Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beer Bloggers take it to the next step

2012 Beer Bloggers ConferenceSundays can be the most difficult days for beer bloggers. The entire conference in Indianapolis this year had been filled with talks, tastings and tours. And with the Night of Many Bottles just a handful of hours prior to the morning Sunday sessions, we were not a very bright eyed and bushy tailed group. Yet, the vast majority of us did manage to wake up in time for the final three sessions of the conference prior to packing up. This is the third and final part of a series of post on the 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference.

Day 3 - Sunday July 15, 2012

The remains of the Night of Many Bottles were organized on a table off to the corner. These last handfuls of unopened bottles would be split up among the attendees, yet at this time of the morning (9:30am), more beer was not the first thing we had in mind. However, the first session of the day was about to begin. Unfortunately for me, my camera battery had died and I didn't bring spare power with me. So the photos I show in this post will be from previous day's sessions.

Allen Wright of Zephyr AdventuresWin Bassett (North Carolina Brewers Guild), Evan Benn (St. Louis Post Dispatch), Mike Besser (Brew Dad) and Brady Whalen (paid writer) helped to wake everyone up with a talk about Taking it to the Next Step. In other words, how to move our blogs beyond what they are now and branch out into more areas. Many bloggers eventually work into regular paying jobs with their writing and these guys have done just that. The panelists each told their stories on how beer blogging was their stepping stone into a career.

They encouraged the attendees to branch out, take more risks and explore all avenues of opportunities. They reminded us: "Don't turn any opportunities down (at least not initially). No publication is below you." Opportunities for more writing can come from the least expected places, like a Twitter or Facebook follower, or even from a comment you left on a web site or forum.

Bob Mack of World Class BeerFor me, this was one of the most interesting sessions as it had a lot of good advice for bloggers on ways to promote yourself, find sponsorships, new writing gigs, and become better known for your expertise.

The second session involved two panelists who've had experience in Creating a Beer Event. Eric Steen (Focus on the Beer - Colorado) and another last minute panelist (sorry didn't catch his name) talked about the beer events they had organized and gave some insights into what bloggers need to keep in mind when organizing an event.

Bloggers touring Monarch BeverageEric had experience organizing tastings, several Meet the Brewer nights and even nature hikes that search for ingredients in the wild to include in beer recipes. The other panelist had experience in organizing a beer festival and all of the legal and logistical issues involved with doing such events. The two guys had quite different approaches to organizing an event. Some events require an enormous amount of planning. Other events you can essentially wing it with little effort. Experience will tell you that even the best laid plans for an event isn't always enough.

The last official session of the conference featured our third keynote speaker - Randy Mosher - a four-time author, press writer, brand designer, and now a collaborator in a new brewery. Randy came well prepared with an informative and humorous slide set that revolved around the history of beer. Randy had a great speaking presence and knew how to keep his audience's attention. He was just full of great beer history and trivia and kept it interesting and funny. One of the best speakers of the whole weekend.

Bloggers take to the streets in IndyAnd suddenly, just after noon on Sunday. The conference was officially over. It's amazing just how much can be packed into a 48 hour time period. Between meeting lots of new people, tasting a wide variety of local and regional beers and all of the tours and tastings we attended - it was quite the weekend. I certainly glad I decided to go to the 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference. I hope to return to another one in the future.

I swear it took me longer to travel to and from the conference than I attended conference meetings. The airlines had quirky schedules and I had to use 2 different carriers and 3 flights to get from Denver to Indy and back again. The flight times were not what I had hoped for but it did get me there in time. I ended up having to stick around an extra 6 hours after the conference before my flight home. I opted to explore around downtown Indy for a bit before heading to the airport.

Dave Butler at BBC12Overall, the experience was wonderful. I really hope that even more beer bloggers choose to attend next year in whatever city ends up being the host. Sure, there was a lot of beer around as you would expect, but it's really about the people you meet and the places you go that make memories. Next year can't come soon enough.

A big THANK YOU goes out to Zephyr Adventures for organizing the event, Girls Pint Out for being a great advocate and organizer of side events, the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown for putting up with all of us bloggers, World Class Beer / Monarch Beverage for the wonderful meal and tour, Indiana Brewers Guild for their wonderful beer festival, Jacob Leinenkugel for the great beer luncheon and especially to all of our Keynote and guest speakers who made the conference a great learning experience. Cheers!

Schlafly Beer GuyLook for more photos from the Conference to be posted to Facebook and Flickr.

Related articles:
- Beer Bloggers get the full treatment in Indy. (Part 1)
- Beer Bloggers do more than drink at conference. (Part 2)
- Beer Bloggers flock to Indy for 2012 conference. (Intro)

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com - a Colorado beer blog.
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