13 May 2010 @ 7:26 AM 

We interrupt your normal beer blog content for this important public service message.

Dear Beer Internet,

Let’s talk about hash tags. You know what I’m talking about when I say hash tags, right? I mean the little number-sign-phrase that you’re using at the end of your Twitter post. Those are hash tags. Here’s an example:

@PenandPint Any Carolinians heading to the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival in Charlotte tomorrow? #ncbeer

That “#ncbeer”? That’s the hash tag. You’ll note that it’s clickable. It’s clickable on the Twitter web interface, Tweetdeck, and almost every other Twitter client, too. It opens up a search. Go ahead – try it. Don’t be afraid.

Cool. I want to talk to you about them because they’re distracting. Well-used hash tags are good references. Poorly used hash tags are clutter. They’re difficult to quickly parse, especially on a mobile screen, and they reduce the value of your 140-characters. If I had to read your tweet more than once to try to figure out what you said, you failed at Twitter.

In other words, I’m trying to help you, here.

Now that we know what hash tags look like and what they do when you click on them, let me tell you a little about where they came from.

Hash tags are a form of taxonomy and classification adopted by Twitterers from information science. The use of tags was probably introduced to Twitter through people who were used to using them in blogging. Many forms of blogging software (including the WordPress blog that you are now reading) allow post tags for classification, different than the “Category” classification that also exists. Hash tags tend to be more specific than categories, though in some cases they are the same, or similar, words.

Classification through tags is what is considered “bottom-up hierarchy” vs. categories which are generally “top-down.”

Let’s take a moment to talk about that.

“Top-down” refers to a system in which categories are broad and pre-assigned. Once a thing (blog post, twitter update, etc.) is created, you would then assign said thing to one or more existing categories. It is then categorized. If you were to look up the category, all of the items that you assigned to the category would appear. For instance, this post is categorized in “media” and “meta” on my blog, since I’m talking about (social) media and it is rather self-referencing (meta). These are categories that I have set previously and I tend to smush all existing posts into my category structure. On rare occasion, I’ll create another category because I feel like I need one.

“Bottom-up” refers to a system in which categories are created based on the tags assigned to items. If a tag is used frequently, it essentially works as a category, since it can then be used to reference a large amount of content. If a tag is used infrequently, it is ineffective as a category, since the tag only refers to itself at which point it is ignored. The strength (and weakness) of bottom-up architecture is that it is flexible and dynamic. Categories are fluid and can change based on the information in the system and the frequency of tag use.

Take a moment to scroll all the way down all of the items on my sidebar (to the right) and take a look at my tag cloud. In it, you’ll see the most frequent tags I’ve used on the site (the ones in larger type have been used more often). It’s a big list, but it is not, by far, all of the tags I’ve used, and it’s missing anything that I’ve only used once, you’ll see some one-timers listed at the bottom of this post.

Twitter hash tags have evolved from this bottom-up hierarchy of tagging. They are generally used to categorize your Twitter post on the off-chance that someone wants to find that particular topic again. As an example, I have a column on my Tweetdeck that is every post that happens to mention ncbeer (minus the hash tag, because it’s not strictly necessary). Another craft-beer related tag that you might be familiar with is #gents. There are a fair amount of random items that pop up under #gents, but for the most part, they refer to the The Fellowship of Gentlemanly Gentlemen.

There are two main reasons to use hash tags on Twitter.

1) You are categorizing your tweet. Your tweet has to do with #ncbeer or is meant to reach all of the #gents or is in reference to an event (Craft Brewers Conference: Chicago), a city that you’re in (examples: #avl is the city tag for Asheville, NC, #rva is the city tag for Richmond, Virginia), etc. In all of these cases, the hash tag is being used to categorize your tweet for a larger audience than is necessarily following you. In some ways, it’s like voluntarily joining a Twitter list.

