And the Winner of the NBWA Best Beer Writing Contest Is…

July 22nd, 2014 · From the Organizers

nbwa_logo

The inaugural Best Beer Writing Contest, sponsored by the National Beer Wholesalers Association, has concluded and the winner determined! More than 60 beer bloggers from across the country participated in the Best Beer Writing Contest. They were tasked with writing about the topic: America’s Beer Renaissance: Consumer Choice and Variety in the U.S. Beer Market. While each writer tackled the same subject, each entry offered a unique perspective on the industry based on individual, personal experiences.

Five finalists were chosen by the NBWA from the submissions posted on the Beer Bloggers Conference website based on the following criteria:

  • Strong writing that is both educational and entertaining
  • Unique and insightful point of view
  • Demonstration of a working understanding of the beer business
  • Sharing of real-life examples from the writer’s perspective
  • Incorporation of some form of supporting audiovisual element, such as original photography or video

From among the five finalists – including writers for Growler Fills, The Roaming Pint, Microbrews USA, All the Brews Fit to Pint and 99 Bottles – the winner of the contest was determined by a public vote. Nearly 1,000 votes were cast! The competition to determine the winner was fierce and the five finalists competed neck and neck in the public vote. Drumroll please……

2014 Best Beer Writing Contest Winner

David Bardallis, founder and author of the blog, “All The Brews Fit To Pint” with his submission, “Signs Point to Continued Growth in the U.S. Beer Market – and in Beer Writing.”

Congratulations, David!

As this year’s Best Beer Writing Contest Winner, David is the recipient of waived registration to the Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego this August 22-24, as well as airfare, registration, and lodging for him and a guest at the NBWA’s 77th Annual Convention in New Orleans, LA, from September 28-October 1, 2014. The four finalists in the contest also receive waived registration by the NBWA for their participation in the competition.

Kathleen Joyce, Communications Director for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, noted:

Each contest entry made clear that, without a doubt, it is an exciting time to be a beer lover! The U.S. is truly experiencing a beer industry renaissance. This period of exploration and growth in the beer industry is a direct response to consumers growing in sophistication, brewers and importers working to make products to meet those needs, and independent distributors working with licensed retailers to meet the demands of today’s consumer.

Joyce also thanked all participants in the 2014 Best Beer Writing Contest for helping to educate consumers about all of the great beers available in today’s market.

Congratulations once again to David – we look forward to reading more of your great writing as you report on your experiences interacting with beer distributors and other members of the industry at NBWA’s convention in New Orleans!

About the NBWA

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributors, whose 130,000 employees are part of an effective system that provides tremendous variety to consumers; generates healthy competition; helps brewers and importers of all sizes grow; and balances a robust marketplace with healthy safety. Follow NBWA on Twitter at @NBWABeer or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NBWABeer.

 

 

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2014 Beer Bloggers Conference – Coming Up This August in San Diego

July 18th, 2014 · From the Organizers

The Woodstock Festival of 1969 represented the summer of love with it’s iconic musical and cultural convergence.   The 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference this August 23-24 in San Diego, CA represents a love of a different kind:  for beer.

Proclaimed by Men’s Magazine as the “Best Beer City in America” in 2010 by author, Adam Elder, San Diego is a beer-lover’s paradise.  Warm summer days + ample beach opportunities + laid-back California style + 87 licensed craft breweries and brewpubs as of April, 2014 = good times.  There is no doubt that with the uptick in the craft beer scene and interest in beer, in general, in the U.S. that other cities will compete for the title of “Best Beer City in America” in years to come.  Keeping in the present, the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference converges on the city of San Diego this coming August 23-24 and we look forward to “talking beer” with the new media world of beer bloggers in this fabulous, beer-forward city.

Zephyr Adventures recently wrapped up the successful and well received European Beer Bloggers Conference in Dublin, Ireland.  We know beer! Fashioned similarly to the EBBC programming, the upcoming American Beer Bloggers Conference will feature content programming that is relevant to the growing new media niche of beer blogging as well as sponsored lunches, dinners, tastings, and the much anticipated pre-conference excursion on Thursday, August 21 through the L.A. beer scene.  There is much to learn at this year’s BBC in San Diego and, of course, many beers to taste, breweries to be introduced to, principals to meet, and camaraderie to happen amongst BBC attendees.

