Craft beer is big business these days, and brewing behemoths like AB InBev and Heineken are scooping up smaller breweries in an attempt to stay relevant with US consumers. Whether brewers remain independent or fall in with a bigger distributor, consumers’ thirst for more product demands more production while driving innovation and optimization across the field. Because of these factors, brewers must get the most out of their equipment.

At this year’s Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo (FA&M)—held at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott in Fort Myers, FL from April 10 to 13— Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Brewmaster Scott Jennings and Kirk Smith, technical brewing specialist, will deliver the automation keynote address “Leveraging Manufacturing Systems to Implement Change.”

During their presentation, the two will discuss how Sierra Nevada uses enterprise resource planning, data collection and OEE metrics to boost throughput and efficiency. The session will touch on best practices and explain how state-of-the-art manufacturing systems and software benefit supply chain operations.

Food Engineering’s annual 2 1/2-day conference and expo unites food and beverage processors with the suppliers that can provide them with valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety. FA&M also provides educational sessions on a variety of topics, giving food and beverage professionals the opportunity to reenergize their careers in a casual, highly productive networking environment.

The 2016 event will include presentations on harnessing the power of automation, sanitary plant and equipment design, understanding the Internet of Things, workforce engagement in maintenance and automation operations, and energy management. Food Engineering will also present its Plant of the Year award and host an “Ask the Experts” panel with previous award winners. On Wednesday, April 13, Food Engineering and PMMI’s OpX Leadership Network will announce the 2015 Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Award winners.

For more information, including a full list of speakers and topics, visit the FA&M website at