Speakers​

Opening Keynote • Sunday, August 18

Putting Positive Societal Impact at the Heart of Strategy: How Diageo Uses This Approach to Make Its Business Better


Katherine Smart

Professor Katherine Smart

Global Technical Director and Chief Scientist • Diageo

Professor Katherine Smart is the Global Technical Director and Chief Scientist at Diageo, joining the company in 2019. She has held accountabilities for Diageo’s innovation, sustainability, science and technology, margin enhancement, and governance functions. Katherine is also an affiliate academic at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, having previously held a University Lectureship since 2018 as academic lead for the highly successful Masters in Bioscience Enterprise. Before joining Diageo and the University of Cambridge, Katherine co-founded The Surrey Copper Distillery Limited in 2017.

She previously held vice president roles in ABInBev and was the Global Chief Brewer for SABMiller. Earlier in her career, Katherine held University appointments at Cambridge, Oxford Brookes, and Nottingham. She co-founded the National Brewing Library at Oxford Brookes and the Brewing Science and Bioenergy Centre at Nottingham, where she remains an honorary Professor. Katherine has published over 100 refereed publications and is the author of patents and books in the field of Yeast Cell Biology and Fermentation. She holds two scientific doctorates, is a qualified distiller, and has successfully completed sustainability courses at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. She is also an alumna of the Royal Society Industrial Fellowship.

Katherine is the current vice-president of the ASBC and Master of the Worshipful Company of Brewers. She was previously the President of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.



Closing Keynote • Tuesday, August 20

Willie Rahr

Willie Rahr

President and CEO • Rahr Corporation

Willie Rahr is President and CEO of Rahr Corporation, a family-owned company that includes Rahr Malting Co., Gambrinus Malting, and RahrBSG (formerly Brewers Supply Group). Willie is the fifth generation of the Rahr family to lead a business that, since its founding in 1847, has seen everything from Prohibition to pandemics and lite beer to hard seltzer. He is a passionate outdoorsman and conservationist, and under his auspices, the company has become a leader in philanthropy and sustainability as well as malting and brewing.



Invited Speakers


Janet Johanson

Janet Johanson

Founder & CEO • BevSource

Janet Johanson, a two-time EY Entrepreneur of the Year honoree and MSP Business Journal's Most Admired CEO in 2023, brings over 20 years of experience assisting thousands of new brands in launching, innovating, and scaling—including renowned brands such as Not Your Father’s Root Beer, Celsius, and Crispin Hard Cider. Her leadership style, centered on empowering mindsets and fostering collaboration, has propelled BevSource to become the largest packaging and ingredients distributor exclusively serving the beverage industry in the United States.


Jonas Borrit

Jonas Borrit

Vice President • NIRAS

Jonas Borrit is involved in the international beer & beverage industry, working as Vice President of the global engineering company NIRAS. He offers a strong business understanding that derives from a background in the consulting industry, IT industry, and financial industry combined with a Master’s degree in economics and supply chain management.


Omar Ansari

Omar Ansari

President • Surly Brewing Company

Omar Ansari established Surly Brewing Co. on December 31, 2005, carving out a space on the factory floor of Brooklyn Center’s Sparky Abrasives to start what would become one of Minnesota’s largest craft breweries. Omar led the charge to allow Minnesota brewers to sell their own beer, resulting in a craft beer revolution across the state and Surly’s Destination Brewery, a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility with a brewhouse, beer hall, full-service kitchen, massive beer garden, and events center.


Jeff Cornell

Jeff Cornell

General Manager • AC Golden Brewing

Jeff Cornell has 24 years with Molson Coors and is the General Manager of AC Golden Brewing Company, a craft brewing operation and brand incubator in Golden, Colorado. Before his current role, he was Director of Craft Supply Chain supporting and enabling brewing, packaging, quality, and capital projects for Tenth & Blake's craft breweries. In prior years, he held various roles including Sr. Manager of Brewing Innovation and Development, Manager of Corporate Chemistry, Sensory and Microbiology, and Head Brewer for AC Golden Company.


Becki Schwietz

Becki Schwietz

Director • STAUBER

Becki Schwietz has a B.A. degree from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN. Becki joined the beverage industry in 2018 with MN based Hawkins Inc. in the Stauber Health and Nutrition Division. She focuses on functional and innovative beverage ingredients, recognizing the importance of supporting all phases of growth and working with the many stakeholders [formulators, brands and manufacturers] within the dynamic beverage ecosystem.




WBC is hosted by the American Society of Brewing Chemists and Master Brewers Association of the Americas, with active participation by Brewery Convention of Japan, European Brewery Convention, and Institute of Brewing and Distilling