Beer Bloggers Conference 2012 Wrap Up

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Indianapolis, Indiana was the site of the 3rd Annual Beer Bloggers Conference organized by Zephyr Adventures. Girls’ Pint Out was part of the local Indianapolis bloggers that acted as liaisons, answered questions, and drove people to the liquor store to buy beer to take home. The mix of sponsor content, blogger content and events kept us extremely busy during the conference.

Kudos to Indianapolis. The comments about the city were all positive. “The mix of old and new architecture is cool.” “Indianapolis is CLEAN.” “I had no idea Indianapolis and Indiana had so much great beer!” We couldn’t be prouder. Everyone locally who made this a success for the city: Visit Indy, Brewers Guild of Indiana, World Class Beverages and Monarch Beverages, Marriott Downtown, the list goes on. The local breweries showed what Hoosier hospitality was all about. They let bloggers visit while they were closed, hosted tours and tastings, and provided a true look at how Indiana is becoming a beer tourism destination.

This year’s conference did not focus on the technical aspects of blogging. WordPress plug-ins, monetizing your blog, and ad networks? Not this conference. There were keynote speeches by Julia Herz, Garrett Oliver and Randy Mosher. Industry panels featuring distributors, breweries and retailers. Blogger panels about how some have turned a hobby into a career. The 2012 conference content was the strongest yet.

Julia Herz, The Brewers Association Craft Beer Director gave her annual state of craft beer address. She addressed the dated nomenclature “food and wine” and a cultural shift towards craft beer. Look for “food and wine” to shift towards “food and beverages.” The statistics and insight she share are always a treat. Did you know you most Americans live about 2 miles or less from an establishment making beer? Julia’s passion and straight up knowledge is unparalleled.

During Garrett Oliver‘s keynote speech, he drove home the point that what bloggers do isn’t a game. Every review, every article written, every opinion – should be thought out. “This isn’t a game.” He encouraged us to be objective, be better, and while it’s okay to not like a beer, be conscious as a blogger to your responsibility. Respect the force. 

Randy Mosher‘s keynote took us back to the beginning of civilization. His history of beer was entertaining and extremely in depth. Persian drinking boots, Rembrandt drinking beer with his wife, neuroscience, and again responsibility. It’s okay to not know the answer, but do your best to find the truth. Learn your audience, learn everything you can.

A tweet made it into our stream questioning “are beer bloggers so self-important now need a conference?” Well, no and yes. Beer bloggers are on the front lines of what is shaping up to be a Golden Age for beer. We’re able to spend time with the product and the people who make it. Bloggers are getting information to people interested in beer but may not be familiar with the industry past knowing they are tired of mountains that turn blue when cold. We can breathe life into a six pack sitting on a shelf. That’s power. The same power food bloggers have when they wax poetic over quinoa to make readers want to try it.

Traditional journalism can’t keep up with the beer industry. Journalists are already spread thin due to staffing cuts or straight up outsourcing. Bloggers are the experts (that’s scary!). So are we self-important? No. We have a place and an opportunity to do great things. It’s our time to shine. Do we need a conference? Yes. It gives bloggers a chance to meet face to face, network and have some fun. The sessions are crafted to make you think, give you inspiration, and be entertained. Bloggers have an opportunity to visit cities they might normally pass on. (Seriously, does anyone besides Jim Nantz say “ooh, honey! Let’s vacation in Indianapolis!”?) So those of you who might be reading this and are skeptical of the Beer Bloggers Confernece? You missed out. Those who attended are now inspired with fresh ideas, new contacts and a stronger sense of community.

Community. That word came up a lot this weekend. Beer bloggers as a group – all of us – those who attended, those who couldn’t or didn’t want to – we’re a community. It’s up to us to work together and help the beer community get education and information out there. Sure it can be fun to call someone out, but is that really where we want to go? This community is only as strong as we make it. Collaborate with other blogs – across the country – expand your circle. Being a local beer blog is the standard but push farther and give your readers a taste of what we experienced this weekend.

Girls’ Pint Out started a blog to get our events out there. The evolution over the past two and a half years and the growth of women beer drinkers is not something we predicted would happen so quickly. Chapters are forming all over the country and if you are interested in starting a chapter, contact us! We’ll help you get it off the ground. Our chapter presidents will tell you, the beer community needs groups of consumers and the success has been overwhelming. Email us: if you are serious about getting a chapter started.

Thank you again to everyone who made this a great weekend. It couldn’t have gone better.

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Comments ( 9 )
  • Cool write-up! I regretted not making this year’s due to prior obligations, but will definitely have next year’s on my calendar thanks to you. Cheers!

  • Sean

    Great wrap up and thanks for hosting!

    Randy’s discussion was thought provoking and blew our minds! So much, that he made us speechless.

    Thanks to all, especially the sponsors and hosts!


  • Lori Finnigan

    Great post Tamre! Blogging is important in any segment. Good blogging with facts and interesting stories draws people of like interests, and this is how communities are formed.

    Glad you had a great time…and survived!

    Beerfully yours,


  • It was great meeting you and everyone at the conference. I am certainly glad I went for my 1st BBC. I’ll definitely go again. And also just wanted to say a big THANKS to you and the girlspintout group for helping to promote and spur more interest for this conference. It lived up to the expectations and I believe all had a good time.

  • An important point about not liking a beer is to keep in mind that you did not like that beer, beyond an obvious off-flavor the beer is not necessarily “bad.” You have to rate it according to style, not to your subjective taste.

    “Are beer-bloggers so self important…” is such a judgmental question. As you say, craft beer is about community. Of course we all want to be individually successful and have a cool blog but collectively we are focused on raising the community as a whole. We are an asset to one of the most promising industries in some time so no question the industry needs us to get together to collaborate.

    I love the simple point about what craft beer is doing for towns that are not necessarily destinations.

    Nice write up!

  • Great write up! Thanks for the fun and good times. I had a blast and picked up a lot of knowledge! Thanks for everything you did and the guiding the pub crawl too. We needed the guidance.
    Todd J @ MIdwest Supplies

  • Thanks for hosting the conference. I know now that Indy is a great destination!

  • Great story, Tamre. The conference is getting more and more valuable each year. Even though I didn’t make it this year, it was obvious through the social media content generated during it. See you next year.

  • Great recap. I’m so glad I decided to attend. I’ll be back next year and my wife June will be joining me. I can’t say thank you enough for the hard work and planning by Tamre, the rest of the Indy bloggers, Brewers Guild of Indiana and the great Indy brewers. It was a top-notch event. Well done.

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