"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Boston Beer Bloggers Conference: Part 6

The joys of living at 5,280’—you can guzzle gallons of suds and wake up fresh as an autumn-released IPA when visiting cities at sea-level!  Even though I drank my own weight in beer, I awoke groggy from lack of sleep but, otherwise, ready and raring to tackle Day 2 of the Beer Bloggers Conference (BBC).

Menu for Day 2's lunch
At 9:30am, BBC attendees congregated in the Terrace Room of the Boston Park Plaza and settled in for the first presentation: Current State of Beer Blogging Survey Results.  Prior to BBC, attendees completed a survey covering aspects such as demographics, blog monetization, and a whole host of other data points.  When at BBC, Twitter is the de facto note-taking instrument thus I present to you my rough draft notes bolstered with additional comments:

Why do we blog about #beer? Because we love beer, of course. #BBC13 #Boston
The survey question was in regards to the impetus in being a beer blogger.  For the most part, it wasn’t for fame or money but rather for the love of beer.  We’re passionate about the subject matter and we wish to exalt its greatness.  If we accrue perks through our writing that’s great but it’s not what motivates us as beer bloggers. 

87% of beer bloggers use Twitter. I'm living proof! #BBC13 #Boston 
For the life of me, I do not understand the point of a personal Twitter account.  As a business or as a blogger it makes sense because 140 characters is really only enough for advertising, it’s not enough for a decent conversation.  In spite of its shortcomings, personal Twitter accounts abound and, because I want people to read my blog, I, like 87% of beer bloggers, use Twitter.
I'm still not getting a Google Plus. #BBC13 #Boston
The presenter was lauding the wonders of Google+ and, based on other comments I saw floating around on Twitter, I’m quite positive the BBC crowd wasn’t buying it any more than I.  While it may seem ironic for me to proclaim this over a blog (and in a blog mentioning my use of Twitter), I’m a bit of a Luddite—I’m slow to adopt new advances in technology.  Hell, I still had a flip-phone up until last December!  I don’t want to keep jumping to and from the “next big thing” in social media, I just want to write.  Besides, it would take the ultimate PR campaign to convince me that Google+ is even the “next big thing.”

Get your face out there! People want to click all over it. #BBC13 #Boston
A little advice slipped into the presentation.  Readers are more willing to click your link if there’s a face attached to it; it makes for a more human connection and it draws in more people.

Fewer posts the more you blog? Quality > quantity AND u already have your audience so it's less important to keep blasting out posts #BBC13
Seasoned bloggers post less often than newbies.  Like I said in the Twitter post, it’s probably because the fan base has been built and it’s no longer necessary to build one’s presence.  It is, however, important to have quality posts.  It makes sense, then, that veteran bloggers would spend more time polishing their articles thus resulting in fewer overall posts.

Blog to book? Interested. Of course, somebody already did a book about visiting all the breweries in #Colorado. Always new ones, tho #BBC13
What’s the next step after starting a successful blog?  Perhaps it’s publishing a print version.  Ed Sealover already authored the book I wanted to write but, with the ever-growing Colorado beer scene, it’s quickly becoming outdated.  Maybe it’s time somebody brought it up to speed.  Well, it’s something for me to ponder, anyway.
Crab Cake
Edit, edit, edit your beer blog; it looks more professional. I flip a lid when I catch my own typos in a published post #BBC13
A little more advice sprinkled in for good measure.  It should go without saying but read and re-read what you’ve written.  If it looks like crap, your audience will assume it is crap.  Make it look nice.

There was a lot more to the presentation and I encourage you to check out the results for yourself (click here).   

Our next presentation was the Panel of Industry Beer Bloggers:

Cambria from @TheBruery talking now at #BBC13. I've been to the brewery. Will never forget it b/c the town it's in sounds like "Placenta."

Don't have a title at your job? Make one up. #BBC13
Don’t just say, “I work for Blah Blah Blah Brewery.”  Say, “I’m the Social Media Ninja Czar for Blah Blah Blah Brewery!”

The breweries WILL make time for bloggers but you still have to ask; let them know you're in town. #BBC13 
Beer bloggers make the craft beer industry go ‘round.  You rarely see a craft beer commercial on TV, in the newspaper, or on a billboard; for the most part, it’s social media that gets the word out.  Craft breweries know this to be true; they want you to write about them and you want the behind-the-scenes skinny so don’t be shy about asking for special treatment.  It’s a win-win for all involved. 
Skirt Steak
Breweries LOVE vocal criticism of their business? Well, okay; not sure I'm buying it, though. #BBC13 
I think this might be personal opinion more than general truth but one of the presenters said he loves it when people slam his brewery in public; it gives him a chance to calmly and respectfully  placate the complainer in an open forum.  This looks good for the brewery and makes the complainer feel like a douche because they griped when their emotions were high and their sense of reason was low.