A quick recap of the Agenda for the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego:

 

  • All sessions will be held at the Marriott Mission Valley hotel unless indicated.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 

Pre-Conference Excursion to Los Angeles

3:00 PM           Pre-conference excursion to L.A.  We will visit Golden Road Brewery, Angel City Brewing, and The Bruery, followed by an evening pub crawl to Smog City Brewing and Monkish Brewing.  The cost is $40 for Citizen Beer Bloggers and $80 for both Industry Bloggers and Non-Blogger Participants. For detailed information and to register, go to this blog post.  The pre-conference tour ends in San Diego at the conference hotel, the Marriott Mission Valley.

Friday, August 22, 2014

12:00 PM         Registration & Opening Lunch hosted by Reyes Beverage Group
1:30 PM            Trade Show
3:00 PM           Conference Opening
3:10 PM            Introduction by Julia Herz of the Brewers Association
3:40 PM            Panel of San Diego Craft Brewers
4:50 PM            Social Media Best Practices
6:00PM            Depart hotel for Karl Strauss Brewing Company
9:00 PM           Evening Party with Lagunitas Brewing Company

Saturday, August 23, 2014
9:30  AM          Breakout Sessions

  • Beer Blog Photography
  • Supercharging your Blogging with WordPress.com

10:40 AM         Breakout Sessions

  • Beer Blog Videography
  • Beer Journalism Ethics

11:45 PM          Depart for lunch at Yard House (return 1:45 PM)
2:05  PM          Keynote Speech – Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada
2:50 PM           Content to be announced
3:45 PM           Live Beer Blogging
5:00 PM          Depart hotel for Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens
8:00 PM          Beer Social – integrate all forms of social media with beer tasting (back at hotel) with

Sunday, August 24, 2014
9:30 AM            Blogger Reports – Five-Minute Reports from Eight Bloggers
10:20 AM          Marketing in the Beer Industry
11:25 AM           Cooperative Blogging Panel
12:20 PM          Wrap-up
12:30 PM          Conference Finish

REGISTRATION

The Conference + the Pre-Conference Excursion through Los Angeles

  • If you are already registered for the conference, you can click on this link to register for the pre-conference excursion.
  • If you are NOT already registered for the conference, you can click on this link to register for both the conference and the pre-conference excursion.  This link also directs you to just sign up for the conference and not the pre-conference excursion through L.A.

LOGISTICS

The conference host hotel, the Mission Marriott Valley, is 8 miles from the San Diego Hotel.  They are offering the discounted price of $119 for beer blogger rooms.  The hotel is nicely located on the trolley line with connections to all of San Diego’s highlights.   Make your reservations online or by calling 877.622.3056.  The hotel does not have an airport shuttle.  Have no fear:  there are a variety of easy transportation options.

  • Click on this blog post to read more about conference logistics including transportation options and the hotel.

 

QUESTIONS

Is there anything we can answer directly?  Please don’t hesitate to reach out:

EMAIL:  info@beerbloggersconference.org

GETTING SOCIAL

The Wine Bloggers Conference with the #WBC14 hashtag recently trended #2 in the wine category for 2 days!!  Let’s start using #BBC14 and see if we can outdo the wine bloggers conference!  #1 sounds so good….

#BBC14

TWITTER HANDLE:  @beerbloggers

 

 

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Good Times in Dublin at EBBC14

July 3rd, 2014 · From the Organizers

The 4th annual European Beer Bloggers Conference concluded last weekend in Dublin. This was the first year that the conference left the UK, and delegates from around Europe jumped at the chance to convene in Ireland to learn about the Irish Craft Beer scene, gain new insights into blogging and social media, and network.

Thursday – Pub Crawl

Festivities kicked off Thursday night with a pub crawl organized and led by Reuben Gray of The Tale of the Ale.

The #TrailofAle pub crawl, as it was dubbed, visited several local pubs that featured a selection of craft beer. Over 30 attendees of the conference participated, and each location we visited was already bustling and/or overflowing with people so it was a boisterous, loud, and very fun event!

If you’re from the US, you may naturally associate Ireland with beer and assume that craft beer abounds. The reality is quite opposite of that, so these bars are a few of only a handful in the area that has a good selection.