2) You are using the hash tag for comedy, sarcasm, irony or some other form of commentary. The best example of a commentary might be the ubiquitous hash tag #justsayin or maybe #andscene (though at the time of writing the latter is pretty damn lame). Another example might be the #beerfilms hash tag that craft beer Twitterers has so much fun with a while back.

The following are silly uses of hashtags:

1) Hash tags that reference your Twitter handle.

Why? Because your twitter handle is already there. You’re already getting those tweets. The hash tag is doing nothing but taking up space and reducing the amount of space for your actual message. The best example I have of this (sorry for calling you out, Lee, it’s just the example that jumps to mind) is #tellhoptopia.

You see, almost every tweet that the hashtag #tellhoptopia is referenced in is directed at @Hoptopia or is a Re-Tweet of @Hoptopia’s original #tellhoptopia tweet. The hash tag, in this case, is entirely useless. If you want to tell @Hoptopia something, your best bet is to just tell @Hoptopia and leave the hash tag out of it because it’s not actually adding any value to the tweet or getting the information to @Hoptopia any differently.

2) Hash tags that are very broad dictionary words.

The hash tag #beer comes to mind. It’s kind of a silly hash tag. For one thing, #beer is used by a shit-ton of people for completely random reasons (and inconsistently), so it doesn’t really work as a reference marker for anything, but you can also just search for beer, and get a lot more (just as random) results.

3) Hash tags that aren’t common.

This is a little unfair of me to say. At some point, each hash tag was used for the first time. Still, just throwing random hash tags on the end of your Twitter posts is a great way to increase clutter and obscure your message. If the hash tags you use are not referring to something that is going to be repeated (ie – if the only tweet that a search for that hash tag will come up with is your own) and the hash tag itself isn’t compelling enough to be adopted by others (and thus create a new search stream), you’re just wasting time and characters while making your tweet that much harder to read quickly.

In summary, I’d say think about it this way:

Hash tags are category markings used to make searches more efficient.

Use them to categorize conferences, geographical locations, groups of people, etc.

Use them for comedy or commentary.

Otherwise, you’re just wasting the most finite resource you have on Twitter: any single one of your 140 characters.

Tags Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: media, meta
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 13 May 2010 @ 07 26 AM

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 31 Mar 2010 @ 10:53 AM 

This column isn’t really beer related so much as it’s a long ramble of thoughts in preparation for a panel presentation at the upcoming Craft Brewers Conference. If you’re heading there, come see Storytelling 2.0: Social Media as a Conversation on Saturday morning where I’ll probably spend almost a whole minute talking about the contents of this column.

The reason that I’m focusing on Twitter and Facebook is that they are the two most ubiquitous forms of social media. Are there others? Yes. There are many others. It’s quite possible that one of them will turn out to be the Next Big Thing. It’s even more possible that the Facebook-killer is sitting as an unrealized dream in somebody’s head, waiting for VC and a team of developers. Let’s worry about the now.

Right now, Facebook and Twitter are kings of social media space. Very recently, Facebook logged more visitors than Google in a weekly metric for the first time. The media will write all kinds of grand, sweeping assumptions about what this means for internet usage, advertising markets, etc., etc. What it means to you and me is that a freakin’ lot of people are looking at Facebook. Twitter doesn’t see nearly that much traffic, but it’s equally as important. You just have to understand how it’s being used.

Social media is a unique medium. It is one in which you can’t necessarily target your audience, your audience targets you. That might not seem quite right up front if you think about traditional forms of media and advertising (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and on and on) because you’re not in control of who is consuming your ad, right? Sure. Okay. But in all of those cases, the people who are selling advertising have a really good idea of the type of market demographic they’re reaching. They know their audience(s) and will tell you all about it. Television and radio change their advertising based on time of day because they have a good idea of who is watching or listening when. There’s a reason why sugary cereal commercials play on Saturday mornings and laxative commercials play during golf tournaments.

