January 1, 2013

The Most Influential Beer Bloggers of 2012 (Part 2)

beer blogger at work
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were able to enjoy some good craft beer last night. If not...it sounds like a good resolution for 2013!

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Part 1 of this post about three of the most influential beer bloggers of 2012. These next three have each been successful in their own right and are bound to bring further inspiration in the year ahead.

4. Adam Nason – Founder of BeerPulse

Beer Pulse - craft beer news
BeerPulse.com: the world's
#1 daily beer news website
Adam Nason’s website, BeerPulse.com, is THE source for breaking news in the beer industry. What started as a hobby in 2008 grew into a full-time job through years of hard work and commitment. Self-starters (and those still trying to find their way) will relate to Adam's Long and Lonesome Journey of Solo Entrepreneurship.

Adam is a textbook example of someone who left a less-than-fulfilling career to pour himself into his passion. He's a huge part of the American craft beer movement. Follow BeerPulse on TwitterFacebook, and Google+ to make sure you don't miss a beat.

LBB: Can you tell me a little about what you did professionally, before you started writing about beer?

AN: My first-ever job was working as a bar-back at a blues club in Maine when I was 16 so I was exposed to the alcohol industry really early on. I did an internship at a Budweiser distributor while I was in college. I started in accounting after college and lasted there for less than two years before going the entrepreneurial route.

LBB: What advice do you have for aspiring beer writers?

AN: Keep your day job. Beer writing is a very specialized thing and I don't know of many people that have made a profession out of writing itself. More commonly, some that have special skill sets that compliment writing (PR & marketing prowess, design, video production, etc.) have landed jobs with breweries as a result of making themselves relevant on the web. If you don't have a specialized skill set, use writing as a vehicle to get involved in your local beer community. Get to know your nearby breweries, bars & retailers and they'll likely contribute some cash to support your hobby. Meeting other local beer people is part of that equation, too, which is obviously a plus.

LBB: What craft beer-related goals do you have for 2013?

AN: Improving user-experience on the site, traveling more and scaling back the hours I work on it all each day.

5. Ashley Routson - Founder of Drink with the Wench, Beer Mixology & IPA Day

Ashley Routson
"Drinking through the world one
beer at a time."
Ashley Routson, aka "the Beer Wench," was working for a marketing and advertising firm in Columbus, OH, when she launched her first blog. Like many bloggers, she thought about blogging for a while until a mentor convinced her to stop thinking and just get started. This fortuitous beginning led to Ashley’s first beer blog, Drink with the Wench. She has since launched BeerMixology.com and now contributes regularly to the Whole Foods blog and CraftBeer.com.

On top of all this, Ashley is also behind IPA Day, which she co-founded in 2011 with Ryan Ross. In only its second year, this past year’s celebration was enjoyed around the world. Read some stats on IPA Day here.

Finally, Ashley is the "Director of Awesomeness" at Bison Brewing Company in Berkeley, California, where she is in charge of marketing, PR, sales, event planning, website management, and social media.

LBB: How have your various projects contributed to your success in the beer industry?

AR: Although my websites have helped to increase my visibility in the craft beer community, the real secrets to my success have been hard work, relentless determination, unyielding persistence, and education, education, education.

LBB: At what point did you decide it was time to jump into the beer industry full-time?

AR: I realized it in 2009 after I moved to California with intentions to work in the wine industry. After being rejected by a lot of people and picking up part-time gigs here, there, and everywhere, I became exhausted and run down. As my wine dreams began to fade, I started volunteering to help out at local breweries. I started to hang out with brewers and it dawned on me -- beer people are super cool. Like super cool. And I knew that I needed to weasel my way into their world.

LBB: What advice do you have for those who want to join the beer industry full-time?

AR: Passion, education, and the willingness to do anything it takes. The craft beer industry is a tough industry because most companies are small and strapped for cash. Most craft breweries don't have conventional corporate structures - most of us are forced to wear multiple hats. Be flexible and willing to work any position you can get - not just the glamorous roles. Work for free beer. No, you can't feed a family on free beer. But you will need experience and sometimes the best way to get it is to offer your services for free or paid on a part-time basis (I started out with both those methods).

