By Paul Kurtz

by Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some 1500 people representing more than 1400 breweries are in Philadelphia for the start of the 2016 Craft Brewers Conference.

53 year old Kentucky native Jim Clemons chucked his corporate gig a few years back to follow his passion. He opened Blue Stallion Brewery in Lexington and never looked back.

“Making a small profit, doin’ well, havin’ the time of our life,” said Clemons.

The annual brewers conference gives Jim, and others like him, a chance to catch up on what’s hot in the industry.

“I am an engineer by trade, so I love spending 8 hours a day at the expo seeing all the new equipment that’s available,” he said.

A lot of this stuff is inside baseball, but Barbara Fusco of the Brewers Association says there’s plenty of fun available this week for attendees and beer lovers in general.

“There are a whole variety of satellite events around town. We have those listed on our CraftBrewersConference.com website. Under week events people can find tap takeovers and a variety of beer events,” said Fusco.

Think of it as a warm-up to next month’s Philly Beer Week.

The conference will offer dozens of seminars on everything from marking and brand development to working with distributors, safety, and quality.

Organizers say this year’s beer conference is the largest in its 30+ year history. It wraps up Friday evening, ahead of the annual World Beer Cup Awards ceremony; considered the most prestigious beer competition in the world.

You can find all the available public events at Craftbrewersconference.com.