With Twitter and Facebook, you can only do blanket targeting a la, “I know that my target audience is beer-drinkers.” Certainly, using ads on Facebook you can target specific demographics quite effectively, but when it comes to someone “becoming a fan” of your business and consuming your day-to-day content, it is identical to Twitter where you have no control over who decides to actually follow you. It’s possible that down the road longitudinal data will be collected and statistics will be able to show you that, “Traditionally, 25 – 45 year old males use Facebook between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM,” but that doesn’t currently exist. Or if it does, I’m not sure I’d trust it to be reliable, yet. There are broad sweeping rules that seem obvious: If you want clickthroughs, post to Facebook on the weekend… y’know.. when people aren’t at work.

In reality, I think that knowing your social media audience is about knowing their consumption habits.

Here’s my theory on Facebook v. Twitter. I have no scientific data to back me up. I have conducted no studies. I am just a big nerd that likes listening to himself type.

I think of social media as being made up of 3 types of usage. These usage types overlap with each other, so it’s a pretty classic Venn diagram.

Obvious: Creators create content, repeaters aggregate and disseminate content, consumers consume it.

For the most part, every user is built of all three of these. However, the extent to which they do any given one of these vs. the others will vary greatly. 90% of content on Twitter is created by 10% of the users. Think about that for a minute. It’s not that those other 90% aren’t there (okay.. some of them aren’t there), they’re there. They’re consuming.

You, as a brewery, as a business, are a Creator. It is important that you are also a Consumer, or you will come off as a Douchebag, which is not good for business. It is also important that you spend time being a Repeater, because Repeaters create community and community is what you want, but your primary role is a Creator. Your task is to get information to the Consumers, and you will largely do it through the Repeaters. Many Consumers will find you directly, but chances are they will do so via a Repeater. So why is it important that you Consume and Repeat as well as Create?

Because social media is a conversation.

I mean, it’s “social” media for crissakes. Like any good conversation, it’s about give and take and balance. When you show that you are willing to interact with others, others will feel like you’re a valuable conversation partner and will disseminate your content as well. It’s about relationships – just like sales.

If you are only a Creator – if you use Twitter and Facebook as a press release machine – people will stop following you pretty quickly because you have no added value. You need to engage with people to be successful in this medium. You can’t just put stuff out there like it’s a billboard. It won’t work. However! It is essentially the largest, free-est billboard you have available to you.

Let me get back on topic: The difference between Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook, regardless of what their founders may have envisioned or would like it to be, is built (maybe even a little ironically) around privacy. That is probably the largest source of their success. It allows people to have an environment where they can be both social and more-or-less safe and private. People that are posting pictures of their babies and families don’t necessarily want that information to be repeated and shared to total strangers.

Twitter has no filter. Everything that is created goes out to everyone. People that use Twitter a lot revel in that. They are attention seekers.

Note: You can protect your tweets – lock them from people seeing them without your permission – but there is anecdotal evidence that shows that when you protect your tweets you essentially cut yourself off from viral community growth, which is the strength of Twitter. People won’t ask to follow you if they don’t personally know you.

In other words, Twitter is an extrovert tool and Facebook is an introvert tool. It’s a gross generalization, but it works.

Here’s a guess: I would bet that most Twitter users have a Facebook account but that most Facebook users do not have a Twitter account. Twitter users will talk to anyone and everyone, Facebook users only really talk to their friends.

While there’s a fair amount of content crossover between Twitter and Facebook, you have to use these tools differently.

When you post something on Facebook that people like, they will “Like” it to give you feedback that you’ve done something, or said something right. Some people may comment on it. For the most part, it’s only going out to the people that are following you as fans. These people are enthusiastic for your product, since they have chosen to receive updates from a business in the midst of their private and personal space. That is even more reason to not treat it as a press release machine. Remember: You don’t have to convince these people. They already know who you are and what you do. They’re already fans and customers. They’re following you because they’ve bought into your vision and they want to engage with you and interact.

