Colorado Beer Bloggers

There are approximately 400 “citizen” beer bloggers in North America, those not associated with a brewery, publication, or other business. Colorado has more than its fair share, with 14 active citizen beer bloggers (and another seven who write for the media.)

Two days ago I met with six of these bloggers at the Oskar Blues brewpub and brewery in Longmont, Colorado. We had several goals for the meeting. One was to provide a view into the new Oskar Blues Longmont brew pub. A second was to let the bloggers meet each other and start the process of making a more solid Colorado beer blogger community. A third was to discuss how we might jointly promote the upcoming Beer Bloggers Conference.

Chad, the marketing guy at Oskar Blues, provided a nice array of beers and food for the group, we were able to tour the brewery, and we even ran across the owner, Dale. See the Jenn and Beer and Ales for All blog writeups for complete information. While Oskar Blues is most famous for its premium canned beer, I was most impressed with the incredible enthusiasm the company has, above everything, for producing good beer. First goal achieved.

I think the six bloggers in attendance also had a great time meeting each other. Some were relatively new to beer blogging and others were three-year veterans. We had traditional written word bloggers, an audio blogger, and two video bloggers. Most importantly, though, everyone seemed to realize they are in this together and it helps to know others who are home, perhaps late at night, struggling through the same issues as you.

Finally, we discussed the upcoming Beer Bloggers Conference. We all agreed the conference will be good for beer bloggers and good for the Colorado beer industry. I asked for and received feedback on keynote speakers (more info coming soon). We talked about promoting the conference to beer bloggers across the nation (don’t be surprise if one of these Colorado bloggers contacts you), speaking to other bloggers about the conference while at the Great American Beer Festival, and having a Virtual Colorado Beer Tasting, which is on our agenda.

Lessons from the weekend? If you sometimes feel alone or discouraged as a beer blogger, remember you have others you can rely on. If you have not rallied with your local beer bloggers, you should consider it so everyone has a support group. And if you are not yet signed up for the November 5-7 Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder, now is the time!

Five Lessons From the Wine Bloggers Conference

We at Zephyr Adventures just finished running the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference. 300 bloggers and others involved in online media in the wine world gathered in Walla Walla, Washington. This was the third annual conference. While I know wine is not beer, wineries are not breweries, and wine bloggers are not beer bloggers, it would be pure head-in-the-sand avoidance not to take away a few thoughts for the upcoming Beer Bloggers Conference. Here are five – replace the word “wine” for “beer” and this might be your crystal ball.

1. Wineries Believe in Wine Bloggers: I estimated last night that around 1800 bottles of wine were opened this weekend by wineries. We had 14 wineries and wine associations pouring wine as Premier Sponsors, two dinner sponsors, two After Hours party sponsors, one lunch sponsor, and another 30 or so local wineries participating in a Saturday morning field trip. Wineries believe in the power of bloggers to influence consumers.

2. Making Money – Offline – From Wine Blogging: We learned loud and clear at the first Wine Bloggers Conference that most bloggers do not make more than pocket change from their blog and probably never will. However, there have been some highly public instances of wineries hiring bloggers to run their social media marketing. There were winery representatives at the conference specifically to scout out potential employees. In addition, one key wine blogger expressed his intent to move from blogging to starting his own winery. Very cool.

3. Live Wine Blogging Kicks Hiney: Wow. Our featured Live Wine Blogging session is awesome. This year we had two different sessions, one for white and one for red wines. The format is sort of like speed dating where 25 wineries each have five minutes to pour, talk, and answer questions for one table of bloggers before rotating to the next table for a total of 12 rounds. Bloggers were writing, Tweets were flying, and wineries were loving the access to educated, passionate people who were publicizing their views.

4. Walla Walla Loves Wine Bloggers and Wine Bloggers Love Walla Walla: We held the first WBC in Sonoma County and the second in Napa and Sonoma. This year we moved the conference and it was a huge success. The Walla Walla community rolled out the carpet and our reception was awesome. In turn, I heard only fantastic comments from bloggers about the town and the local wine community. Next year we are on to Charlottesville, Virginia. Moving the conference from year to year is a powerful idea that lets everyone win.

