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What’s the future of beer blogging anyway? 

While Honest Pint is out this week, Matt Osgood of is filling in with a column on the upcoming Beer Bloggers’ Conference and the future of beer blogging.

I don’t like the term “blogger.” As a one-time student of “serious” journalism, I think the word tends to marginalize the role people like me—and many others—play in everyday reporting.

“I operate a website that focuses on beer” sounds much more credible than “I have a beer blog.” Beer is a social undertaking, too, and when most people of a certain age think of blogs, they think about people living in their parents’ basement, hammering away at “the internet machine” in a dirty t-shirt. I’m pretty sure my own mom thinks Review Brews is essentially a diary I keep under my mattress.

And so it’s worth mentioning that the 2013 Beer Bloggers’ Conference is this weekend, July 26-28, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers. A local beer pre-conference showcase, hosted by the Massachusetts Brewers Guild and yours truly, will be held on July 25 at The Kinsale Irish Pub & Restaurant.

Beer bloggers will descend on Boston to consume local beer and tweet about it, hashtags and all.

A conference about beer blogging calls—in my mind—for a subjective look at the role of a beer blogger/beer writer/beverage-minded journalist (I particularly like the last one). For this particular argument, I’m going to define a beer blogger as “an owner of/contributor to a medium that cultivates and helps to enhance the appreciation of the craft brewing community.”

Our paths, in places, mirror that of craft beer.

What was once seen as an unsubstantiated product (craft beer/online journalism) is now, perhaps, the vehicle starting to emerge in the side-view mirror of the bigger guys (big beer/“real” journalism).

Writers should strive to keep the movement, whatever the cause, going forward. We should be introducing our growing audiences to something they haven’t seen from traditional news outlets. That philosophy should be at the heart of every entry on our blogs. We should strive to write something from an angle that no one else has/wants to take. There are people doing a great job covering the local beer scene in a different, interesting way.

One of them writes Honest Pint.

A professor once told me the key to journalistic success is to remember that “every story matters to someone.” We need to do this with our beer writing. Tell the story. What/who inspired the beer? What combination of ingredients made this beer? Who are the brewers? What are their stories? What are their successes and failures? The best part about reading the sports page is rarely the box scores; it’s the human-interest piece on the unknown lefty on D2. Life isn’t about statistics or ratings.

It’s about the stories that bind us all together and we have, as beer bloggers, a tremendous opportunity to tell the stories of people who brew something we all love so much that we chose to write about it.

The Portsmouth, N.H.-based Seacoast Bev Lab’s Monday night podcast is equal parts thought-provoking and entertaining, locally focused and far-reaching. Tune in for brewer interviews and lively conversations about everything craft beer. [@SeacoastBevLab.]

Carla Companion, aka The Beer Babe, has been beer blogging since ’07 and covers the Maine beer scene through her blog, the Portland Press Herald, and her entertaining tweets. [@beerbabe.]

Former Boston resident Em’s beer review comics make you, well, actually want to read beer reviews. They’re clever, cute, and a good way to pick up new beer recommendations. [@PintsandPanels.]




  2. Allan Wright Allan Wright says:

    Matt, you have a good take on this. I agree with the concept that “online beer journalist” implies a sort of serious approach to writing about beer. This is what you will find we encourage at the Beer Bloggers Conference.

    On the other hand, it is interesting that although the term “blogger” has a negative connotation to some people, that doesn’t actually represent the reality of the situation for most blogs. In other words, while some people do have a negative view of the term “blogger”, that is more about their view than about blogs themselves. So bloggers have been a victim of the term.

    One way to deal with this is not to call yourself a beer blogger. Another method is to proudly embrace the fact that you write about beer on the internet in a blog format. Many bloggers fall on each side.

    We choose to use the term “Citizen Beer Blogger”, which specifically relates to those bloggers not writing on behalf of a company but also, somehow, has a nice ring to it. :)

    Enjoy the conference,


  3. The Dude The Dude says:

    Sorry I won’t make it again this year. Oops.