It has been exactly two years to the day since I launched Montana Beer Finder. My original intention remains much intact, to share the what, when, where, and who of the Montana beer world. But a lot has happened in that time. My friend over at Growler Fills and I kicked off the annual Missoula Craft Beer Week; my book, Montana Beer, was released, then sold out, then got reprinted. And now Montana is on the verge of hitting the 50-brewery mark by the end of 2014.
Those are some of the big things, which are important. But it’s the little stuff that this blog, and other beer writers out there, thrives on. It’s the new corner bottle shop that opened. It’s that one keg that came and went in a flash at that one-bar-we-all-love. It’s the record sell-out brewfest that everyone attended but the real story was being able to meet with the brewers who brewed the beer. That’s what keeps at least this blog going.
Author (right) with Marcus Duffey at Great Northern Brewing Co.
Blogging/writing about beer is a labor of love, and with over 800 active Citizen Beer Bloggers in North America, that’s a lot of love going around. I dare say that the majority of these bloggers are not getting paid for what they do, and aside from a free pint or an “atta boy/girl” every once in a while, the perks are the self-satisfaction that you may have educated people about beer in some new way and that the craft brewing industry as a whole gets a slightly larger piece of the pie because you’ve inspired someone to give craft beer a try. And that’s plenty for most of us.
What the beer blogger understands, and benefits from, is his/her in medias res, being “in the midst of things.” Being neither brewery owner, sales rep, distributor, restaurateur, or retailer (i.e. a “citizen” beer blogger), we work to be in the know about everything worth knowing and worth sharing on the craft beer front. One of the main reasons this is useful to all the above-mentioned entities is that they are busy building the craft beer industry and running a business and each faction doesn’t always have the time to sit down and write about it, think about it, and share it with the public in an entertaining way.
Missoula Craft Beer Week stickers. Photo by Alan McCormick.
Furthermore, at the rate craft breweries are opening, the beer blogger serves as a distiller-of-facts for his/her audience. Sure, a craft beer fan/advocate can follow a brewery’s tweets and status updates to keep in the know, but multiply that action by all the breweries that are distributed in the area and that becomes pretty time consuming. Leave it to a beer blogger to share the important news, events, tap takeovers, and new beer releases in one easy to find location.
In short, beer bloggers are the cheerleaders of the craft brewing industry and all its working parts. And because of that, I’m more than ready to put on my cheer-leading skirt and raise a pom-pom in one hand and a beer in the other. Who’s with me?