Last Call: Beer Futures

Last Call is generously made possible by the Brewers Association.

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Last Call is generously made possible by the Brewers Association.

Last Call: Beer Futures

With more than 8,000 breweries, the United States is home to the most dynamic and creative small brewing industry in the world. Yet as the industry grew, many were excluded from its ranks. Today’s brewers face threats associated with the pandemic, the brewing supply chain, and climate change. What lies ahead? The future of American beer must be inclusive. It must be environmentally sustainable. It will be even more creative than its past. And it promises flavors and styles that have not yet been imagined. Join us for a conversation among several innovators who are imagining—and creating—new futures for American beer, from grain and flower to glass.

FEATURED SPEAKERS

Dennis Malcolm
Byron aka
Ale Sharpton

Beer Writer and Moderator

Latiesha Cook
Co-Founder and President,
Beer Kulture
Tiffany Fixter
Owner, 
Brewability Lab
Diane Gooding
Vice President,
Gooding Farms, Inc.
Tamil Maldonado Vega
Co-Founder and
Vice President of Development,
Raíces Brewing Co.
Les Talusan
Les The DJ

Dennis Malcolm Byron aka Ale Sharpton

Beer Writer and Moderator

Dennis Malcolm Byron aka Ale Sharpton is a world-renowned beer authority, award-winning journalist, blogger (AleSharpton.com), photographer, event planner, host, copywriter, and creative director for numerous projects. While passionately traveling the globe to cover everything from automobiles to culinary scenes, celebrity profiles, sports, hotel destinations, art, and what he terms “the world’s best beverage,” Ale has contributed to more than 30 magazines and websites combined. His current media outlets include Thrillist.com, Craft Beer & Brewing, CraftBeer.com, USA Today, Lifestyle Publishing, City Lifestyle, Atlanta magazine, and others. Along with being featured in various publications, on the web, radio, podcasts, television, and ongoing Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ video series, Ale utilizes his Cornell University School of Hotel Administration education and vast work experience to consult in the culinary industry as well. Ale also owns AllWays Open Creative Solutions, an agency specializing in creative direction, logo design, branding, web design, video production, photography, and social media. This agency also produces various events including product launches, automobile exhibits, restaurant tastings, festivals, and art shows. Lexus, Loews Hotels, Heineken, Bon & Viv, New Belgium, Delirium, Monday Night Brewing, Pabst, Cathead Vodka, Svedka, Woodchuck Cider, Wicked Weed, Jekyll Brewing, and elite artist Hebru Brantley are just some of the many clients who have worked with AllWays Open. Although a native New Yorker, Ale proudly calls Atlanta, Georgia, his home.

Latiesha Cook

Co-Founder and President of Beer Kulture

Latiesha Cook is the CEO, co-founder, and president of Beer Kulture, a nonprofit organization whose vision is to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity within the craft beer space through humanitarian assistance, educational programs, and compassionate community services. Beer Kulture Inc. is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes in accordance with section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Beer Kulture’s passion is to BE THE CHANGE, do good in their communities, and build a brighter tomorrow by starting with what they can do today.

Tiffany Fixter

Owner, Brewability Lab 

Tiffany Fixter is an educator-turned-entrepreneur who is passionate about creating life-changing careers for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Fixter’s education includes a BS in Special Education and Elementary Education from Northwest Missouri State University, along with a master’s degree in Education from the University of Kansas in Special Education with an emphasis on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Fixter was a teacher for 11 years in the inner-city Kansas City, Missouri, schools where she taught children who are neurodiverse. She moved to Denver to be closer to her family in Estes Park, Colorado, and accepted a position as a day program director. It was there she realized the employment crisis that many adults with I/DD face. She decided to enter Denver’s popular craft beer scene by employing adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to brew and serve beer through Brewability Lab. This brewery started in October 2016. The brewery led to a turn-key pizzeria opportunity in May 2018, which is now being built within the brewery space in Englewood, Colorado. The brewery and pizzeria employ 20 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by creating a workspace with research-based supports such as a mirror with a ready-to-work checklist and visual menus and sales system. The brewpub includes many features which make it inviting to people of all ages and abilities.

Diane Gooding

Vice President, Gooding Farms, Inc.   

Diane Gooding, vice president of Gooding Farms, Inc., in southwestern Idaho, manages 950 acres of hops along with both family and friends. She returned to the farm in 2010 after receiving a BA in History from San Francisco State University. Currently, the farm is in transition toward regenerative and organic farming methods with the hopes of improving farming practices and setting up sustainable farming for future generations. Gooding sits on the Hop Research Council board of directors and is an active participant in hop research as well as public hop breeding efforts. In the off season she enjoys traveling, skiing, biking, and of course, trying new and different beers from the United States and beyond!

Tamil Maldonado Vega

Co-Founder and Vice President of Development, Raíces Brewing Co.

Tamil Maldonado Vega was born in Puerto Rico. Growing up, she was always involved in cultural groups and community service while studying math and science. She learned to appreciate arts, science, culture, people, and life. She has led movements that promote appreciation of arts, culture, nature, human rights, and social justice. Her passion for having a positive impact in others would drive her to continue her community service and now her work at Raíces Brewing Company. She is co-founder of Raíces. She serves as an active transformational leader making strategic decisions while handling programs and front of house. She is responsible for the design and implementation of a comprehensive plan for Raíces, in addition to outreach, establishing external alliances, cultivating relationships, and developing activities that exalt identities, promote value to cultural heritages, and support community. Her knowledge in self-managed organizations and running cultural organizations ensures Raíces has year-round programming and community engagement developed around its pillars: Community, Culture, and Cerveza. This provides the opportunity for Raíces to craft high-quality beers while adding opportunity and access to underrepresented groups into the industry and to serve as a community, cultural, and resource center at large. Raíces provides a platform of visibility for Latino/a/x artists, entrepreneurs, and organizations while celebrating Latino culture and traditions. She also produces Suave Fest, the first Latino craft beer festival in the United States, which highlights Latino-owned breweries and crafts. Raíces has won grants: from the Urban Arts Fund, Denver Public Art, for its iconic mural, and the Brewers Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Grant for Suave Fest 2019 and 2020. Raíces’s concept has garnered the attention of other prestigious awards such as Westword’s Best New Brewery Taproom 2020, the Downtown Denver Award 2020, and the Governor’s Minority Business Award 2020.

Les Talusan

Les The DJ

Les Talusan is a DJ, photographer, curator, teaching artist, and organizer whose practice immerses people in the joy of discovery, empowerment, and community. This approach is informed by Talusan’s own story of resilience, liberation, and courage as an immigrant, mother, and victim/survivor. With over 20 years of experience, Talusan is known for her perfectly crafted mixes and commitment to artistic excellence. She also has a long history of supporting organizations that empower Asian American Pacific Islander and LGBTQ+ communities, women, and youth.

Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Talusan fell in love with music at a young age, DJing at local clubs and playing in bands. Since moving to Washington, D.C., at age 20, she has continued to develop her talents, performing behind the decks in the United States and abroad. Talusan has DJed for the National League of Cities, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Geographic Channel. Talusan has been featured in media outlets such as The Washington Post and Refinery29.