We are once again busy preparing for this year’s Economic Outlook Conference. In past blog posts, I’ve written about all the work it takes to put together the outlook presentation and the extremely important part that students play in helping us put the event together. This year marks the ninth conference that I have been a part of. However, this year’s conference has the special distinction of being my very favorite one yet. I feel as though I have to preface that statement by saying that it has nothing to do with the conference-sponsored happy hour we hosted two weeks ago. In fact, this year’s theme, “The Economic Impact of Craft Brewing in Maryland,” is proving to be even more interesting than I expected.

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In preparation for the event, we have been learning a little more about the craft brewing industry. For example, there’s a big decision to make when deciding whether or not to can or bottle the brew. There’s also a difficult trademark process, and cease and desist letters are commonplace. These are just a few of the topics that the panel will be covering. I’ve also learned that there are jobs such as Chief Economist at the National Beer Wholesalers Association (Where did I go wrong in my career?).

This year’s speakers are a diverse group of individuals with varied knowledge in the industry. We have a historian who specializes in the brewing industry in Maryland (She even has a book!) and the marketing director of local brewery Heavy Seas, just to name a few. In case that wasn’t enough, we’ll kick off the day with our own Chief Economist Dr. Daraius Irani providing us with the economic outlook for the year. Every year, attendees look forward to the insightful findings (and lighthearted jokes) that his presentation has become known for. During an election year, the economy plays a significant part in the outcome of elections. Dr. Irani will help to frame the current climate and outline what his expectations are for the economy in the coming year. Fortunately, the theme will play into whatever outcome is expected—here’s hoping we will be cheering for a positive outlook. Registration is still open, and we can’t wait to see you all there!