Session #62: What Drives Beer Bloggers

Perhaps you know about The Session. Each month beer bloggers are invited to write on a chosen topic. The whole thing is the brainchild of Brookston Beer Bulletin, one of the nation’s most-esteemed beer blogs. This month’s topic: What drives beer bloggers. The host for this month’s session is our fellow Northwest beer scribe Angelo De leso of Brewpublic.

What Drives This Beer Blogger

Although I am best recognized as a blogger, I do not think of it as blogging. I don’t think of myself as a beer blogger. I’m a beer writer with a blog. I get to say that because I’ve been published off line. (Oh look at me, I’m so fancy!) Truthfully, to me the word blog suggests something much more personal than what I typically do. In most instances, I try to behave like a journalist. I’m not always sure what that means, but I try.

I’ll try to keep this short. I write to inform and educate. I love craft beer and I want to see the industry continue to grow. The craft beer industry fosters entrepreneurs and rewards creativity. It is good for our local and national economies. Small business is the backbone of America and craft breweries are small businesses. The list goes on and on. And yes, I do enjoy drinking craft beer very much. In short, I don’t just like craft beer, I believe in craft beer. I contend that the more a person knows about craft beer the more likely they are to support the craft beer industry.

Basically, I write to make people feel smart. Unlike many other bloggers and beer writers, I don’t want to be praised as some all-knowing beer guru. I honestly have nothing against anyone who seeks that kind of recognition. That aint me. Many people know a lot more about beer than I do, but there are multitudes who know less.

Some of what I write is way beneath many hardcore beer geeks. Sometimes they think I’m being a beer simpleton. I don’t apologize for that. In my mind, writing to appeal to beer geeks exclusively is like preaching to the choir. They already know a lot about beer and they already drink craft beer. I’m glad there are blogs and forums where hardcore beer fanatics really geek-out about beer, but that’s not what the Washington Beer Blog wants to be. That is not the kind of beer writer I want to be.

I read a lot of beer-related blog posts and other articles that leave me thinking, “Wow, that guy sure is smart. He knows a lot about beer.”

As a writer, I don’t want to be that guy.

Instead of, “Wow, that guys is smart,” I want my readers to walk away thinking, “Wow, I feel smart.” I don’t want people to walk away thinking, “Wow, that guy sure is enthusiastic about beer.” I want them to walk away thinking, “Wow, I’m really enthusiastic about beer.” I don’t want them to simply read what I write, I want them to go drink what I write.

Last October I was honored to be the featured beer writer in Seattle Magazine’s annual “beer issue.” We (craft beer) even got the cover! In that issue I discussed a number of our local breweries and basically provided an overview of the Seattle beer scene for the extreme beer novice. We’re talking about a mainstream lifestyle magazine dedicating a lot of pages to beer. Impressive. It is widely read by all sorts of people. It is not Beer Advocate. Heck, it’s not even Draft Magazine.

When I first witnessed with my own eyes some of these “non-beer people” out touring the local beer scene using my issue of the magazine as a field guide, I was immensely proud. When people told me that the Seattle Magazine beer issue inspired them to visit breweries, try new kinds of beers, and otherwise explore the world of craft beer, I was profoundly satisfied with my work.

That is when I came to fully understand why it is that I publish this blog and write about beer in general.

My goal is to disseminate information that is meaningful for beer geeks and beer novices alike. I hope to do it in a way that is entertaining and interesting. I want the tide of craft beer that has been sweeping across America for the past 30 years to continue to rise. I hope that in some small way I am helping to make that happen.

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  1. Well put, Kendall – I’ve just resumed my monthly beer column for The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review after an eight-year hiatus, and you’ve very eloquently described exactly what I’m trying to accomplish.

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