Participating in the latest Session (#62) was a very interesting experience to say the least. For the first Friday of each month, a different beer blogger comes up with a unique theme or topic, then anyone interested in participating is instructed to write a post on their own website and link it to the host website. The following week, the “host” blogger then conjures up a list and a brief synopsis of each post.
For The Session, Brewpublic chose the idea of “What Drives Beer Bloggers?” We threw the following out there for our community of beer bloggers to chime in:
Your mission as a craft beverage blogger reading this post, should you choose to accept it, is to compose a post on the topic of “What Drives Beer Bloggers.” There are no rigid guidelines about how to write about this topic but we’d certainly love to hear about the history behind your blog, your purpose in creating it, its evolution, and/or what your goals in keeping it going.
Novato, CA Jay Brooks of the mighty Brookston Bulletin provides us with a quite personal take on what ignited his very popular blog. In 2001 before he dove headlong into his internationally acclaimed blog, Brooks’ life was changed forever with the birth of his first born, Porter on the day before the infamous September 11, 2001. Brooks, a stay at home dad, learned of the complexities of fatherhood when he discovered his son was afflicted with autism, and threw himself into a meaningful world of his regularly managed site. “I discovered that I really loved blogging. Not only was it the perfect vehicle to document what was happening in our lives, but I just loved the challenge of writing something every single day. It was, in a sense, liberating, cathartic and also fun. I started writing about anything and everything that was important to me, as well, and that included beer, of course.”
Stan Hieronymus makes it known that his blog’s purpose is clearly defined in his about/mission page. Hieronymous adds more detail to his intent in a well written post that details a visit to Alaskan Brewing in 2008 as well as his work with the The Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette in 1968. The author sums up with “Beer is not that important. I understand that. I constantly remind you of that. But there are times when I learn something interesting enough I can’t wait for that clattering machine to bang out the next sentence. This blog gives me a place to pass along those stories. Maybe I’m just a beer gossip.”
Baron Orm of Ormskirk, Lancashire, United Kingdom offers his first shot at The Session, pointing out that the site’s usual approach to reporting comes in a much different format than many blogs, stating “I find that editing my audio reviews and writing up my very short twitter-able baron ratings keeps me busy enough but reading this month’s entries has driven me to write an entry myself.” Here is what the Baron has to say about why The O.B. came to be: “I met my beer review buddy Chris due to a common interest in ale and forged a good friendship with Paul & Matt from the excellent Source Deli due to my interest in trying new beers (and them stocking excellent new beers). I’ve been invited on personal tours of breweries due to Twitter, been sent countless bottles of ales to try thanks to very generous brewers who I’ve met through running my blog. I’ve travelled to twissups and beer festivals on my own safe in the knowledge that there will be people there who I know through talking about beer on the internet. Not to mention the countless evenings where the Baroness is out for the evening and I’ve only got myself, a few bottles of ale and Twitter to keep me company – I can guarantee that a fun and engaging conversation is never far away.”
With a clear purpose noted at the header of the blog, Columbia, MO’s Beer and Pavement unites two passions that we here at Brewpublic are also quite interested in: “Bringing the worlds of craft beer and indie rock together.” Amen. “We do this because we feel a specific perspective has yet to be shared, a perspective that will make it clear to skeptics why craft beer really is as amazing as we all think it is. And if we’re successful at making our case, the craft beer boom will continue, insuring that there is quality craft beer selections in every bar, restaurant, grocery, bus station, and elementary school to quench our undying thirst for the sweet, dank, pucker-inducing, bubbly, good stuff we crave.”
From Ireland, The Tale of the Ale initially and jokingly points to a simple reason behind beginning a beer blog: ethanol. But after going a bit deeper, we discover that writer Reuben Grey began his site in late 2008 to do as many of us set out to: “I do it because love beer and want to promote good beer as much as possible because the little guy has no one to promote them other than people like me.”
Jon Abernathy keys one of Oregon’s premiere beer blogs, and absolutely the finest out of Bend, Oregon. Abernathy’s blog has been running since 2004, perhaps the first of its kind in America. His mission is clear: “…because I love doing it. And because of the community I’ve become a part of: a network of other bloggers and beer writers and brewers that having this blog has opened up to me. And because I love beer, and I’m a blogger, so why not blog about beer?…for the most part I just don’t worry about (if people want to read what I write). I don’t. I personally enjoy writing about it, and that’s what counts for me.”
