With April will come the 50th issue of BeerAdvocate Magazine. Quite a feat for any publication but especially one in the notoriously fickle niche of beer. Over the last decade, we’ve seen beer magazines come and go, some glossy, some very basic. The market remains a difficult place for beer publications (and at least one glossy magazine is currently teetering on the edge of calling it a day), which makes the BeerAdvocate model such an impressive feat. And more good things are set to come, with a substantial expansion of editorial pages planned, something that is nearly unheard of in print publishing these days.

For BA’s 50th issue anniversary, I had originally intended to write about the state of beer writing in the United States but, as often happens, I became sidetracked into a different but related topic area. As the topic corresponded in part to the state and nature of this blog, I figured this was as good a place as any to offer the thoughts.

I often find myself reading books by wine, spirits, and food writers. I have collected hundreds of them and browse a few every month to see how the other half lives, works, and writes. And in truth, despite receiving subscriptions to many of the beer magazines, I rarely do more than quickly flip through them. This is because most of what passes for beer writing in the United States revolves around simply giving the writer’s personal views of a product. Perhaps I am a particular type of media consumer, as I have suggested before, but others’ views of beer at the micro level do not interest me in the slightest. I just don’t have a need for the 1,000th review of Boston Lager or even the 5th review of the latest White Birch offering.

The other type of beer content that we often see, both on-line and especially in the so-called beer rags (Celebrator, Ale Street News, and the bi-monthly Brew Newspapers), is the announcement of upcoming beer releases and events. These offerings aren’t so much writing as calendar additions and press releases set to full sentences. These serve the purpose of alerting consumers, whether they be simple craft beer enthusiasts or more likely beer tickers, to the upcoming availability of a seasonal or special release. It appears that such content, which I’m not sure can properly be classified as beer writing, is growing in popularity (or at least volume) on the web. Too often such announcements simply turn into another episode of “Pining for Pliny” and celebrating rarity for its own sake. In the sub-culture of beer nerds, such content definitely has a place. Again, I’m just not interested in it.

To be fair, product reviews and announcements also constitute a marked portion of wine writing (but oddly not of spirits writing), yet the medium has somehow evolved beyond the limitations of the review and invited a broader investment of time, circumspection, and perspective. The world of wine especially has invited writers, both enthusiasts and professional, to develop their own voices. In the world of beer writing, there is far too little opinion offered (and I don’t mean regarding a particular product’s body or aroma), especially backed by any experience or individual voice. The world of wine writing offers this in spades and captures a great deal more of my reading time even though I probably drink fewer than a half-dozen glasses of wine in the course of a year. I don’t particularly enjoy wine but I have become surprisingly conversant in varietals, producers, and debates over various issues in the industry due to the breadth and quality of wine writing.

A few months ago I got into a fair amount of trouble for some comments I made on the subject and exercise of blogging about beer. And while I had intended the comments to relate to my own experience in the medium and not so much to that of non-professional writers, it struck a particular nerve with these bloggers. Over the last few months I have attempted to spend more time reviewing the work of citizen beer bloggers. The result, sadly, is not a more profound understanding of the medium but a reinforced confidence and parallel to my views on beer writing as a whole. I’ve simply not come across many unique or distinctive voices in this new online community of writers. It tends to be more of the same sort of repetitive and highly personalized content experienced in the wider market of beer writing available to consumers.

With this said, I should highlight a few writers whose sites offer something a little different from the usual beer content.

I have long respected the increasingly professional work of Ron Pattinson over at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. If you enjoy reading about beer history, politics, and a lot of old, insider numbers, his site is well worth the time spent digging in to each subject.

I also think that many writers need to take off the beer blinders directing their focus solely to product reviews, the white noise of beer writing. The bottles, cans, and pints we enjoy came from a place run by actual people, but you wouldn’t know it by the writing about the beers. One area in which wine writing (both online and in print) puts beer writing to shame is in its avowed dedication to providing the narratives and back-stories of the vintners, growers, and owners behind the wines. We rarely do this in the world of beer, instead preferring to name-check celebrity brewers or re-interview the ten most familiar names.

