The Session #62: What Drives Beer Bloggers?

The Session - Beer Blogging Friday provides 10 reasons as to why to start a blog. #1 on the list is “To express your thoughts and opinions.” With Brewpublic, we seldom delve into the editorial angle of things. We are more along the lines of points #2 and #3: “To market or promote something” and “to help people.” With Brewpublic we feature a dedicated events calendar that allows readers to learn about what is happening so that those who possess an interest in craft beer in Oregon know what is up. Further,within our main content page, the goal is to inform enthusiasts and those interested in beer and to spread the word on new breweries, brands, and beer styles. We look to inspire professionals and amateurs alike to furthering their creativity and continue their education of the craft beer world around them. Beer and SciFi blogger Eric Steen at BBC '10

Jason Wallace of Portland Beer & Music blog (left) with Charles Culp of An Ear For Beer blogAre all blogs like this? No. Some bloggers out there, unfortunately are far more lured by the narcissistic reasons behind blogging. Some sadly even use their blog’s platform to criticize and rate others’ work as a critic. Penning, er, keying your 2 cents on what is good and what is just versus what is bad and troubled as you see it, we feel detracts from the struggle that craft beer culture is still looking to overcome. After all, craft beer only represents about 5% of the entire beer consumed in our country. So why utilize a blog to belittle others who are with us in obtaining our ultimate goal – proliferating and evangelizing craft beer? This being said, constructive criticism is always an important element of the general betterment of craft beer, but grandstanding on a blog at the expense of others really doesn’t help matters. It only shines a negative light on yourself and at best fosters the wrong kind of attention. Sure people might enjoy watching TMZ or reading The Enquirer, but is this taste you want your blog to leave in readers’ mouths? Maybe when craft beer is the mainstream and the giant multinational breweries are squandered will there be more reason to finger point at craft beer, but even then we think not. But is this happening any time soon in our world? For now, let’s band together and focus on the positive and try to impact positive change in ways that serve the greater good. After all, a rising tide raises all boats.

We vs. I, and getting more personal about what drives me to blog.

Angelo De Ieso

In another light, and to be perfectly honest, running a beer blog allows for an outlet to discuss something that I feel impassioned about and to provide a forum for others who wish to contribute to do the same. That being said, it is not a selfless undertaking, no. Blogging does give the blogger, no matter the blog, an avenue to be heard, seen, read. Thus, there is a bit of a narcissistic (if that is what you wanna call it) drive behind any writer and his or her writing. To say that I am not concerned with getting mentions, re-posts, links, or seeing a post garner a healthy bit of traffic would be a lie. This might just tie into the “narcissist” in me that seeks out validation for my work; the fruits of my labors if you will. And, yes, running a beer blog, one like Brewpublic that has what I consider to have decent readership, has afforded me the luxury of developing various friendships and “ins” in the craft beer world. Getting invited to media tastings, behind the scenes tastings, and being able to actually know some of the most talented, generous, and like-minded folks in the craft brewing world, for me personally, has been one of the greatest rewards for being a beer blogger.

Free beer? That’s nice. The first time a free beer sample was provided to me for writing about beer felt like it might as well have been a big pile of money for some people. It was liquid validation for that which I was and still am devoted to doing. I must admit that there has been many a times, like after a night of a bit too much drinking, that I have considered giving it all up and stepping away from this blog. It has lead me to question whether I am running a craft beer blog or it is running me. But every time I get to the threshold of checking in/checking out, I am always lured back by someone or something that reminds me why I am here doing this in the first place. A pat on the back, some kind words from a friend in the industry to let me know that what I do matters to her and that it is an important, if only small part of the day.

I credit this beer blog for many great things that have happened in my life. Were it not for Brewpublic, I might not have built and maintained some of the most important relationships in my life. Granted, there is a real world element that couples with the virtual world of the blogosphere, but if I am really honest with myself, I would not have met my wife, who is also an avid beer blogger, if it wasn’t for Brewpublic. So, to really answer my own title question here, there has to be a heady multidimensional introspection that is embarked upon. It’s a simple question but with no simple snap of the fingers answer if I am to answer it with thoroughness and complete honesty. That’s some pretty heavy stuff considering we’re talking about beer blogging after all, eh.

Mind the somewhat flow-of-consciousness style to this post. Not sure you’ll see too many more of the like here on this site, but perhaps this phantasmagorical approach is some kind of therapy. Or it might just be over-thinking. Or it… you get the point. What drives beer bloggers? Really. Publican Jim Parker, my friend and someone who I respect and admire greatly, made a statement once that, and I am paraphrasing here, “In Portland if you throw a rock at a tree, ten beer bloggers fall out.” This seems the case. There are a lot of beer bloggers in Portland and around the Pacific Northwest. This, to me, is likely due to the fact that craft beer carries so much weight ’round here and is in and of itself a culture of prominence that is unique to these parts. Whatever it is that you blog about, blogging and writing and written expression is an outlet that gives us purpose. Event if only a small group of our friends or families read what we have to write. Even if no one else reads. The majority of writing I embark upon is nothing like what you will find on Brewpublic. I run other blogs that I do not share as readily with people. I have been known to keep a diary and several books of poetry and prose. These things to me are more personal, because, believe it or not, there is a lot more to who I am than craft beer. Okay, so that might not be true… joke. Seriously, no I am serious. But seriously…

Hey beer bloggers, why do you blog about beer?