Kendall Jones of Seattle, WA offers a lot of great information on his Washington Beer Blog, one we look to on a regular basis to know what’s happening up north in the Pacific Northwest. Behind what drives his site is a humble yet informative approach to craft beer. “Basically, I write to make people feel smart. Unlike many other bloggers and beer writers, I don’t want to be praised as some all-knowing beer guru. I honestly have nothing against anyone who seeks that kind of recognition. That aint me. Many people know a lot more about beer than I do, but there are multitudes who know less. Some of what I write is way beneath many hardcore beer geeks. Sometimes they think I’m being a beer simpleton. I don’t apologize for that. In my mind, writing to appeal to beer geeks exclusively is like preaching to the choir. They already know a lot about beer and they already drink craft beer. I’m glad there are blogs and forums where hardcore beer fanatics really geek-out about beer, but that’s not what the Washington Beer Blog wants to be. That is not the kind of beer writer I want to be.”
Mr. David J of the U.K. gives a candid answer to why he likes to blog about beer. “On a more serious note, and actually answering the question as intended, for me its a combination of wanting to improve my writing, or at the very least keep my creative brain active, and keeping some sort of log of my drinking experiences. In terms of reading other peoples blogs, I look for information, and inspiration. Many blogs have been influential in my decisions whether or not to buy a certain bottle of beer, or in opening bottles I already have. Blogging has made me want to drink more. Not just more beer, but more varieties of beer. Styles that I’ve never tried before, in places I’ve never been. This in turn makes me want to blog more, or on occasion, search out other blogs or articles on those beers. It all makes for a nice little circle of beer drinking and beer appreciation.”
The Man Can Critic, as he is known on his Pounder of the Week blog is bartender and beer reviewer who says “For me it all started out on a Monday night at weekly trivia at Dorko’s. That night a fellow team member had encouraged me to write a blog and eventually I decided why not. Then the bug hit me with how much I enjoyed writing and sampling new beers. It started out with the idea of just writing once a week about a different 16 oz can from the bar I was going to and then it grew to adding recipes, health tips, stupid things that I got sick of putting in, the occasional health tip and now going to different breweries and writing about them. I think the real reason I love it so much is because it keeps my mind sharp always looking for what I can do different and also getting to watch the number of visitors to my blog. I enjoy seeing those numbers going up and down and knowing that hopefully I am encouraging others to go out and try new beers and go visit some breweries when they are in the area.”
Chris Baker runs Portland, OR based Eye Luv Beer. Not just a beer blogber, but a businessman selling beer swag such as t-shirts, stickers, and other beer paraphernalia, Baker explains his drive in beer blogging: “Eyeluvbeer’s blog roots are rather shallow. The first post was written in April, 2011. Before that, Eyeluvbeer, which began in the spring of 2010, was and still is a company that promotes our beer culture with “cleverly” designed stickers and t-shirts. The blog is an extension of that and was begun because I missed writing. At my day job, writing is limited to business like emails and blurbs that are technical in nature. The blog allows me to be creative. You may or may not be interested in reading everything or anything I write and that’s okay. It’s more of a personal outlet for me that brings inner satisfaction. I think my Fiancée thinks I’m crazy, but she’s very supportive. I could be doing worse things for sure. The blog itself covers a wide variety of topics. I like writing about events I attend, new places I visit, people in the beer community and sometimes off the wall stuff. I don’t foresee any major changes in the future, except for maybe writing more posts per month, potentially getting into video and hoping someone out there might want to occasionally guest blog. Right now, my buddy Mark and his wife Brenda are my only contributors. The ultimate dream for the blog would be to have an editor (laugh). No matter how many times I look over something I always find mistakes. Fortunately those can be fixed after your post is live. Modern technology does have its advantages.”
One of the nation’s most read beer blog’s is Phoenix, AZ’s Beer PHXation Blog. Editor Rob Fullmer, a seasoned homebrewer and talented writer, provides an in-depth explanation of how things began at his site. Quite interesting… “I remember very clearly why we started because we had a clear vision as to how it would end. This may be the only beer blog that started with an exit strategy. The web had always been a beer and brewing resource. As a brewer, Homebrewtalk became the place to learn techniques from some of the finest homebrewers in the country but I discovered that I was becoming more and more interested in beer culture. I wanted to understand the reasons for the robust beer culture I was seeing in Portland, Denver and San Diego. I wanted to understand the rich brewing history of Belgium, Great Britain and Germany and learn its impact on present day life. I wanted to learn the factors that made those places burst with life. Surely Phoenix had some of those factors. I know that we here in the Valley have a great many things that other cities have. It’s the case that those things spread out over 500 square miles. I needed to know where our beer culture was strongest. I needed to know where the pieces were. What needed to be built.”