This is an area where citizen beer bloggers really have the opportunity to shine and provide a service to the industry they cover/write about/lavish praise over every day. I read every brewer, brewery owner, or publican interview that I come across on the web because I want to get to know the people behind the brands and places whose names I see in press releases, tweets, or on Facebook. For those bloggers who do not have a background in writing or journalism, personality profiles provide the easiest way to get your foot in the door and to develop the skills necessary to provide a beneficial service to your readers. And while brewers may not always be used to telling their stories, they are a near-uniformly friendly lot and would be foolish to turn down any chance to publicize themselves, their brands, and establishments, even to new writers.

The folks at The Full Pint do this well in their Brewmaster Spotlight as does Drink Craft Beer in its Interview section. I wish these sites did more of this type of content. Another creative (and effective promotional) interviewing tactic is the Beer Wench’s Beer Blogger Interview series. People want to read about other people, not just products they don’t have in front of them and may not be able to buy.

For those content to simply regurgitate press releases and new product announcements, I’d suggest looking at the model being developed over at BeerNews.org. If this guy ever figures out what he actually wants to do, I think we could see some exciting things there.

I’ve also enjoyed some quirky blogs, including one dedicated to understanding the science of beer flavor. Appreciating the underlying foundation of beer and flavor is always a challenging and worthwhile pursuit for the dedicated beer enthusiast.

I also continue to worry about the creep of advertorial beer writing. There are now dozens of sites across the Internet that somehow manage to convince breweries to pay to have the site’s owners review their beers. While I have long decried this practice, craft breweries, in some apparent desperation for attention, seem to be supporting this unfortunate beer shill business model.

I remember being genuinely excited when I first experienced the RSS beer heaven that was Real Simple Beer Syndication. Confronted with hundreds of beer blog entries every day, I thought for sure that some distinctive voices would result. Over the years, I find myself coming back to the professional beer writing set (not that its members are all top-notch either) for readable content. Perhaps the retread nature of so much beer writing was initially necessary as beer writing established itself. For whatever reason, the wine world has also long attracted talented writers of literature and non-fiction, daring to try and capture their passion for the grape in a new writing form. But more than 30 years into craft beer movement, the industry is still sorely lacking such commensurate writing talent.

I’ve also lamented that people covering the beer industry, like Minnesotans and clothing store clerks, never deign to offer a critical or constructive word to those around them. Beer writing is often one long, seemingly endless love song to craft brewers despite some obvious age spots appearing in the mirror. Beer writers, especially citizen bloggers, shouldn’t hesitate to fill this void with their own viewpoints, when supported in their content.

It’s time for beer writers (both professional and enthusiasts) to take the training wheels off their pens, pencils, and keyboards. It seems that we have all been content to merely step in the footprints left by the pioneering beer writers, especially Michael Jackson, despite the entirely new world of beer that we inhabit. I am hoping to witness a new era of beer writing because, in part, I believe that it is essential to the broader growth of the beer industry. When done right, such writing should serve as a catalyst for the growth of the industry, both philosophically and production-wise.

I remain thankful for the opportunity to contribute to a publication such as BeerAdvocate Magazine, where dissenting opinions are tolerated if not encouraged. And I hope to continue to offer a hopefully different and distinct perspective to the world of beer.

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37 Responses to “Another Lament On The State And Future Of Beer Writing And Blogging…”

  1. Marty says:

    Once upon a time there was an organization called the North American Guild of Beer Writers. Anyone who ponied up the annual dues was welcome to be a member. Each Fall, coinciding with the Great American Beer Festival, N.A.G.B.W. held its annual awards ceremony, where it celebrated its best and brighest. Alas N.A.G.B.W. is no more (like many organizations, it needed volunteers to keep it alive).

    While awards are not necessarily the best or only way of separating the wheat from the chaff, they can be effective at promoting writing talent by acknowledging those capable of it.

    Cheers!
    -Marty Nachel
    Beer Writer of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up, 1996

    • Andy says:

      Hey Marty-

      I’m familiar with the NAGBW (having won a couple of now-dusty awards myself back in the day) but I’m not sure it really encouraged or promoted good writing in any meaningful way. Perhaps a professional organization would be beneficial but the subject has been discussed and discarded dozens of times in recent years. I think the leadership of a few beer writers would go a long way to promoting better writing across the board.

