Friday, August 2, 2013

Final day of the Beer Blogger Conference

Putting the "blogger" in the educational content, the last day of the conference kicked off with 10 different blogger attendees sharing five-minute presentations on the work they do, be it with a specific audience, using a special tool, or working with public or private partner organizations. Louisiana's own Jay Ducote of Bite & Booze fame presented on his work with the state travel authority, LouisianaTravel.com, by providing the content for their LA Beer Trail page and filming a video of Louisiana's breweries. There were also presentations on generating revenue from blogging (hint: really not so much) and one I was super excited about, an introduction to a new beer app called Brewhorn. Brewhorn is an app that helps beer drinkers figure out what they would like to drink based on their preferences and location. I think it will really help people new to craft beer or curious in expanding their craft beer horizons in a way that is respectful to the consumer's own palate. Also discussed: "boutique" beer events (100 people or less) and managing online content with multiple contributors. And lots of other stuff! It was a great idea. Would love to see this done both days, if possible.


Next up, John Holl and Norm Miller presented on "Standing Out in a Crowd By Blogging Local." As John and Norm talked about how important it was to find your voice and understand who you are writing for and why, I had a bit of a Twitter epiphany:








After Holl and Miller gave me much food for thought, the final keynote speaker, Ray Daniels from Cicerone spoke to us. He did a great presentation, much different than what I'd imagined he'd do. Instead of discussing the Cicerone program (which is a way of evaluating beer knowledge, like a beer sommelier) he talked about how to be better writers and bloggers, drawing on his own experience and what he learned from the late, great beer writer Michael Jackson. Jackson, according to Daniels, liked to describe the experience of the beer - the people who made it, the place it was made, the story behind it, the atmosphere in which it was drunk. Jackson described rather than decided for the reader. Really describe the flavor of the beer. "Hoppy" and "bitter" are not useful descriptors.



He also shared his rule of thumb for having a proper amount of taps for the amount of business a bar has: "Ray's Rule: you shouldn't have more taps than you have customers at 8pm on a Tuesday night."

General writing tips as well, like avoiding old press releases and "mystery quotes." Go to the source directly, and be focused and prepared for interviews. Fact check everything. You know, the basics. It might sound dry and/or obvious, but it was great to focus on better blogging/writing practices.

And with that, the conference was over! I collected my things and wandered for several blocks to find a cab so I could meet a good friend out in Somerville at Redbones, one of my favorite beer haunts from back in the day when I lived in the area. Not surprisingly, two other bloggers found their way over there as well! Drank beer and ate chicken fried chicken and had a wonderful time.





Although that was the end of the conference, it wasn't the end of my Boston area adventures. Tune in next week to read about my time at Cambridge Brewing Company, Lord Hobo, and Night Shift Brewing!

To read the rest of my adventures, you can go to these blog posts:

Day 1: Gloucester and Maine
Day 2: New Hampshire and Sam Adams
Day 3, part I: educational presentations and beer pairing lunch
Day 3, part II: Speed Blogging and Harpoon

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