Brewery

I grew up right outside of Philadelphia on the Delaware border, home of the Chesapeake Blue Crab. It was one of those always sunny days while watching the Eagles and drinking a Yuengling that I realized I wanted to be a brewer. Fast forward a few years, a few bad batches and a few good batches of homebrew, and I was able to break into the brewing industry. I’ve worked almost every aspect of the brewery life, but my favorite is behind the scenes making the beers I love. In my downtime, I enjoy traveling to different countries and exploring areas I’ve never been, as well as curling up in front of a fire with a book and snuggling with the dogs.

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Erin Parchert, Sales & Distribution Manager at KettleHouse Brewing Co.

Erin Parchert manages outside sales and distribution for KettleHouse Brewing Company. At KettleHouse, her goal is to further the company’s vision of crafting the best beer to celebrate the Montana experience through developing close partnerships with and creating value for distributors, chain accounts, and key stakeholders in the industry. After graduating from the University of Illinois with her M.S., Erin started her beer career with the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. Prior to moving to Missoula in 2018, she managed inside sales and export development for Uinta Brewing Company in Salt Lake City. In her free time, you can find Erin enjoying all things outdoors with her family, often doing so with a delicious craft beer in hand.

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Tanner Woodward, Job Service Operations Program Manager at Montana Dept. of Labor & Industry

Tanner has over 8 years of experience with Montana Department of Labor and Industries and has served in many different roles, one of those is filling in as the interim Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) Program Manager. This is a great fit because of his passion for helping Montana’s citizens, employers, and workers. Tanner was born and raised in Montana and is now raising his 3 boys with his beautiful wife in Helena, MT.  After getting a business degree from MSU-Northern he has spent time in the construction and banking world before state government. 

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Mike Williams, Federal Job Training Programs Supervisor at Job Service Missoula

Mike Williams has been employed at Job Service Missoula since April 2013 after a 27-year career as a school administrator in the Bitterroot Valley and Missoula County Public Schools. He grew up outside of Missoula and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Montana and then a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from that other university in Bozeman, Montana. Mike supervises the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act federal job training programs for Job Service Missoula.


Becky Schlauch, Alcoholic Beverage Control Division Administrator at Montana Dept. of Revenue

Becky Schlauch has been the Administrator of the Department of Revenue’s Alcoholic Beverage Control
Division since July of 2017. Becky holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration as well as an
MBA from the University of Montana. Prior to becoming the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division
Administrator, Becky was the Administrator for the Business and Financial Services Division for the
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Becky came to state service after almost 15 years of newspaper finance work. Becky and her husband Pat have 6 kids and 5 grandkids and reside in Helena.

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Steven Swanson, Alcoholic Beverage Control Division Operations Analyst at Montana Dept. of Revenue

Steve Swanson is the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division’s Operations Analyst. Steve has more than 18 years working for the division. During his tenure at the division, Steve has held several positions. In his current role, Steve helps the division with rule development, legislative implementation, and facility and project management. Steve received his Bachelor of Science, Business Marketing degree from the University of Montana. Steve is the proud father of two children and resides in Helena, Montana with his wife of 20 years, Kelli Swanson.


Mark Lillrose, Special Programs Coordinator for Registered Apprenticeship Program at Montana Dept. of Labor & Industry

Mark Lillrose is a special programs coordinator for the Montana Registered Apprenticeship Program. Mark joined the Department of Labor and Industry in 2015 as a program specialist with registered apprenticeship covering the Kalispell and Missoula regions. Mark provided leadership in an interim capacity as the apprenticeship Supervisor where he oversaw a specific effort with staff to expand the program in manufacturing, IT, accounting, and the building trades. Mark joined the State of Montana with a diverse background, working as a business consultant in a corporate environment and in the building trades since 2006. In 2003, Mark graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. After graduation, Mark’s passion to serve led him to join the Peace Corps, where he was stationed in Eastern Europe, in the Republic of Moldova for 2 years. Mark was awarded a grant from USAID to perform a demonstration pilot, and the results continue to profit the farmers to this day. Mark resides in Helena, Montana and maintains his devotion to workforce development by engaging employers and assisting them to tailor the most fluid training model available in today’s evolving economy, a registered apprenticeship program.

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Nisan Burbridge, Workforce Strategist in Montana Dept. of Labor & Industry’s Workforce Services Division

Nisan is a Workforce Strategist focusing on Industry Sector Partnerships and Work-Based learning initiatives. She believes learning about careers through experience creates a better pipeline and improves the connection between business and job seekers. Nisan has over 15 years of experience facilitating experiential experiences and connecting business and education partners. She is currently working with local workforce offices on work-based learning and business engagement strategies.


Other Confirmed speakers (Photos and bios coming soon!)

  • Nicholas Balcken, Blackfoot River Brewing

  • Tim Chisman, Blackfoot River Brewing