When you post something on Twitter that people like, they will Re-Tweet it. Those people may not be following you because they’re existing customers. Twitterers are just as likely to follow you because you look interesting, you seem interesting, or you’ve Tweeted something once that they were intrigued by. They are also just as likely to stop following you because you’re boring or you’re annoying. They are the social butterflies of the internet.

When you post to Facebook, it’s your job to make announcements to your customers and start conversations. Ask leading questions. Get feedback. Invite people to events. Post photo albums. Most importantly: Consider that the information on your Fan Page takes a much longer time to move than it does on your user’s “Recent Posts” listing and that they can and will use your page as a time line to go back and read over recent, and even not-so-recent posts. Facebook is much more of an on-going time line that people will scroll back through to see what’s happened. Because they generally are only friends with people they know in Real Life, they’re likely to be following far fewer people than your average Twitterer. You can over-post.

When you post to Twitter, it’s your job to be a fun and interesting conversationalist. Ask leading questions, but also answer them. Create relationships, because those with whom you have good relationships will be your biggest fans. Post photos, but use them as part of your daily story line. Don’t assume that they’ll necessarily stay around for people to see later, because most people won’t bother finding them. Twitter is like a snapshot of life. Because of that, it might seem like a smart idea to repeat the same information over and over again so that others who aren’t looking at the snapshot when you post will see it, but by doing that you’ll antagonize the frequent watchers – and those are the big Repeaters.

On both sites, trust that information will disseminate. It’ll happen. These sites are the very definition of viral marketing. If you have something valuable, it will spread. Like any good conversation, people will revisit a topic later, especially one that they’ve enjoyed. Let them do it. The challenge is to create something valuable and to keep that conversation going.

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Categories: marketing, media, op-ed
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 31 Mar 2010 @ 03 24 PM

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 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:39 PM 

Back – way, way back in internet years – just after last year’s Craft Brewer’s Conference, I wrote a little piece about why and how breweries should be using Twitter. It was originally a bit of a followup from watching the internet panel at the CBC. I wasn’t confident that the panel really convinced people why they should be using social media. In fact, I’m not even sure if left people with a favorable impression. So passionate was I about this, that I got together with a couple of great people to put a panel together for this year’s conference.

I’ve been planning on writing a few columns in support of the panel this spring as I work through collecting my thoughts for later discussion. The first was going to be what I perceive as the effective differences between Facebook and Twitter, built for a craft beer business perspective. That’s still coming, but via the magic of the internet, I was pointed over to a thread on ProBrewer that kind of got me by the short hairs.

Let me see if I can summarize this thread for you:

“What’s this Twitting thing? Is that on the Google? I can’t understand what those kids are saying without my ear horn!”

It makes me want to slap people. There is nothing in this world that pisses me off more than willful ignorance. The idea that you can’t understand something because it’s new is a one-way ticket to stagnation and failure. In the end the real issue is that you’re scared. Grow a pair. It’s a plastic box with electronics in it. We call it a computer. You use several every day, probably even to make beer.

I’m sure that all of the guys that posted to this thread are smart. You have to be smart to brew beer and run a business. You have to know a good deal of chemistry, physics, and biology. You have to have business sense and be at least relatively decent with numbers, you have to be savvy enough with people to know your customers, know what they want, and know how to get them to buy your product. And then you put something out like “I could really give a s#$t if those who read our company tweets consume my beer. If they would take guidance from a simple message from a stranger, they’re idiots.”

Shit, man. You just described marketing. You ever watch a commercial? They’re on the television now. Oh, right- that’s another plastic box with electronics in it. Forget I asked.

Nevermind, the lovely irony of asking “Has everyone willingly given up privacy?” on a public message board using your real name as a username. Liam, buddy: Misdirected ire. You must have been having a bad day that day, eh? I hope I can get up to Yellow Belly the next time I’m in NL to try your beer, regardless of that fact that you’ve completely written me off as a customer. Hey – does that mean I can drink for free?