From Derby, England, The Reluctant Beer Scooper aka Simon Johnson has a well-written post on motivation behind this fine blog: “I write for me. For no-one else.What drives me is the occasional compunction to spill stuff out my head and put it to bed somewhere. Sometimes, it’s here.You really want to know why it’s here? Reader, it’s not for you. It’s for me. I have to write, when I need to write. If you read it, it’s a bonus. If you comment… I’m sorry, I really don’t care. All I know is that I spill my occasionally splenetic frenetic heart out here. It’s not in hope that you get a warm fuzzy feeling from it. It’s for my release. Anyone who wants a refund, please queue by the back door. Something drives me. Sometimes it’s beer. Sometimes it’s architecture or pottery or archery or orchids or recalcitrant trout or Roger McGough. Most times it’s the beating of a heart that sounds like a fucked clock. A ticking that forgets to tock.*I* drive me. Over the cliff singing ho-de-doo-dah-dey. I play to the wings. If you happen to be sat in the stalls and take in the full enchilada, bully for you.”
10th Day Brewing author Jon Jefferson has a background in culinary arts and business and is an avid homebrewer. In his blog post about what drives him to run a beer blog, Jefferson makes some great self-realizations. “In reflection of how I came to be where I am now, I have realized that this is merely a culmination of much of what I have been working toward. Through this blog I have found a way to share my passion with others. The funny part is, at times I am a teacher, a journalist, but always a student. Kinda makes ya wonder what the future may bring…”
Yet another English beer blog chimed in on the latest Session post. It’s nice to hear from Boak & Bailey across the pond in Cornwall. Here’s an excerpt from this fine site: “Now, though, it’s a habit, and if we stopped blogging, we’d feel like quitters. We nearly wrapped up last year as our jobs reached peaks of stressfulness before the move to Cornwall. Instead, we took a break, and, after a little while, found things we wanted to say piling up in text files and notebooks. So, in conclusion, what drives bloggers? Perhaps, in the most general sense, it’s wanting to have a say, rather than simply observing from the back of the hall.”
Barl Fire of Sheffield, England writes the first Session entry to date. “I guess it’s borne out of a number of factors. When I go to a bar for a few pints or to a store selling bottles to take away I tend to try beers that I’ve not had before, always on the look out for that ‘holy grail’. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a ‘beer ticker’ as I often go back to my favourite staple beers when I need that assurance I’m going to get something worth having. I also have terrible short-term memory. I can relate events to dates that happened to me thirty or forty years ago, but ask me what I was drinking two weekends ago and what I thought of that beer, then very often I’m on shaky ground. So in essence my blog is just a diary of my tasting notes for my own selfish use. There are no aspirations for either promotion of a brewery’s wares or promotion of oneself as some kind of self-styled beer guru or guide. After all there’s an abundance of fine professional writers and broadcasters out there that do that sort of thing for a living so I’d be deluding myself to think that my amateurish scribbles could compete. It’s just the beer I bought and what I think of it, nothing else.”
LWBC is a “virtual brewery” with operations in both Virginia and England. “Lug Wrench has been a fun project for us, and one that we hope lasts for many years. It has provided us the opportunity to share a common interest and grow our friendship, despite the distance. In many ways, Lug Wrench embodies the cooperative spirit and enjoyment of craft beer, for two brothers, as we share our interest with others.”
Quite simply put, Ale Monkey of AFBN states “I’ve no idea what drives other beer bloggers, but what drives me is the desire to communicate, to give a damn, to enthuse and inspire. I’m happy if I can string enough words together to make sense, and convey something about what I think, and why I think it.”
A humorous blog that explores the world of beer and barbeque provides a very amusing take on the topic citing “To Make Lots of Money, To Gain Respect From My Peers, To Justifying My Drinking Problem, and To Achieve Widespread Fame” as factors behind the drive to blog on beer.
Drink Drank blog offers a direct response with a great story. “It’s pretty simple when you think about it, I blog about beer because I like to talk and write about about beer—with you.There’s not much more to it than that.”
Sean Inman of BSP blog cuts right to the meat of the matter: “I do not have it in me to write a blog post simply to attract readership. I am not adding words that are SEO’d. And I am not going to write something inflammatory just to start a word riot. That is not my joy or my strength. And if there is a life lesson that I have slowly learned is that there are already enough to-do’s on my list that are not my joy or strength and why add another one to the pile. I would like to compare my blog to a beer that wasn’t made for a target market but was made with love and because the brewer liked that beer.I simply want to express the large role that craft beer plays in my life. Because that is so much more invigorating than the random flotsam and jetsam of a normal day. So to answer the question. Content for me is easy. Sometimes it is a photo and a “This beer looks great”. Some days, I am promoting some beer event in Los Angeles. And other times I talk about the label artwork. The process of hitting the enter button is the final burst of fun that starts with a kernel of an idea for a post. Anything after that is just gravy. Maybe a gravy with a nice porter in it.”
This is a Belgian-style beer from Pittsburg, PA, not related to this topic. Ha!
Eslem Torres Eriksson del blog cerveza bien leído de Chile, sencillamente,“Verán, a mi me gusta mucho escribir por lo que era lógico que en algún momento empezara con un blog lo cual fue hace ya bastante tiempo y como extensión natural al ligarme al mundo de la cerveza me intereso compartir mis experiencias dentro de esta afición, comentar cervezas que me gustaran, las que no y uno que otro post sobre lo que yo también iba aprendiendo. Eso suena bien noble y de una persona que quiere dar sin recibir nada a cambio, pues gran error y claro, todo tiene un interés de por medio.”