5. You Don’t Want to Miss the next Wine (Beer) Bloggers Conference: Every conference gets a little better and attendees at the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference raved about the food, the wines, the interaction, and the education. We had 10 people sign up for the 2011 conference, 13 months out, within four hours of finishing the 2010 conference. There are many reasons people might hesitate in signing up for the first-ever Beer Bloggers Conference, including budget, time constraints, and simply a wait-and-see attitude. Don’t wait.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know.

Twitter and Ashley the Beer Wench

You might have already heard we have selected Ashley Routson, aka The Beer Wench, to be the Chief Blogger of the conference. Ashley blogs at her site, Drink With the Wench, as well as for Mutineer Magazine. Ashley is a dedicated and influential beer blogger who has an excellent feature on her blog called The Beer Blogger Interview Series. If you want to know a little about your fellow bloggers before attending the conference, check it out.

As the conference’s Chief Blogger, Ashley will have some official duties such as giving the opening welcome and the final closing comments. She’ll also be one of our sounding boards when we are making decisions that affect you, the participant beer bloggers.

In addition, we are proud to announce that Ashley will be managing the Twitter process for the 2010 Beer Bloggers Conference. We have set up the Twitter account @beerbloggers and Ashley will be Tweeting and Retweeting about the conference. So sign up to follow her and please use the hash tag #BBC10 on all your Tweets about the conference!

Why You Should Attend the Beer Bloggers Conference

We already have a dozen “early adopters” registered for the first-ever International Beer Bloggers & Online Media Conference, scheduled for November 5-7 in Boulder, Colorado. Not bad considering we just announced it a few days ago. We have also received a large number of responses from people who are considering¬† attending but haven’t yet made up their minds. Thus, three great reasons to register for the BBC:

1. You don’t want to miss out. The conference is limited to 150 people and will likely sell out. Why do we predict this? Primarily because the first-ever Wine Bloggers Conference, back in 2008, was also an unknown but sold out. In fact, we limited the conference to 150 people, increased it to eventually allow in 183 participants, and sadly had to turn away another 21. Once the momentum got going, registrations happened fast and we think the same will happen with the Beer Bloggers Conference.

2. You will have an outstanding experience. Again referring to the Wine Bloggers Conference, we can safely predict you’ll have an awesome experience. 83% of participants at that first Wine Bloggers Conference rated their experience Very Good or Outstanding and 99% rated it as a positive experience. (One person rated it “fair” – we are not sure why.) As one attendee said “I have been to hundreds of conferences for work, ed and play—I can safely say yours was one of the best organized I have ever been to!¬† Kudos to you all!” And since we at Zephyr Adventures have now had three years of experience running conferences for bloggers, the first-ever Beer Bloggers Conference should be even better.

3. The content will be excellent. We have received many inquires about the content and already about 10 suggestions for good speakers and subjects. We can’t tell you yet what the exact content will be because we will first hold a survey of registrants to let those folks vote on which subjects they want to learn about. We can give you a few examples of potential topics: how to monetize your blog, using WordPress more efficiently, how beer blogging differs in Europe versus North America, how to increase your blog’s readership, how social media ties in to search engine optimization, using video in your blog, and how to interview a beer industry subject. We’ll also have some great keynote speakers from the beer industry, beer press, and/or from among your fellow bloggers. This conference is about having fun and meeting people but it is also about learning.

To find out more, peruse this site, read our first blog entry announcing the conference, or sign up for the Beer Blog News alerts on the right.

The Worlds’ First Beer Bloggers Conference

We are proud to announce the world’s first Beer Bloggers & Social Media Conference. Scheduled for November 5-7, 2010 in Boulder, Colorado, the conference will bring together an estimated 150 beer bloggers and others involved with online and social media in the beer industry.

The conference will include excellent dinners, delicious beer tastings, interesting speakers, and outstanding academic sessions designed to help beer bloggers improve their trade. We have already lined up some serious support including the Boulder Beer Company and Oskar Blues Brewery as our two dinner sponsors, Draft Magazine to help promote the conference, and the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Colorado Brewers Guild. The host hotel is the Boulder Marriott. More sponsors will be announced soon.

If you are serious about being or becoming a beer blogger, this is the place to be. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet your fellow bloggers and to have an impact on how beer blogging develops.

We expect this conference to sell out, so reserve your space today. If you have questions, please contact us at info @ beerbloggersconference dot org or leave a comment on this blog. Please also sign up to receive updates of this site from Feedburner so you can keep abreast of future happenings. We hope to see you in November in Boulder!