And I don’t really mean to take the piss out of Liam here, it’s just to easy to troll and be snarky when people give you such opportunities! Moving on:

Allow me to address a few of the points that I’m going to summarize out of this thread (and countless freakin’ others out there):

Social Media is for “young people”

Almost 40% of Facebook users are between ages 36 and 65.

60% of Facebook users are over the age of 25.

Those damn kids. They’re probably planning your 30th high school reunion using the Facebook. Maybe you should get in touch.

Social media is a fad.

Facebook reported hitting 132 million users in December 2009. MySpace reports almost 50 million. Twitter reports 23 million. They’re not all overlapping users, though many are (there’s the followup column I’m writing, see?).

Allow me to translate that into math:

If every drinking-aged adult in the country (~200 million) buys beer (they don’t), and craft beer makes up ~5% of the market share (they do), then more people over the age of 26 use Facebook (79.2 million) than drink craft beer (10 million) by a factor of a whole shitload. Fad. Sheesh.

I don’t have time for social media

I don’t have time to promote my business! I don’t have time to get people interested in my brand! I don’t have time to sell my product! I don’t have time to interact with my customers! Waaah!

Really? You know how long it takes me to send out a tweet? Like 25 seconds. To be fair: I type fast. Let’s say it takes you TWICE as long as me to type – no! Three times as long! Finger-pecker!

Ach! My aged fingers can not stand typing for over a minute! I can’t take 75 seconds out of my incredibly busy day to interact with my customers just once!

If you’re that busy, you’re probably at a point where you could consider hiring someone to help you. If you make the point of hiring somebody who’s not an anti-social curmudgeon, then chances are you could make managing social media part of their job and then you don’t have to worry about understanding anything fancy and new.

Look, there’s only one excuse for this type of response: You don’t get it. And you know what? That’s okay! It’s totally fine to not intuitively understand something the first time you look at it. To assume that it’s stupid because you don’t understand it is folly.

You don’t have to spend a lot of time on social media. Can you? Certainly! It can be borderline addictive. I’ll get into that in my next point.

It’s all anti-social crap for people with ADD!

You’re confusing social media with iPhone owners. (I kid! (Mostly!))

Social media is the opposite of anti-social. C’mon, people. “Social” is in the freakin’ name. Every interaction via any form of social media is essentially a part of a conversation. It’s not an update look-at-my-life-because-I’m-so-freakin’-awesome tool. It’s a human interaction please-talk-to-me tool. It’s not just:

“I had a Brooklyn Backbreaker at Tyler’s Taproom last week and I gotta say: pretty awesome.”

It’s also:

“Oooh, I’ve been wanting to try that one. Is it still on tap?”

People are talking about you. They’re talking about your product and they’re talking about your brewery. They’re talking about them a lot and having meaningful conversations about them. That is exactly why social media can be so addictive – interacting with people is fun. You do it in the bar all the time, right? Oh, right – I know: Only with people you know, or people who have the same interests as you, or maybe just the pretty girls.

Yeah, okay. Just like social media. Look, you don’t have to interact with anybody that you don’t want to. You choose who you follow and the people who follow you are enthusiastic fans of your business and your product. They are your good customers and your best evangelists. Not only do they want to have a conversation with you, they want to have a conversation about you to others. You can’t ask for better marketing than that – don’t you want to be a part of that conversation and have the chance to help guide it?

True story: I have met more new beer people in my area in the past year via Twitter, Facebook, and this blog than the previous 6 years I’ve been living here. And I’m talking great people – awesome people that I like to go hang out with after work and have a beer with, people that I have invited over to my house for dinner and drinks, and people that I hope I will not ever lose touch with because they’re such good people. Wow! Being anti-social is fun!

Social media is not a replacement for human interaction – it’s an augmentation.

It’s not a press release machine – it’s a customer interaction tool.

It’s an easy and effective tool that you can use to share your brand and your story with an eager-and-waiting audience and probably have a lot of fun at the same time. Use it. There is no downside and no reason not to.

