The 2019 speakers will be announced soon. The 2018 speakers are featured below.

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Glenn Clark


How to build an unforgettable brand in a crowded industry   

Glenn Clark is the President of Crafting A Brand, a branding and marketing firm based in Pittsford, NY. Glenn started his career as a designer and Creative Director at ad agencies in Boston, Syracuse and Rochester. In 2000 he played an integral role in launching the design division Vine Design at Rochester agency Partners + Napier. Vine Design created wine advertising and sales collateral exclusively for Constellation Brands, and Glenn realized he had discovered an industry he both loved and could add value to. In 2003 he left Vine Design to start his own firm, Clark CSM Marketing Communications. In March 2018 the firm rebranded as Crafting A Brand to demonstrate an even deeper commitment to helping New York State craft beverage producers make New York a destination for consumers who support, consume and share our locally-made beverages.      


Will Cleveland

Democrat and Chronicle

Regional Beer Scene   

Will Cleveland, an Irondequoit native, covers a little bit of everything for the Democrat and Chronicle, including breaking news and the thriving Rochester-area beer scene. He can trace his craft beer roots back to his undergraduate days at the University of Montana in Missoula where he lived across the street from a fantastic brewery – Kettle House. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Montana and holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Maine. He lives in Irondequoit with his energetic chocolate lab Gracie.   


david defisher

Apple Country Spirits and Rootstock Ciderworks

State of NYS Cider Industry  

David DeFisher is the founder and owner of Apple Country Spirits and Rootstock Ciderworks in Williamson, New York. Dave is also the owner of the fourth-generation family-owned fruit farm, DeFisher Fruit Farms. He manages 400+ acres of processing and cider apple varieties, as well as pears, cherries, plums, and other specialty stone fruit. In addition to the craft beverage operation, DeFisher Fruit Farms also offers custom juice pressing services to other craft cider makers. Since 2016, Dave has served as president of the New York Cider Association.


Thomas J. Donohue

New York State Liquor Authority

NYS Liquor Authority Updates

Tom Donohue has been with the Authority since 1999. For seven years he was the Associate Counsel in charge of the Zone 2 legal office. From 2006 until 2010 he served as Counsel to the Authority. For the next five and a half years he was the agency’s Special Counsel. In that role he was involved in drafting many of the recent changes to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law regarding craft manufacturers, including the revisions to the winery laws in 2011 and the creation of the farm brewery law in 2012, the farm cidery law in 2013 and the Craft Beverage Act in 2014.” Since September 2016 he has served as the Secretary to the Authority and is responsible, among other things, for the activities surrounding the bi-weekly meetings of the Members of the Authority.


Stefan Fleming

Empire State Development

Development In the craft beverage Industry

Stefan Fleming is the Assistant Director of Industry Development for Craft Beverages at Empire State Development. He previously served as the Governor’s Representative to the Finger Lakes Region.

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Chris gerling

NYS Agricultural Experiment Station

Food Safety Modernization Act

Chris Gerling is an Extension Associate at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY. He is the manager of the Vinification & Brewing Laboratory and creates educational content for producers of wine, fermented cider and distilled spirits in New York state.

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Paul Leone

New York State Brewers Association

New York State Craft Beer - The Present and Future 

Paul Leone began his career as a multi-media producer for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He soon moved on to editing, shooting, and producing several series for cable television and later worked in the studio, agency, and advertising industry. As a TV producer, he wrote and developed several television pilots on American craft beer, the first few hosted by Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head Brewery. Although they were never picked up, he discovered his passion for craft beer, and knew what he wanted to do as a career moving forward.


Rich Michaels

F.X. Matt Brewing Company

Importance of Quality Control for Craft Brewers

Rich Michaels is the Quality and Innovation Manager at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica, NY.  Additionally he teaches “Introduction to Craft Brewing”, a certificate program at Schenectady County Community College. He currently serves as Assistant Technical Chair and Board of Governor’s Representative for the Master Brewer’s Association of the Americas.  He started brewing commercially in New York over 22 years ago. He completed his Diploma in Brewing at the Siebel Institute in 1997.

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lindsey pashow

harvest New York

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Cider Apple Supply Chain Survey

Lindsey is the Agriculture Business Development and Marketing Specialist for the Harvest New York team that is affiliated with the Northern New York Regional Agriculture Program. She serves Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties. Lindsey received her Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing and Master's in Administration and Leadership from Plattsburgh State University. Lindsey also owns Adirondack View Vineyard, located in Keeseville, New York. 

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Sean Prather

U.S. Department of Treasury's Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

Certifications for Label Approval

Sean Prather has served as a Wine Labeling Specialist with the U.S. Department of Treasury's Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) for more than three years. In this role, Sean is responsible for evaluating applications for Certificates of Label Approval for domestic and international wine products. Sean uses his in-depth knowledge of TTB's regulations and best practices to provide customer service to stakeholders and to deliver presentations to industry members and international governments.

Prior to joining TTB, Sean was a Personnel Security Specialist with the U.S. Department of Energy. He also served as a member of the United States Navy for more than four years as an operations specialist. Sean studied History at the University of Maryland University College and is a life-long resident of the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.


Steve Selin

South Hill Cider

Do the Apples Matter, and Where Do I Get Them

Steve Selin lives in Ithaca, NY and is owner/operator South Hill Cider and has been making cider since 2002. Steve founded South Hill Cider in 2013 which is a producer of award-winning orchard-based cider. Steve manages an orchard of 1,500 semi-dwarf cider apple trees and works with a network of apple growers, orchard owners and feral trees to source consistently high quality cider apples. Steve holds a BS from SUNY ESF (Forest Biology) and M.S. Virginia Tech (Forest Soils).

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Christine towner


impact of the new tax law on craft beverage businesses

Christine is a Manager in EFPR Group’s Tax and Business Services department. She has been with EFPR Group since 2012 and has over 4 years of experience in a broad range of industries. Christine offers a variety of tax and accounting services to a client base including individuals and closely-held entities. She specializes in traditional tax compliance services, financial statement preparation, and assistance with bookkeeping. She enjoys working with specific niche areas such as emerging technology companies, Wineries and Breweries.

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Micheal Webster

Alchohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

Malt Beverage Product Labeling Approval Process

Started at TTB, at the time ATF, in 2001 as a Chemist in the Beverage Alcohol Laboratory.  As a chemist, he analyzed alcoholic samples for alcohol content, pesticides in wine, and other analytes in support of TTB programs such as Pre-Market Import, Consumer Complaints, and Investigations. In 2015, after approximately 13 years as an analytical chemist, Michael transitioned to Malt Beverage Labeling.  Recently, Michael was promoted to Quality Assurance Specialist. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family and playing ice hockey.

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Dr. randy worobo

Cornell CALS, Department of Food Science

Bottling Line Sanitation

Dr. Worobo is a Professor of Food Microbiology at Cornell University.  He is responsible for teaching undergraduate and graduate food safety assurance classes, and his research is focused on non-thermal processing alternatives for juice and beverages, microbial spoilage of foods and beverages, pathogen transmission and survival on fruits and vegetables. Dr. Worobo has extensive knowledge in winery, beverage and food processing plant sanitation and has worked with various industries on safety and sanitation programs.  He is a member of the FDA Juice HACCP Curriculum Committee, a certified Juice HACCP Train the Trainer, and Food Safety Preventive Controls Trainer. He has served as an expert for various media sources such as newspaper, magazines, TV, radio, and served as the food safety expert on “The Big Waste” that was produced and aired on The Food Network.