I like being a member of the Guild and would like to remain a member. For the sake of an annual membership fee of £40 it brings many privileges for the beer writer.
As a member one receives many invitations to launch events, books to review and sometimes beer simply lands on one's doorstep. The camaraderie among members is excellent particularly given the fact that the competition for any professional rather than not-for-profit work is strong.
The annual awards dinner has become the industry event of the year and there are other Guild events during each year designed to either improve one's writing standards or extend beer knowledge.
I have been a member for a while, since the days when the learned scribes sneered over their quills at those who wrote online and for fun rather than food. I secured an invitation to join not for my blogging efforts but rather that I had some sort of overall responsibility for London Drinker magazine (circulation 60,000+) as CAMRA's chair of London branches committee.
Membership has since opened up to all of the country's beer media experts - journalists, authors, producers, cartoonists, web designers, photographers, illustrators or PR people and, dare I suggest, bloggers - "all share one thing in common, a love of beer and a desire to see its virtues communicated more effectively."
Indeed, membership is now open to anyone who can show that they strive to meet the Guild's aims : "The British Guild of Beer Writers exists to improve standards of beer and pub communicating and to extend the public knowledge of, interest in, and support for, beer and pubs."
I want to satisfy that requirement rather than be seen as a hanger on, a leech, a fanboy, freeloader or someone who would attend the opening of an envelope (which I would).
Membership has recently changed to include entry level Associate membership maturing to Full membership as any new writer builds experience and a body of work.
Although I have full membership as an existing member, I am keen to be seen as a full member and fully contribute to the system that rewards me so richly in the way of improved beer knowledge and appreciation.
All Hail the Guild !