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Categories: industry, marketing, media
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 21 Jan 2010 @ 11 30 PM

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 01 Jan 2010 @ 12:13 PM 

This post was originally going to be for this month’s Session, #35: “New Beer’s Resolutions, but I canned it. It’s a cute topic, but I can’t do it. I don’t believe in looking back at mistakes. To learn from your mistakes is paramount, to dwell on them is folly. They are done and I won’t revisit them, but rather stay positive with their lessons in mind and move forward to greater achievement.
The future!
At the same time, I feel like resolutions are bunk. The number one way to not get something done is to make it a New Year’s Resolution. If you want something to get done, you need to roll out of bed in the morning and do it. Screw tying it to the calendar. Just get up and go.

I also won’t attempt to make any predictions about what could happen in 2010. The problem with predictions is that they are based on the past; they’re based on our current knowledge set and our current environment. We cannot forsee individual random events or, even more importantly, what will be invented that will change the world in the next 12 months. It’s impossible and fruitless to speculate. You can only be ready for anything and enjoy the ever-living-crap out of it.

But! The dawn of a new year is an opportunity to look forward to all of the wonderful things to come that you DO know about. Here’s my personal list of things to come in 2010:

Homebrew and Competition

After withdrawing myself from homebrew competitions for a while, I plan to get my feet wet again to see what comes out of it. I’ve had some rather snarky judges in the past that have made me feel rather jaded about entering competitions, but in the spirit of “I’m going to start a business.” I’ve decided to say screw-all to the critics, throw my hat back into the ring, and wait for the Gold Medal to arrive in the mail. If the rest of my big bold headings work out as I expect them to, this will also be the last year I enter into homebrew competitions.

Here’s where my beer is going:

  • 2010 Winter Brew Bash, Carrboro NC: Start local, right? These guys are working hard to have what appears to be a really incredibly non-traditional homebrew competition. What I like about it is that it is built around a homebrew tasting, so that brewers and the public alike can come in and try all of the beers that are entered into competition. It’s a lovely PR event for homebrew and has the possibility of getting a lot of new people involved in the hobby. At the same time, I love sharing my beer with other people and it’s a good opportunity for that, as well. Finally, as far as I can tell, it’s not tied to category, and thank god for that, because I don’t fit inside categories well.
  • LoneRider Brewery‘s Brew It Forward: Another style-less competition, where the prize involves getting your beer made and sold. I’m not sure when this is coming up – spring sometime – but they’re so close to my house that it seems ridiculous to not send them some beer.
  • National Homebrew Competition: My opportunity to play to style and send something out, and maybe – just maybe – I’ll get a feedback sheet from a judge that doesn’t make me want to punch them in the throat.

2010 Craft Brewers Conference Panel Presentation: I’m a Social Media Guru Now!
One of the things that I am both looking forward to and slightly terrified of is the 2010 Craft Brewers Conference where I will be part of a panel presentation entitled Storytelling 2.0: Social Media as Conversation with some colleagues that I feel rather starstruck about. Fullsteam’s Sean Wilson (one of my co-panelists) posted a nice up front review of what we’re attempting to do. Here’s the selected excerpt from our draft pitch that sells it best:

It’s time to stop thinking of Twitter, Facebook, and blogging as simple extensions of your press releases. Storytelling 2.0 will help you discover your own unique voice, and connect, build, and bond with your fan base. It’s time to talk with — not at — your audience.

Craft brewing is story-driven. Each individual brewery has a unique story to best engage its customer base. Social media empowers your brewery to include enthusiasts in that story, giving them access to your narrative voice in an unparalleled way. Well-crafted updates, photo postings, and personalized responses engage your customers, giving them a chance to see inside your operations and meet the characters in the story first-hand.

By the by, I hope nobody ever calls me a social media guru. I don’t use it enough (I’m sure my wife would argue that I use it way too much) – on purpose – because I feel like it’s easy to spam and therefore achieve negative impact through annoyance, but I think that automatically takes me out of “guru” running.

