MTSU hosts Tennessee Craft Beer, Spirit Distilleries international forum

With interest at or near an all-time high in the burgeoning craft beer market, Middle Tennessee State University will be hosting industry representatives and the general public for the Tennessee Craft Beer and Spirit Distilleries International Sales Opportunities Forum.

The event, which is free, will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, at MTSU’s Miller Education Center atrium, 503 E. Bell St., in Murfreesboro.

The forum is for current or first-time exporters looking to expand their markets.

Lunch is included, but reservations are requested. Visit or click here.

Tony Johnston, director of the growing MTSU fermentation science program, said several key industry professionals will participate, including Leslee Alexander with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, Nashville attorney Rachel Schaffer Lawson and others.

Industry professionals’ topics will include:

  • Market opportunities.
  • Mitigating risk in the international marketplace.
  • Financial solutions for exporters.
  • Highlight support money available to Tennessee exporters.

Alexander will discuss what it takes to become a first-time exporter, how to start, a checklist for starting and what help is available, Johnston said.

Hosted at MTSU, the TSBDC features a network of offices across the state staffed by certified professional business counselors who assist small business owners, entrepreneurs and individuals with developing their business ideas for services and products.

Lawson, whose legal expertise includes alcoholic beverages, will discuss how to finance exporting, insurance, marketing, potential legal issues and more, Johnston added. The entrepreneur and owner of Schaffer Law Firm PLLC even makes her own beer at home and brews it for family and friends.

Lawson taught a legal class for MTSU fermentation science students last spring.

“For anybody thinking about starting a brewery, distillery or winery, this is vital information for planning purposes,” Johnston said. “There will be a good, comprehensive lineup of speakers. … People need to be aware of the responsibilities and the help that is out there.”

The event is sponsored by MTSU, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Small Business Development Center and MTSU fermentation science.

Tennessee Craft Beer and Spirit Distilleries

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