      Best,

      Andy

  2. Marty says:

    If nothing else, the NAGBW awards gave us (as a group) something to crow about -not unlike the brewery press releases you mention in your above article.

    In this day and age, where anyone with a computer and internet access can be “beer writer”, how does one get him/herself heard above the din of the crowd? Print publications –those that still exist– seem to prefer contributors that are hungry enough to undercut seasoned writers.

    If incentives such as awards and monetary remuneration aren’t there, then what? I’d love to say that I write for the pure joy of it, but…

    -MN

  3. YAY! My first hater! I’d just like to point out that you mistakenly called ITasteYourBeer.com a “review” site, which it is certainly not.

    Where do you think craft breweries should advertise? Print? HA!

    • Andy says:

      Hey Hagan-

      I wouldn’t say I’m your first critic as I was directed to your site by others with the same complaint. And without wanting to debate the details, your videos definitely have a review component to them, from product design, to appearance, aroma, flavor, etc. Not sure what else to call that.

      Best,

      Andy

      • The word review connotes an opinion. Aroma/Smell/Flavor/Mouthfeel is not subjective. Come the 13th of 14th beer, it gets a little tough to stay the course. Forgive me on the ones where I have a hard time holding my excitement for my profession inside.

        • Andy says:

          Hi Hagan-

          Not to go back and forth on this, but the idea that aroma, smell, flavor, and mouthfeel are not subjective is just a ridiculous thing to suggest. To stay a bit more objective, when you start using adjectives and modifiers, however simple and straightforward (good, nice, etc), you’re reviewing. That’s objectively what you do in your videos. If might not be effusive praise, but it’s not a simple recitation of ingredients, a shot of the beer, and fading to black. And again not to belabor this (or your decision to cite to Wikipedia as a source for the definition of a word), but I’d check out what Merriam-Webster has to say about what constitutes being a shill…

          Best,

          Andy

          • Preference is subjective, Andy. A black car looks black to everyone, a rose smells like a rose to everyone, a well done steak tastes and chews like a well done steak to everyone. It’s the personal preference on whether they like or dislike the smell/taste/flavor/mouthfeel that I do my best to avoid.

            I did check Merriam-Webster. If you’re claiming that you’re not insinuating that, then maybe a change in the verbiage in the blog post is in order to clarify the position?

          • Andy says:

            Good evening, Hagan. The 15 minutes on this one are about up. We’ll just have to disagree on the nature of your reviews and let the people who watch them decide. As to my characterization of the nature of your site (and my later citation to a proper language authority), it remains unchanged and accurate. You are effectively working as a paid promoter for the brands involved. Not sure that you would really doubt that as it seems pretty clearly to be your business model.

            Signing out for tonight.

            Andy

          • It ain’t part of my 15 minutes ;-) and I see you understand my subjectivity quote.

            I am a paid promoter. Your verbiage insinuates that I am a shill. What is left to disagree on? You see my business in its infancy and judge it; that’s fine. I’m still working out the kinks.

            I think if we had a beer, we’d see that we both love beer and want more people to appreciate it.

            Cheers!

  4. Aaron C. says:

    Andy,

    The beer advertorials boggle my mind. I hardly ever, well only once really, have beer sent to me, much less sent with a check.

    Indulge me for a second, I want to share one of my sites with you:

    http://www.mylastpint.com

    I started it partly to be a distinct (hopefully) voice in the sea of beer blogs.

    And while I am plugging, might as well point out that we just started our own “rag” here in Austin:

    twitter.com/austinbeerguide

    Great post,

    Aaron

  5. Candice says:

    This is why I do not like to draw specific attention to my blog. I write about random things from recipes to trips to Belgium and New York. However, I don’t, in any way, consider myself a writer. I have appallingly bad grammar and mostly what I am talking about on my blog is just some random musings. Once in a while I put something up that I think should be shared around like the Founders Break Stout Stew recipe.

    I like to talk about things related to beer but again I wouldn’t consider myself a beer writer or anything close to it. I wish a lot of people with blogs would recognize this fact about themselves as well. You are just a blogger at the end of the day and pretty much everyone has one these days. Kind of like “Opinions are like…..”

