Beer blogging has gone from a hobby to a significant part of the craft beer industry.
Each year, this growing group of the industry gathers in a craft beer hot spot in the country for the Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference. It’s a weekend of writing, education, and, of course, beer drinking.
This year’s conference takes place in Loudon County, Va from August 9-12. Loudon County is located just outside of Washington D.C., and while it is known as “D.C.’s Wine Country,” it also boasts more than 20 breweries.
This year, Sara is sending me to the Beer Bloggers Conference — it’ll be my first time to a conference like this.
Any time I travel, I always make sure I am the most prepared. I start packing days in advance, look up multiple routes to get there, and make sure I know the destination as well as I can before arrival.
Since the boss has been to a couple of these, I sat down and talked with her about the best ways to get the most out of my first Beer Bloggers Conference.
Scope it out
Every year BBC brings together the most influential people in craft beer. This year’s conference headliner is Dogfish Head’s Sam Caligione. It also will include possibly the biggest #AskDogfish ever.
But, along with the headliner and other speakers, the weekend also includes breakout sessions. Sara told me to check these out in advance to find what would benefit me the most.
I am eager to learn tips and tricks during the podcasting session from people who have mastered the skill.
Network, chat, and share
Sara stressed networking. She said that the conference is an excellent opportunity to meet people from across the country that do what we do, and that’s it something that I need to embrace.
#BBC18 includes a variety of ways to network beyond the structured events. Sara advised that I try to sit at a different table for every event. This seems small, but it’s not something I would consciously seek out if she hadn’t made it a point.
Of course, there’s no better way to meet and network than by sharing a beer. You can bet I’ll be prepped with a bunch of my favorite #pabeer to share with the masses.
What I should take away
Experiencing a new beer city always has new lessons to offer beer writers. It’s exciting to see how different parts of the country celebrate their craft beer community.
Sara wants me to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from people who do what we do and bring back ways we can enhance our beer stories.
I’m always looking for new ways to approach a story and get creative on social media, and a weekend like this will go a long way to improve my writing.
She also pointed out something else on why BBC is so important not only to beer writers but the craft beer industry as a whole.
I’ll let her do the talking on this one.
“Breweries, in my experience, don’t seem to be consistently well-covered by traditional media, so it’s important that bloggers who can focus on beer and serve as a bridge between the industry and the community have a means to discuss and learn more about the industry.”
I can’t wait to get down there. It’s going to be an awesome experience.
I’ve already laid out some of what I’m looking forward to, but there is so much more, like the Live Beer Blogging session.
Live Beer Blogging is a staple of BBC. It’s a quick review of 10 beers in 50 minutes. This not only lets writers hone their reviewing skills, but it also helps brewers distill their message.
Sara’s tips on Live Beer Blogging will allow me to get the most out of this. She said to make sure to know all the hashtags and handles of the breweries. (Hello, notes app.) And, that I should follow all the breweries I can before getting into the sampling.
Also, apparently some breweries don’t adhere to the “one beer” rule, so pace and moderation were another of the boss’s tips.
Like any beer trip, I also am itching to check out multiple breweries. I love walking into a brewery in a new city. It’s not all about the beer, but it’s about the culture of the brewery as well.
I’ll take all these tips and tricks from the boss with me to get the most out of this weekend that I can.
Expect a post once I get back all about Loudon County, and what it has to offer for all you beer trekkers out there.