Drunk guy: "I'm never going to drink Dale's Pale again!" Brewery rep: "Yeah, you probably will." Who can resist the allure? #BBC13 
Going along with the previous comment, breweries don’t take every complaint seriously.  You can’t please 100% of the public so don’t even try.  If you have a complaint, it would behoove you to make sure it’s legitimate or else you'll simply be taken for an a-hole. 

Local Bible-thumpers near the N. Carolina @oskarblues think the brewery is full of drugs, gambling, and prostitutes. I wish. #BBC13
This was just a funny anecdote told during the presentation.  It sure makes me glad I live in Colorado and not the Bible Belt.

How do you differentiate yourself from other bloggers? Just make it personal; keep it close to the heart & it'll attract attention #BBC13 
I think we do this quite well; this blog is as much a personal travel journal as it is a beer blog.  At Beer in Colorado you hear about Nicole and I’s entire journey, not just the time spent in breweries. 

I'm drinking a Dale's Pale Ale from @oskarblues. Respond, Anne-Fitten Glenn, respond! #BBC13
This tweet was sent as a joke.  The Oskar Blues rep said not to be offended if every brewery doesn’t respond to every comment you make about them.
Boston Cream Pie
Wanna be a hard cider blogger? The demographic is growing; be a part of the movement. @WoodchuckCider #BBC13
Through personal observation, it seems that most beer people are not wine people but most beer people are cider people (I guess cider is technically a wine but you get the point).  I don’t know why this is but it appears to be the truth.  In light of the numerous beer blogs, why not tread into more unknown territory and take a crack at cider blogging?  It seems to be a beverage on the rise.

The last presentation before lunch was Mechanics of Beer Pouring presented by Heineken and demonstrated by company rep Franck Evers.  Essentially, this was a lesson on how to properly pour beer which most beer geeks have a pretty good handle on (granted, beer seems so much fancier when the bartender uses a blade to swipe off the excess foam but I’m unconvinced that it’s a necessary measure).  However, I would like to mention something Franck said about his boss at Heineken (if I remember correctly, it was actually the owner of Heineken); the boss said he takes it personally when somebody criticizes his beer.  He gets torn up about it, he gets mad, he gets stressed-out.  I found that comment quite telling.  If you recall, a small brewery rep said he loves hearing criticism and takes great joy in calming people down and showing them their complaints are unwarranted.  The small breweries are loosey-goosey, fun-loving, and confident that, despite a few dissenters, they have a great product that most people really enjoy.  The macrobreweries, on the other hand, are stiff as a gardening glove that’s been left in the sun for three days and as joyless as a schoolmarm.  Is that the crucial difference between craft beer and macro beer?  To get metaphysical, is it at all possible that the attitude of the brewer and the atmosphere of the business have an effect on the beer’s flavor?  We’re treading into quantum physics territory but could it be that the slightest, infinitesimal, neurologically-based variable might be the difference between what’s considered good beer and bad beer?  Sorry, I don’t mean to blow your mind; I know this is just a beer blog but, hey, think about it.
Franck doing his thing
One last comment on the Heineken presentation: some of the first words out of Franck’s mouth were in regards to his trepidation at presenting at a beer bloggers conference.  He said he knew that we knew our beer and that he’s almost surprised Heineken wanted to send him to BBC.  Is this an acknowledgement that he knows that his company’s beer isn’t exactly up to snuff when compared to America’s thriving craft beer scene?  It’s possible.  It’s also possible he just couldn’t accurately express his thoughts to a room full of native English speakers; his accent was pretty thick.      

After Franck’s presentation, we had a hearty, beer-paired lunch in the ballroom (Franck sat at our table; nice guy, really.  He asked what is means for a beer to be “Belgian-style” and I, being a teacher at heart, gladly explained that “Belgian-style” typically refers to the fruity, spicy Belgian yeast used in the beer’s creation).  The meal was excellent and featured the quintessential Boston cream pie and, after we got our grub on, we filed back into our conference room and BBC continued.



No comments:

Post a Comment