  6. Jen says:

    Perhaps I’m taking umbrage from a point where no offense was directed, but I think I speak for quite a few people when I state that as a beer blogger, I am not trying to be a *professional* beer writer. Like Candace, I happen to like beer and have a blog. Now, I am using that blog as a (half-assed) excericse to focus my writing, but never in a million years would I compare myself to a professional writer. (Not in this case, anyway. I actually am paid to write – please don’t share your opinion of my skill, you’re dreadfully blunt – but on something far, far different.) And I think a lot of other beer bloggers feel the same way.

    The overly-sensitive side of me wants to shout, “Bah! Leave us alone, already! What did we ever do to you?” But the writerly side of me thinks you have some excellent points, and some constructive criticism. I hope to take some of your suggestions to heart and perhaps even act upon them. There’s a relatively new brewery in my town on whose owners I would love to do a brewer profile, if only to promote them and their products more because I love local business.

    • Andy says:

      Hey Jen and thanks for your thoughts. Your Big Flats review is both funny and disturbing (mainly the photo).

      Best,

      Andy

  7. Greg says:

    While I don’t agree with everything you’ve said here, I think this was much more constructive and insightful than your previous post on blogging, which struck me as unnecessarily condescending and mean-spirited.

    As someone who has tried to carve out a niche with a different and critical look at the craft beer industry, I can say that there are definitely days where I lament the same things you have here. Not because I don’t want the many people who (like Candice) don’t consider themselves “writers” to have an outlet for thoughts, but because it’s not exactly easy to distinguish oneself.

    Andy, as a successful writer with a great book and a job writing about beer, you are one of the many beer writers (like Jay, Lew, Stan, et al.) to whom I and many bloggers look up. But aspiring to a serious career in this world and achieving it are different things, and I just disagree with the implication that there is a meritocracy of sorts (though I realize that may be part of your point). As you point out, publications have largely not made it, and often seem more interested in joining the party than taking a critical look at the industry (perhaps understandable, when it is industry ad dollars that pay those bills). Interviews are great, but without the backing of a branded publication, not every blogger has access to all the subjects we might like to interview.

    To someone like me, the stable of writers who it seems you (or someone similar) might respect is increasingly becoming a closed in-group of a very few people who have the good fortune to have started at the right time or have secured the right connections. The only recourse for those of my ilk is to start writing, put time and effort into it, and hope that by hard work and good luck enough people notice after a while. But in the meantime, it’s hard to know what more to do than what we do; calling for better journalism is fine, and I agree, but does it matter if we can’t be found?

    Right now there is a sea of content producers and content consumers, all trying to find each other. Just about every niche industry is going through the same thing, I think. But I do not think the issue is simply one of writers taking off training wheels and magically being discovered by one of the few publications left standing. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I have confidence in the overall intelligence and innovation of the craft beer culture and people. I’d be interested to hear your comments on what role the “beer writing establishment” has to play in finding new talent.

  8. Hey Andy,

    Thanks for the praise for DrinkCraftBeer! One of the biggest difficulties for the non-pros is simply keeping fresh content constantly coming out. While this is your job, most beer writers/bloggers are doing this after a full-time job, which is why I think a lot end up doing quick beer reviews and the like.

    We’ve been trying hard to mix in more original content with the occasional review (after all, we do love to drink craft beer). Our interviews did seem to go over very well with our readership, but we’ve lately had less and less time to travel, unfortunately, because of our jobs. We have some ideas in the pipeline for more content that we think will add to the discussion and appreciation of craft beer, but still fit in with our increasingly busy lives.

    We love doing this, it’s given us experiences we never thought we’d have. We’re going to keep doing this, but are trying to adapt it to how our lives are changing. Hopefully, at the behest of this article, some other beer writers can put out some great brewer profiles. I know I enjoy reading them! And hopefully you’ll enjoy our newer content that is coming down the road.

    Thanks again for the shout out! Cheers!