Craft Beer in Ireland is just starting to gain some traction in the market place, and the country is poised to enjoy its own craft beer revolution here in the years to come. It is a very exciting time to be in Ireland and involved in Craft Beer!

We want to extend a thank you to the establishments who welcomed our group – treating us with fine beer and some tasty treats!

 

Conference Venue

With the help of Reuben Gray, who assisted us in many aspects to bringing #EBBC14 to Dublin, the conference took place at The Church. As the name suggest, The Church is indeed an old church in Dublin’s City Center area that has been converted into a gorgeous restaurant, bar, and event center. Our group took over the Cellar and Tower Bar area of the venue for the two days, and it was the perfect setting.

In addition to delicious food and a perfect atmosphere for a beer bloggers conference, the staff at The Church was amazing. They were accommodating, gracious, and flexible, and we are so grateful to have been able to have the EBBC14 hosted there.

 

Friday – Conference Day 1

 

Things kicked off on Friday mid-day with an expo featuring beers from our sponsors. This was a great chance for introductions, reunions, and to get a glimpse into the Irish Craft Beer scene.

There was a lot of beer poured!

After the expo we all gathered into the Cellar Bar and Declan Moore, an Irish archaeologist who focuses on ancient brewing techniques, got us started with a delightful and personal presentation on the history of beer vis-a-vie Ireland. We learned about recent discoveries and several hypotheses he and his colleagues have come to as it pertains to ancient brewing techniques in Ireland and brewing in Africa.

 

 

Friday’s content was all geared towards beer and Ireland, and we moved right into the next session presented comparing and contrasting bottled beer to canned beer in Ireland and keg beer to cask beer. James Winans of the Vanguard Beer Collective spoke about the bottle/can aspect and Brian Short of the Brown Paper Bag Project spoke about cask and keg.

Being from the US where canning is more and more common, practical, and cost effective, it was a revelation to learn that things are more complex in Ireland. While it seems that there is certainly a desire from the industry to move towards canning, they are logistically prohibited and cost prohibited from doing so because the industry is just still so small. 

Concluding our sessions on Friday was a panel of Irish Craft Brewers. Three generations of brewers offered their insights, philosophies, and dreams for the industry. Led by Reuben Gray, the panel consisted of Paul O’Connor from Trouble Brewing, Sarah Roarty from N17, and Cathal O’Donoghue from Rascals Brewing.

 

 

 

Guinness & Smithwicks

After a brief break, we departed by foot and enjoyed a guided tour as we made our way to St. James Gate — the gates to Guinness!! The comparison to Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was overheard several times as we enjoyed a private and priveledged look behind the curtain at this 60 acre historic brewing facility. Our tour guide of the grounds? No other than Master Brewer, Fergal Murray! He introduced us to his team of lead brewers and granted us the first look (by outsiders) of their fourth brewhouse, which is still under construction!

 

We were asked not to photograph the new facility, so I leave you with these three words: huge, shiny, and modern. After the sneak peak tour, we made our way to the Guinness Storehouse where we were treated like rock stars by hosts Guinness and Smithwicks. An assortment of stations satiated our hungry group as we noshed on oysters, burgers, fish & chips, and ribs. All this paired with a variety of ales from Smithwicks (pronounced Smithicks) and Guinness.

The space was beautiful, our hosts fun, and our time here was most enjoyable. We all also had the opportunity to learn how to pour a perfect pint of Guinness!

 

 

Pilsner Urquell After Party

Feeling full and replete, we powered on. After we departed Guinness, we jumped on buses and were whisked away by Pilsner Urquell for an evening of unfiltered bliss. Master Brewer Vaclav Berka of Pilsner Urquell is a favorite of the EBBC and has been to all four of our conferences. He and his team hosted us for a night of bar hopping and fun in downtown Dublin, and we all got our first conference sips of unfiltered Pilsner Urquell from cask.

 

 

 

Saturday – Conference Day 2

Given the late hour that most stayed out to, we were pleasantly surprised to see almost all attendees seated and ready for day 2 on time at 10am on Saturday! To reward the group for their dedication and punctuality, we kicked off the day’s session with an insider’s look into the Irish Craft Beer Industry by Dean McGuinness, Managing Director of Premier International Beers and got to taste an assortment of delicious Irish Craft Beer.

