“I was surprised and honored to get the invite,” Tucker said in an email. “I was last in Ohio visiting my wife’s family there many years ago and the locals seemed to look down on what even then was an enthusiastic, burgeoning scene — abv limits and all. There were so many options — distribution was fantastic, some very good Ohio brewers as well and even a thriving gray market for connoisseurs.
“Being at RateBeer has provided a unique perspective for watching that budding beer culture grow like wildfire. It’s been an amazing last decade for beer. In my talk, I want to share the vision, excitement and satisfaction of how this all went down, where we are now and how we all — like soylent green, RateBeer is people — might shape a positive future.”
RateBeer has been around since 2000 and allows beer drinkers to rate beer online. The website also puts out an annual listing of the best breweries and beers worldwide. Hoppin’ Frog Brewery in Akron and Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland are always ranked among the top 100 brewers in the world.
Past speakers have included Steve Hindy, chief executive officer of Brooklyn Brewery; Bill Metzger, publisher of the Brewing News; and Greg Hardman, who heads Christian Moerlein in Cincinnati.
Ohio Brew Week also has new leadership.
Weston Lombard is taking over as director and Lisa Heinz will serve as marketing director. They take over from Dan Gates and Melody Sands, respectively.
“Dan Gates, Melody Sands and their family have done a tremendous job breathing life into this event and the Athens community,” Lombard said in a prepared statement. “We are thankful for the opportunity to build upon their successes.”
Austin Phillips, vice president and general manager of Southeast Beverage Co., and Ron Lucas, city deputy service-safety director, also have joined the board of trustees.
“Our goal this year will be to take OBW back to its roots as an Athens-based family-friendly event dedicated to showcasing craft brew, building community, and helping the local economy during what has been a normally slow time for area businesses,” Heinz said in a statement.
She also noted that Ohio Brew Week will debut a new website soon, and there will be an app to view events and a reorganized program.