    -Jeff from DrinkCraftBeer.com

  9. Marty says:

    Greg: I’m not sure who the “beer writing establishment” is, but I
    don’t think it/they need to find new talent as much as new talent needs to be found. That means going beyond simply establishing yourself as a credible writer. It also means knowing the industry from the inside out and understanding its personalities and politics. It also means having an intimate knowledge of how beer is created (do you brew your own?), an experienced palate (have you tasted more than, say, 500 different brands?)and a global perspective of beer styles (have you traveled outside the U.S.?).
    Credibility and experience doesn’t happen overnight. Put in your time and establish yourself. Cream always rises to the top.
    Cheers!
    -Marty Nachel
    http://www.ale-conner.com

  10. Marty says:

    Jeff: Get used to moonlighting on your blog. Some of us have been at this game for more than 20 years and still have to hold down a 9-to-5. If you have the passion to keep going, eventually you’ll break through.
    Cheers!
    -Marty Nachel
    http://www.ale-conner.com

    • Greg says:

      Marty,

      Not disagreeing with you exactly, but I’m sure you can understand how “keep going, eventually you’ll break through” and “Cream always rises to the top” are unsatisfying when hard work has so far not been enough. And, while I’m not sure what the beer writing establishment is either, the fact that you refer to breaking through and echelons of success shows that something like it exists.

      I suppose part of the issue, though, is that we’re not sure what “making it” will look like in the next 10 years. Publications seem to be dying off rather than gathering steam, and publishing is no picnic, either. So, with no clear way forward, I think it’s fair to question whether Andy’s point that work and talent will be rewarded is reality.

      And, for what it’s worth, I could answer yes to all of your questions. I understand your larger point, but that’s an example of what I’m talking about. When people who do get paid for writing assume that just because someone hasn’t “broken through” there is some lack of talent or resume, it can come off as a Panglossian jump in logic.

      • Andy says:

        Hi Greg-

        I’m not sure I ever said that work and talent will be rewarded and I don’t entirely agree with Marty’s suggestion to such. Freelance or professional writing is far from an easy gig. There are certainly easier ways of making money and shilling is one of them. Beyond that, I do agree that there are plenty of opportunities in the world of old media/print for aspiring writers to break through if that is what they actually want to do (even BeerAdvocate Mag publishes pieces by new writers if you’ve done your groundwork). Despite apocalyptic pronouncements to the contrary, print journalism isn’t going to die off and many niche publications will continue to do quite well. BeerAdvocate is a great example of that, with ad pages increasing steadily every month, now leading to a substantial increase in editorial pages.

        As many have said here and elsewhere, professional writing is far from the aspirational course for the overwhelming bulk of beer bloggers. And that is totally fine. My point was not that every beer blogger should aspire to become a professional writer but that their chosen avenues for content delivery and topics could use some serious rethinking. If you’re just running a review site for your own interest, good for you. No problem there. But I believe many bloggers do hope to achieve something more than writing for their own interest and these are the folks I tried to catch the ear of for a moment.

        As to your earlier comment on access, you could not find a more approachable lot than brewers. Maybe clipboard-toting Amnesty International street salesmen, but few else. I imagine that if you sent an email to your local brewer, you’d find out just how accessible people are in the craft beer industry. While it might be a bit difficult to get Jim Koch or Sam Calagione on the phone (you still might be surprised), I’m sure your local pub brewer would be happy to buy you a beer and talk about his IPA. If they don’t respond right away, follow up. While accessible, brewers are also insanely busy.

        And interviews or brewer profiles were just one example of many for how non-professional bloggers can jump start their site’s content selection. There are many others, all easily achievable even for those with day jobs (such as myself).

        Cheers to everyone for participating today,

        Andy

    • Hey Marty, thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m not too worried about breaking through, though. We’ve got the site (and the associated social media pieces) to the level we want it at. Neither of us have the desire to do this for a living, so we’re not too worried about making it more.

  11. Marty says:

    Hagan: “Aroma/Smell/Flavor/Mouthfeel is not subjective”

    Really? I’m guessing you are not trained in proper beer evaluation. Subjectivity is the downfall of the novice.
    Cheers!
    -Marty Nachel
    BJCP Certified Beer Judge
    http://www.thebeerclinic.com

    • To say that subjectivity is the downfall of the novice is to give official beverage judging more validity than it deserves. While I don’t think things like GABF and other judged competitions are bad, I do look at awards like those as a product of the particular judges and how they scored a beer in a particular instant of time. There are way too many studies showing inconsistencies in people considered to be talented sensory judges, in both beer and wine, for these awards to be considered anything more.