LBB: What craft beer-related goals do you have for 2013?

AR: Great question, tough to answer. I'm both anxious and excited about speaking at the Craft Brewers Conference for the first time - a big professional step for me. My goal is to pursue more leadership opportunities like this in 2013. As for Bison, I have lofty goals for taking us to the next level in 2013. We are making some minor branding changes in our packaging as well as introducing several new beers this year. On a personal level, my goal is to visit more breweries in 2013 and work closer on projects and events with my beer blogger rockstar husband, Angelo De Ieso of BREWPUBLIC.com :)

6. Joe Stange - Founder of Thirsty Pilgrim

Can you find Joe?
I first encountered Joe at the first Costa Rica Craft Beer Festival, where he served a homebrewed "Petite Saison." Since that time, I’ve seen his name pop up as a contributor for Draft Magazine, the New York Times, and All About Beer. Joe also co-authored Around Brussels in 80 Beers. I enjoy reading Joe's work not only because he brings an international perspective to the craft beer conversation, but because the quality of his writing is simply top-notch.

LBB: Can you tell me about what you did professionally before you started writing about beer? Do you have a background in journalism or writing?

JS: I've been a working journalist for 15 years. I started professionally as a sort of all-purpose newsman for the Associated Press in Missouri, specializing in political reporting. I've also done nonprofit work for journalists in developing countries and got a master's in international communication, sometimes useful for thinking about beer culture from a global perspective.

LBB: Why did you start the Thirsty Pilgrim?

JS: My wife's work had taken us to Belgium, which is where I started writing about beer. I was already a bit geeky for it, so Belgium was like fantasy land. But I didn't think there would be much money in writing about it. The blog started as fun and evolved into a place to share photos and pieces of things I can't fit into paid work.

LBB: Are you a full-time beer & travel writer? At what point did you decide that it was time to take it to the next level?

JS: I'm a full-time freelancer, in theory, but I also have two young kids at home. The balance is tricky. I get to spend a lot of time with them, which is lucky, a major perk of being a trailing spouse. We were in Belgium for a couple of years before I started writing professionally about beer. Beer was fun for us; I was reluctant to turn it into work. But my wife and I had been filling journals with beer tasting notes, just to keep them all straight, and visiting breweries on weekends. We were doing it for fun, but also gaining expertise. So I started pitching beer articles and found that I could sell them.

LBB: What convinced you to write & publish Around Brussels in 80 Beers?

JS: Tim Webb's Good Beer Guide Belgium was our bible for those weekend brewery and café jaunts. I've always loved guidebooks and I thought that was the best one I'd ever used, combining years of perspective with sheer usefulness and odd jokes. Meanwhile I had been exploring the beery cafés of Brussels and knew that nobody had done a decent, publishable guide to those. So I started to write one. I'd been doing the research for a few months when I learned that Tim was looking to publish one, and I thought, "It'd be tough to compete with that." So I called him up, and he connected me with Yvan de Baets. Yvan and I became co-authors, and it turned out to be a good partnership.

LBB: What's the most interesting beer experience you've ever written about?

JS: After Belgian immersion, I came back to the States and saw my home country's beer scene with a new set of eyeballs. I found it very weird and more than a bit over-the-top. It turned into an article for DRAFT, "American Beer Overkill?" As you know we're still overseas -- now in Costa Rica -- and maybe as a consequence I still find the American beer scene as bizarre as it is fun.

LBB: What advice do you have for those who want to get their work published in a major paper or magazine?

JS: Brainstorm ideas for articles based on what you know. Put a lot of thought into the better ones. Write short-but-sweet pitches that grab the attention of readers. Know about the publications to which you're pitching and what they have published lately. Know your audience and write with your voice; your perspective is an irreplaceable weapon, so use it. Do your research. Be accurate. Be useful. Take pictures.

LBB: What craft beer-related goals do you have for 2013?

JS: To work, write and publish as much as possible. To get out there for as much travel and research as I can manage. The beers and I will find each other along the way.


Thanks again to Joe, Win, Billy, Eric, Ashley, and Adam for sharing your stories! Best of luck in the coming year!

So, reader, what impact will you have on the world of craft beer?

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