Friday, August 2, 2013

2013 Beer Bloggers Conference: Day 3, plus my EPIC beer haul!

How could Day 3 of #BBC13 possibly follow the awesomeness of Day 2? Why, with more seminars, of course!

Since “Beer Bloggers” is the name of the conference, it’s no surprise that actual beer bloggers did most of the speaking on Sunday morning. The first hour was a series of about a dozen bloggers each speaking about a different topic complete with a PowerPoint and bully pulpit. Most of these were anecdotes about using social media to your advantages. A series of do’s and don’ts as it were. Again, it just wouldn’t be fair to attempt to recap them all here. In fact, I only filmed part of one presentation as you’ll see in the video below (at 1:27).

In retrospect, I probably should have signed up to give a presentation, though I’m not sure what I would have talked about. Perhaps “How to finesse YouTube.” Though that’s something that can’t be explained in just five minutes. If I attend next year’s conference, maybe I’ll try to turn that into an entire seminar.
Another beer crossed off my bucket list.
I should note that at some point, Gerard Walen of shared a bottle of Cigar City’s “Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout”, a rare beer I’ve been wanting to try for a while. Much like the Rare Bourbon County Stout, I was only able to sample about an ounce or so, but it was quite delicious. It had a taste not unlike an Oreo cookie! I completely forgot to film myself trying it, though.

The second segment of the day dealt with local blogging strategies. Considering the nature of this blog, it’s not a topic I’m unfamiliar with. The presenters, John Holl and Norm Miller, did present a lot of useful information and strategies they’ve used to become successful bloggers. I will try to put some of their tips to good use over my tenure here. There’s a brief clip of this segment in the video at 2:35.

Finally, the day concluded with a one-hour speech by Ray Daniels on “Bloggers, Braggarts and Brands” (at 3:20 in the video). If you’re a hardcore beer nerd you probably know who he is – the guy that started the Cicerone Certification Program. But Ray wasn’t there just to talk about tasting and judging beer – far from it. He gave us his autobiography which was quite interesting as he started out in journalism and began writing about beer because no one else was doing it. Ray was close friends with the famous British beer author Michael Jackson aka “The Beer Hunter.” He regaled the crowd with plenty of amazing and funny anecdotes about Michael and how much influence he had on making today’s craft beer market what it is.

BBC day3 013
I was actually a little disappointed Ray didn’t talk about the Cicerone program that much and try to sell us on it. Much like the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), Cicerone is an industry certification that lets everyone know that you know beer inside and out (the full Cicerone certification, that is, not just the basic “Beer Server” certificate that I have). I’d like to test my mettle and earn both qualifications in the near future. I’ve got a lot of studying to do first, though.

The conference wrapped up around noon. It was hard to believe the weekend was over already. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. However, the ending did contain some pleasant “spoils” as all the leftover beer from the trade show, beer lunch and beer social were made available for bloggers to plunder. I took home two CASES worth of free beer and cider. In fact, the second half of the video is me showing off my epic beer haul (starting at 6:54).

Was the conference worth it? Considering it only cost $95 admission and I barely spent any money the entire weekend, I’d say yes. I even managed to drive to Boston and back on less than a tank of gas. The hotel was quite expensive, though. I think this event could be held at a Holiday Inn and be just as fun and successful. I’m not sure where the 2014 conference is being held, though rumors are flying that it’s likely to be in New Orleans. I’d think San Diego would be the ideal city for this event, but I’m not in charge of deciding that.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and I’m definitely glad I went. I made many new acquaintances, discovered many new beer blogs, learned a lot about beer and the brewing industry, had a lot of great food, and got to try several “bucket list” beers. I would definitely recommend this event to any beer blogger, not because of how educational it is, but because it’s such a fun, memorable experience.

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