      As a predictor of what I’ll like, I’d rather find a blogger or a friend whose palate mirrors my own than a BJCP judge who can tell me if a beer is to style well or not.

      I read beer writers to find out about new beer I’d like and new beer to try. In that capacity, a title such as BJCP Judge carries very little cache with me. In fact I’m often turned off by it, because I assume the person thinks they can tell me better what I should like than my own palate. It’s great to have the title to judge a homebrew contest or for judging something like the GABF. I don’t think it’s important as a beer blogger to have. I’ll look at past reviews and see if I agree with other things the person has written. If so, I’ll probably agree in the future with what they like.

      As for your critique of Hagan, however, I totally agree. I looked at the site. There’s a lot of subjectivity in the reviews no doubt.

      • Andy says:

        Hey Jeff-

        Had intended to sign off from this discussion to get back to work but your comment pulled me back in. I agree with much of what you say about the BJCP. While I respect what the organization has done over the years and the role it plays in the homebrewing world, I don’t have much personal use for it. I too prefer to find individuals with similar palates to confirm or refute my views on certain beers, especially where I’m going to be unusually critical. In producing both of my books, I relied upon (and thanked) certain reviewers on the big websites, mainly BA, whose opinions were similar enough to mine to be the occasional confirming point in certain cases.

        Best,

        Andy

      • I just watched a few of the videos and you’re right. I probably need to dial it back a bit. I’m working on it. Thanks for the feedback!

      • Marty Nachel says:

        Pretty harsh on BJCP judges, Jeff. You certainly have a skewed view of their mission if you assume they go around telling beer drinkers what they should like.
        I included the reference to the BJCP with my sig to provide a point of reference for my comment about being properly trained in beer evaluation. This is precisely what I feel sets me (and others) apart from Johnny-come-lately beer bloggers who have no real training. Without this, what is the source of your credibility?
        For the record, I have been in the BJCP for 25 years. I was also a beer evaluator at the Beverage Testing Institute (home of the World Beer Championships) and I’ve judged at the GABF. Experience like this is not gained overnight. But I still have to earn my credibility every time I review a beer or write an article or book.
        And I don’t go around telling people what beer they should like, I’d rather help people figure it out on their own.
        Cheers!
        -MN

    • It’s chemically impossible for the same thing to appear differently to two different people. It is not chemically impossible for those two people to think something tastes/smells/feels/looks more or less palatable depending on their prior experiences and curent state.

      Just became your friend on Twitter – Cheers!

  12. FlagonofAle says:

    Always with wine. You know what the real white noise in the world of beer writing is? Comparing it to wine writing. I mean, human interest stories? That’s what you find interesting about beer? I guess I’m in the other camp.
    Wine writers write about the people who make the wine, it’s because that’s all they have to talk about, considering many, if not most, wine experts can’t tell the difference between cheap/expensive or red/white wine.

    To me, blogging is to beer writing what home brewing is to professional brewing: it’s best done when for personal pleasure. Because like home brew, most of it is not that good, but you can’t really complain about something that’s done as a hobby in someone’s spare time. Unless you’re also a “professional” beer writer…

  13. Marty Nachel says:

    Woo, cheap shot on homebrewers! Okay, maybe you’re right as far as percentages go, but I think if you tasted the beers at a sanctioned HB competition you’d be blown away by the quality of the beers submitted by the hobby’s most dedicated.
    Maybe there’s a comparison waiting to be made here between beer bloggers and “professional” beer judges.
    Cheers!
    -Marty Nachel
    http://www.ale-conner.com

    • FlagonofAle says:

      Marty – I’m a homebrewer myself, so I don’t say that from a place of condescension. Lots of great beer being made out there, but you just can’t compare it to commercial beer. It’s not really the same. It’s not really supposed to be, either.

      • Marty Nachel says:

        Sorry, Flag, but I couldn’t disagree with you more. I have to wonder whose homebrew you’re drinking. The homebrew I’m drinking (not referring to my own) IS comparable to commercial beer…it really IS the same -minus the legal license to brew.
        And how can you say it’s not supposed to be…as if there’s a law against it? I don’t uderstand your your argument here.
        -MN

  14. Mike says:

    I agree with virtually everything Andy wrote. Frankly, I don’t see much need or use for beer blogging. The vast majority of bloggers do it for their own entertainment or perhaps for a feeling of self-importance. I don’t care what other people think about a beer any more than I care what other people think of my taste in beer, wine, fashion or women. That’s my business, not theirs.