As we work on the conference panel over the next few months, you’ll probably see a few columns here about social media and how it pertains to breweries. These columns will not be meant as part of the presentation or may not even be related, but it’s the best way I have to work through things. At the same time, I hope that my ramblings will be useful to the internet/brewing community at large.

Know Your Brewer Re-Launches

We haven’t said a whole lot about this yet, but I am working with Sean over at Fullsteam on a little project that I think will turn out for awesome. Know Your Brewer, a website that was originally focused on North Carolina Beer as part of Pop the Cap 2.0. The site provided the basic template and early content for the North Carolina Brewers Guild website NCBeer.org, which I’m also helping on, but that left a domain and a concept unoccupied. I’ve somehow managed to convince Sean to let me help retro-fit Know Your Brewer for a new life.

The re-launch is coming and it’s coming nationwide. I’m not yet sure of our official re-launch date, I can say that I think it will be pretty terrific. The site will focus on the men and women behind craft beer – the people that make it, the brewers – and look at their beer and their breweries through their eyes. We’re hoping to have writers and bloggers across the country interviewing brewers from across the country, with lots of added content – recipes, Q&A, etc, all in a regular weekly format.

I’ve already done interviews at a couple of breweries and I have a half-dozen more scheduled in the next few weeks. It’s been a ton of fun talking to brewers about their work, how they got into it, and what they enjoy the most about it. It’s been a ball and I can’t wait to share it.

What you see there isn’t the final design, but it’s on its way. Look for an official announcement here (and, of course, on Know Your Brewer) soon. In the meantime, we’re recruiting writers – are you interested? Let me know!

Announcing the Location of Mystery Brewing Company

Finally, in either the second or third quarter this year, I will be making the announcement on the geographical location of my own startup: Mystery Brewing Company.

At that point, the blog will likely go through a slight transition where you end up hearing a lot more commentary about startup issues. On of my major criticisms with startup brewery content I have found, read, and yes, even paid thousands of dollars for, is the lack of practical detail. I get a lot of “you need to fill out TTB forms and apply for licensing.” And while it’s true, it’s not necessarily as helpful as telling me what forms are around, what information they tend to expect, and what pitfalls I should look out for. Not to say I’ll be posting how to fill out your TTB label forms here, but I will, whenever possible, post practical information about the startup process specifically pertaining to startup breweries in the hopes that others coming after me will find something useful. I believe that the future of the industry lays in continuing spread of the individual small brewery, rather than the continual creation of more megabreweries, and I hope that I can help the industry in the right direction.

Back when I was in high school, as a miserable teenager, I remember somebody taking me aside and telling me: “Remember these days, because these are the best days of your life.” And then I remember thinking, “Oh god – kill me now.” They were wrong. Totally and completely and in all ways possible: wrong. They were not even remotely the best days of my life. Every year that I’ve been alive, things have just been better and better, more fun and more awesome, and I can’t imagine that changing now. I’m looking forward to 2010, for all of these reasons up here and the hundreds of reasons that I haven’t found out about, yet.

Happy New Year, everyone. It’ll be a great one.

 06 Dec 2009 @ 4:03 PM 

In case you didn’t catch it on Friday afternoon and evening, a quick little meme started its way around the beer-related Twitterverse. It was an enormous amount of fun. Using the hashtag #beerfilms people were throwing beer terms into movie names. It was just a fantastic way to end a Friday afternoon at work, and I was happy to see that it lasted for the next 8 hours.

Lest all the creativity be lost to the ether (or Twitter’s magical, ‘older tweets are no longer available’), here are all the “beerfilms” and who came up with them, in order. I kept repeats in, though there aren’t that many of them. The most popular seemed to be “The Silence of the Lambics.”

What you see at the top of the list occured at about 4:15 – 4:30 PM, EST. The very bottom of the list was at 12:54 AM EST.

Got favorites? (Or more?) Post ‘em up in the comments! Enjoy:

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Categories: media
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 06 Dec 2009 @ 08 43 PM

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