IJTBT blog;s Jeff Pickthall points us to a post entitled “Evangelise!” in which it is stated “This urge to evangelise about what gives us pleasure seems universal. We’ve all got it. But what could it be? Human behavioural instinct is defined by evolution. This urge to promote what gives us pleasure, I believe, is exactly the same as the urge the caveman has to share the location of the bison herd or the bush bearing berries. The same urge the bee has to get back to the hive and waggle its bum. At its core is the urge to survive – to feed yourself and those who share some of your genes. In a tribal society everyone is likely to share your genes, your chance of survival and the “life” of your genes is enhanced. In our modern society we aren’t necessarily genetically related to those around us, and food is no longer a rarity that needs to be grabbed at every opportunity. Our genes don’t know that: they’re still telling us “shout from the roof-top about what satisfies you, share it with your tribe.”
“So, you see, it is my narcissism that has driven me to become a bigger beer geek and as a side affect a better writer. I have become quite comfortable in my own skin, narcissistically speaking, and I embrace what it has done for me and my writing.”
The venerable Ashley V Routson aka “The Beer Wench” has a wonderful post detailing her journey into the world of beer blogging and becoming a craft beer evangelist. Ashley states in this post: “I have always wanted to make a significant difference in this world. But until I found craft beer, I didn’t know what I would do and how I would do it. Over the years, Drink With The Wench has metamorphosed into more than just a blog. I am more than just a blogger. I don’t want to just be a part of the craft beer movement, I want to be a leader in it. Although my actions appear selfish at times, my focus has and always will be on promoting craft beer and the people who make it. My goal is to create and inspire change in the beer and beverage culture. I want to be the change.”
In this blog that is written by a homebrewer, the author states: “I have also been using it to review various pubs that I’ve been to recently. I hope to continue and expand that area of the blog. I would also like to start writing my own beer reviews… but I know that I’ll need some more formal education before that undertaking so I’ve been holding back for now. I don’t have many readers to date – that I know of anyway. I’d love to develop an audience and create content of interest but I’m not sure I’ve done that yet! There are plenty of great sites out there pointing out local events and sharing beer news. That niche is already covered. I want my blog to be personal to me rather than a generic news/event sharing space. I’d love to get more readers and free beer shipments to review like some of the other local beer bloggers do but it won’t break my heart if that never happens. I’m not sure I have any goals other than to keep brewing and blogging about it. And if people want to read my ramblings, all the better! If someone can find an interesting tidbit or has a question that I can answer, great. If not, it won’t stop me from brewing, tasting and blogging – because I happen to love all of those things!”
“I am going to post about the beer I try. I am not a beer geek, or a beer snob. I know what I like, and hope others can like some of the same beers. Most of the time, I am a IPA, or another super hopped up beer type of person, but I do enjoy most styles (other than the american light beers).If you do read this, please post your own favorite beer.Gracias.”
Freelance writer and specialist beer retailer Zak Avery relates his purpose behind his blog “Are You Tasting The Pith?” saying “I’ve no idea what drives other beer bloggers, but what drives me is the desire to communicate, to give a damn, to enthuse and inspire. I’m happy if I can string enough words together to make sense, and convey something about what I think, and why I think it.”
“Most beer bloggers review beers, beer places, and events. Some post press releases. My beer blog is about my lifestyle with beer. I snap pictures and jot notes on what I’m drinking. I write about what it’s like to be a small business owner and a beer clerk at a retail shop in this big ol’ world of beer.” The author, Tiffany Adamowski, who also runs 99 Bottles bottleshop in Federal Way, WA, points to three main reasons in blogging: 3) For the sake of therapy 2) To pimp my beer and 1) To remember what I’ve drank.
Alan McLeod of the Ontario, Canada’s A Good Beer Blog says “I think I must be particularly entertaining in my bitchiness by that standard as I don’t think I am an evangelist for anything. I do not write about crap beers all that much but I also do not post all that many beer reviews. I look at The (One and Only True) Beer Nut as one of the few who is writing consistently strong and credible beer reviews out there. Me, I am driven by a desire to write something five or six times a week. I have done that for almost nine years. I like samples and I like ads but I think I really like writing. I like readers whose existence I track via stats on Twitter, Google Reader and the comments on this blog.”
So there you have it. Quite a roundup. Lots of commonalities and dissimilarities amongst beer bloggers and why we elect to write and post about beer. Thanks to all who chimed in and took the time to share their stories. Sorry if we missed anyone here. If so, leave a comment below.
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This post was written by Angelo on April 12, 2012