    If I want to try a new beer, I’ll go to the store and buy one. If it’s crap, I’m out €1-2. I’ll take the chance.

  15. More hits from this site than from my TV appearance yesterday!

    Mike, you don’t see the need for a site like Beer Advocate? You’re a rare bird, indeed.

  16. Ashley says:

    Andy,

    This post was definitely a lot more digestible than the last blogging lament *smile* perhaps, you are coming around?

    I want everyone to take a step back, for a brief moment, and observe what beer blogging and social media in general has done for the craft beer industry. Beer bloggers are, essentially, advocates of the industry. Although content, talent and reach varies, these people are helping to promote beer (whether it be to just one reader, or thousands of readers).

    Personally, I started writing a blog (not my beer blog) because I had always loved writing as a child and needed an outlet to express my creativity. My lack of focus drove me insane, so I decided to hone in on one topic — beer. I didn’t 3 years ago, and still don’t know today, what the main goal and purpose is of my site. But I do know this, it is a platform on which I can advocate, educate and promote craft beer and the craft beer industry — something that has become an integral if not life-saving part of my life.

    Do I aspire to write a book? Who knows. Do I aspire to be the next Michael Jackson? Eh, I’ve said it in the past and I’m not necessarily tossing the dream away, but it is not something I am focused on at present.

    That brings us to the question that underlies this entire conversation: why do I write? Why do we, beer bloggers, choose to write about beer? More specifically, why do us amateur writers choose to write? (Although, I do have an issue with calling myself an amateur writer. I might not be a journalist by trade, but I am a marketer, copywriter, and pr writer… so the jury is still out).

    The answer is not cut and dry. We all write for different reasons. Some write with aspirations to make money, some write in hopes of fame, some write just because they need a creative outlet, and some write because they want to advance the craft beer industry and truly believe in the craft beer revolution.

    The moral of my ramblings is that I have a respect across the board for all beer bloggers, regardless of content and talent. As a professional in the industry and an amateur brewer, I am often astonished and even appalled by some beer reviewers. It frustrates me to no end to see undereducated and inexperienced palates review beer poorly, but at the end of the day, I am glad that they are here. The more voices the better, right?

    I appreciate the *nod* to my site.

    Cheers,

    Ashley

  17. BlogFront says:

    Hi Andy,

    BlogFront.org is committed to uphold the quality standards of blogging. We strive to maintain and promote only the most credible blogs in their respective fields.

    Spam blogs or “splogs” has been a problem for some time now and people are getting confused about which blog to trust.

    We would like to thank you for maintaining such a reputable blog. We know that it takes time, effort and commitment to keep such a blog and as such, we have added your blog as one of the top Beer Blogs.

    You can see your blog listed here: http://blogfront.org/beer

    You can also claim your BlogFront Top Blogs badge at http://blogfront.org/badges/beer

    Thank you for keeping your blog credible. Let’s keep the blog revolution alive!

    Maria Blanchard
    BlogFront.org
    Blog Revolucion

  18. Hello, Andy, Last year, we corresponded about the re-launch of the North American Guild of Beer Writers. The site – nagbw.org – is now set up to accept memberships, from associates (non-voting membership for people just getting started in beer writing), full memberships for established beer writers, and industry memberships for those involved in brewery outreach/PR and communications. I am the Guild’s volunteer administrator, and happy to answer any questions. NAGBW is organized as a membership group to support better writing about beer and brewing, with an annual competition being developed now. I invite people interested in building the profession of beer writing to join at nagbw.org. We have 42 members to date.
    cheers, Lucy Saunders
    author, THE BEST OF AMERICAN BEER AND FOOD
    administrator, North American Guild of Beer Writers
    organizer, http://www.conserve-greatlakes.com
    Twitter @lucybeercook and @GLwater

  19. Іn fact ωhen someonе doesn’t know after that its up to other people that they will help, so here it happens.

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