 

 

Next up, yours truly presented on Social Media. The intent of this session was not to give an overview or be too rudimentary, so I tried to stick to advanced tactics. If you need to reference the presentation, fill out the worksheet I provided, or get links to tools mentioned, click here.  

Pilsner Urquell BBC

After a few sessions, it was time to meet up again with Vaclav Berka and his team from Pilsner Urquell where they hosted us for a fantastic BBQ in the spacious patio area of The Church. Always the host, Vaclav made sure that there was enough food and beer to last us days if need be. It was a beautiful afternoon in Dublin, and it was the perfect break from being inside the conference.

 

 

 

After lunch, we all sat down to hear a presentation on Supercharging your Blog using WordPress. WordPress.com is a sponsor of the European Beer Bloggers Conference and they sent Derek Springer (a homebrewer and beer blogger himself) all the way from San Diego to give us this enlightening and informative talk on how to use WordPress most effectively.

I use WordPress A LOT and I learned so much from Derek’s talk. His presentation can be found here.

Last, but not least, was a session on using Video for your beer blog. This session was co-presented by Mhairi MacLeod of Lux and EBBC14 attendee Tomasz Kopyra of The Beer Guide PL.

Thomasz has attended the last 3 EBBCs and has been vlogging for 2 of them. He has already surpassed 4 million views on YouTube and is enjoying a tremendour amount of success. Thomasz shared some unique insights into what has worked for him with regard to video and beer blogging and surely inspired a few in the room to give video a go.

Mhairi has a great background in Craft Beer and now owns and runs a digital marketing company specializing in food and drink brands in the UK. She offered some really great tips for bloggers as it relates to video blogging and working with brands.

 

Beer Ireland Reception

After all that great content, it was then time to reward ourselves with more Irish Craft Beer! Beer Ireland put on a lovely reception for us where several micro producers came and shared samples of their beers with us.

 

 

 

Franciscan Well Dinner

After the Beer Ireland reception, it was then time to head into dinner hosted by Franciscan Well Brewery. Much like all of the meals and food we enjoyed this weekend, this dinner was over the top. Four courses were perfectly paired with various Franciscan Well offerings and by the time the sparkling (as in on-fire) cream puff towers arrived for course three, our minds were all collectively blown.

 

As we sat digesting, we enjoyed a Keynote speech by Shane Long where it was a nice mix of personal experience and vision for Irish Craft Beer.

 

Carlow Brewing Co

The final event of EBBC14 was hosted by Carlow Brewing Company – maker of O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beer. The O’Hara’s flowed freely, music played, and many good conversations were had.

 

Thank you!

This tweet sums up everything pretty nicely…

Thank you to all who contributed to making EBBC14 a big success! We will be working hard over the next few months to secure the location and dates for next year’s conference, so stay tuned!

Please share the URLs to your conference blog posts in the comments below – we want to read every single one of them!

Cheers!

Some Stats

Matthieu Bacheley shared some insightful Twitter Stats from the weekend in this Tweet:

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EBBC14 Attendees & Sponsors Lists

June 26th, 2014 · From the Organizers

The 2014 European Beer Bloggers Conference kicks off tonight with a pub crawl around Dublin led by @TaleofAle, Reuben Gray. We meet at The Church at 18:45. My advice to attendees is to rest up today, hydrate, and get ready! The next 2 1/2 days are going to be busy, fun, and filled with amazing beer!

Conference activities kick off officially tomorrow, Friday, at 12:30. Click here for the full conference agenda.

We have updated the attendee list, which you can view here.

To one-click follow all with a Twitter account, follow our Twitter List of EBBC14 participants here.

Below is an easy to follow guide of the sponsors participating throughout the event

Molson Coors - @MolsonCoors

Blue Moon – @BlueMoonBrewCo

Franciscan Well – @FranciscanWell

Sharp’s – @SharpsBrewery

WordPress.com - @wordpressdotcom

Guinness - @GuinnessIreland

Smithwicks - @smithwicks

Pilsner Urquell - @pilsner_urquell

Carlow Brewing - @OHarasBeers

Beer Ireland – @BeerIreland

Let There Be Beer – @LetThereBeBeer

Vanguard Beer Collective – @VanguardBC

Galway Hooker@HookerBrewery

The Church (venue) – @TheChurch_ie

Thank you in advance for joining us here at the European Beer Bloggers Conference in thanking these very important supporters and sponsors of this unique event!

 

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