Saturday, 28 February 2015

Reasons to be (Beer) Blogging - Part 1 - The Beer Bloggers Conference

Well, here goes.  I am back in Blogshire and already feeling more worthy.  It is nearly three years since my last post and although there are plenty of reasons why I lapsed, there are even more reasons why I am seeking to re-engage and I'm hoping to elaborate on those in the coming days.  I am grateful to the 47 people who looked at my introductory post the other day and it will clearly be a long road back to the heady days of my prime (if indeed there ever were any).

Firstly, and it gives me no real pleasure to admit it, but I must confess that the true catalyst for starting up the blog again is the European Beer Bloggers Conference to be held in Brussels in August.

The early booking window is closing on 28 February, I am really keen to attend and without the blog the doors are pretty much closed.

The Beer Bloggers Conference is an initiative by Zephyr Adventures, a travel company based in the USA, and the first event was held in London in May 2011.  The 2-3 days of conference sprinkled with parties, pub crawls and beer tastings was predominantly great fun but also helped me see the influence that the beer blogger could have on the industry and really demonstrated to me the fact that breweries around the world were keen to build a better dialogue with influential consumers using the growing power of social media.

The second year conference was held in Leeds.  Just as much fun, enjoyed the conference part a little less, but a great social gathering.  2013 was held in Edinburgh and 2014 in Dublin both of which held less attraction for me being logistically more difficult to attend but I had also visited both cities in the recent past and I was less interested in the Scottish and Irish "Craft" scene (It's me fellas, not you !) - plus my blog had lapsed and I was out-of-the-game for a while, drinking less beer, staying in more and generally fed up.

Then it was announced that the 2015 event would be held in Brussels and my attention was pricked.  I am a Belgophile - love the country, love the beer and all that comes with it.  I visit (usually with Podge's Beer Tours) 2-3 times each year but have only scratched the surface of a small country.  Each visit brings more - usually in the way of beer appreciation and knowledge.

Take a look at the agenda, the additional excursions and the parties and pub crawls and I defy you not to want to be a part of it.  It has the makings of another memorable weekend and has the added bonus for me that I am back on the circuit feeling energised and bursting to go.

So there you are.  A little dull but a start.  Going mobile with Ipad and iPhone may have killed my blog but the 2015 Beer Bloggers Conference has provided a big enough stimulus to get going again.  The good thing about the conference is that it is not held until the end of August so there will be strong pressure to continue blogging for at least 6 month over which time I will hopefully start to get the hang again of what's hot and what's not.

My original intention was to make this a longer post as part of Boak & Bailey's #Beerylongreads project but I failed to remember how difficult and time consuming this game is so this will form part of a short series of "Reasons to be Blogging" posts over the next week or two.  I hope you will find something you recognise within.

Cheers all !

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Am I a beer writer ?

Does 140 characters count as beer writing ?  This is currently the extent of my efforts and has been for some time - aside from a one-off 1,000 word piece in the latest Chelmsford CAMRA magazine spelling out my views (half in jest) on CAMRA and "Craft".

There are at least half a dozen reasons why that has to change which I intend to elaborate upon once I determine that this all actually still works.

In the meantime, forewarned is forearmed, I'm back in the game !