Next up in “News from the NAGBW” are my notes from last nights talk on the State of Beer Media with one of my favorite beer writers, Jeff Alworth alongside Canadian beer writer Crystal Luxmore.
Below are my takeaways from the discussion…
We have to remember that craft beer has been written about for 10+ years. It is not the IT beverage
Not to focus as much on the brewmaster. Write about the founder, the marketing person or someone else with an interesting story.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is making more money off beer twitter than beer writers
Sponsorship can be made creative. Go deeper and pitch something less like a traditional ad,
Writing opportunities for money are indeed scarce but it is also a world where you can write without gatekeepers
Look to signal boost the good work being done.
The NAGBW hosted another illuminating beer discussion this time with Marcus Baskerville from Weathered Souls Brewing the brewer and brewery behind the Black is Beautiful cause.
As with past recaps, here are notes that I found of interest….
- Very hard to get donation data back from breweries. Baskerville has received a skosh over 400 survey replies out of 1,200 participants
- Wal-Mart has entered into selling the beer and that has worked out well so far
- Black is Beautiful has gone into hoodies, chocolate and bourbon
- some days Baskerville has been interviewed from 8am to 8pm
- Baskerville has tasted 45-50 of the BiB beers with Fremont and the Alchemist being noteworthy
- was happy to second heritage breweries like Stone and Russian River join in
- Weathered Souls has the #1 IPA in San Antonio
- the brewery was heavily impacted by the snow storms in Texas and followed other brewery lead said in providing drinking water
- Baskerville was wearing a Laker shirt in SAN ANTONIO!
Already in 2021, I have improved on past performance by listening to another North American Guild of Beer Writers Zoom. This time about malt. Here are some two row bites of info….
- Instead of thinking solely of a supply chain, think about the Value Chain
- barley farming has a steep learning curve
- only around 120 craft maltsters in the US
- terroir of malt has not really been studied yet
- malt has not been bred for flavor to hit attributes that a brewer has designed
- brewers used to be their own malt suppliers
- look out for different killing methods such as wind dried
I kinda prefer to-do vs resolution. I think the latter though stronger is more often lost by the second week of January. That is prelude to the fact that one of my to-do’s this year is to listen to more of the programming from the Beer Writers Guild (NAGBW). Last week writers/ historians Maureen Ogle and Liz Garibay spoke about writing about alcohol through the lens of history.
Here are some nuggets of wisdom that I picked up….
- Ogle is working on a book about August Schell and his brewery
- keep historians in mind when writing about beer but not the usual suspects
- you can tie current events to the past because what may seem new probably happened before
- I will be interested in the 2021 Beer Culture Summit from all the praise heaped on the 2020 version
- there is a book about Hawaii beer history coming from Paul Kan and another writer Isco working on something about Oklahoma brewing history
It took me a little while after the awards were handed over for me to read through the NAGBW Award winning writing for the past year.
So, here are my recommendations:
Big Two Hearted by David Nielsen
Brut Strength by Ian Cheesman
Pandemic, Interupted by Brian Alberts
I have been a Guild member of the NAGBW since it started and they have started up a blog where members can express some of their beer writing to the world. Called The Reporter’s Notebook, there is currently a piece on proper day drinking etiquette with more beer knowledge to come. I highly suggest adding it to your reading list.
The North American Guild of Beer Writers, with partner support from the CraftBeer.com website published by the Brewers Association, has chosen four winning writers to receive the 2020 Diversity in Beer Writing Grant.
Per, the press release, the writers and their projects are:
“Alessandra Bergamin will chronicle a cross-border collaboration between California’s Dos California’s Brewsters, SouthNorte Beer Co., and Tijuana, Mexico’s Lúdica Artesenal Cerveceria. The story will follow female brewers making a beer that will help fund scholarships for female peers in Mexico.”
“Stephanie Grant plans to report about the safety of women who work in the beer industry from a variety of roles and perspectives. Industry professionals will share stories and insight on the challenges they face at events, traveling, and more, as a way to give context to their experiences.”
“Louis Livingston-Garcia will tell the story of the leaders behind Minnesota’s Brewing Change Collaborative, a group made up of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community working to share beer with minority communities and support those who are trying to break into beer.”
“Jen Blair will connect plant-based food and beer to write about how these dietary options can work together to create a more inclusive environment at events and among those who love beer, especially among African-Americans, who have the highest percentage of vegans among all demographics in the U.S.”
Of those, the first sounds like the most interesting for me to dive into when it is published.