Five reasons to start a new beer biz blog

This is one of those classic tail-wags-the-dog stories, so bear with me. The question you may be asking yourselves is a fair one: Why start a beer blog for the business-savvy readers of ibmadison.com when other industries (say, Segway accessory sales or artificial circus peanut color manufacturing) are at least as worthy of such treatment?

Good question. Of course, in the past, I’ve found that the simplest and by far the most honest answer to these kinds of questions (i.e., I want to) is not always the “correct” one, and it therefore behooves me to do my rhetorical due diligence before going any further.

To be completely frank (commence dog-wagging now), when I first thought about doing a beer blog for IB, the only reason I could muster was that it would give me a chance to combine my two greatest (pre-marriage) loves – writing and beer – into something that at least resembles a productive pursuit. Now, I’ll never tell you which of those two loves is greater in my eyes, because that would surely put me in an unsavory light. But if you really want to know, request my college transcripts. That should tell you everything you need to know right there.

So in this, the inaugural Breu-Ha-Ha post, I’d like to set forth my top five (entirely ad hoc) reasons for launching a beer blog, and then just briefly touch on my plan of action. Crack open a beer (if you’re not at work, that is) and read along.

Reason No. 1: Reporters go where the stories are, and if there just happens to be a beer waiting there, hey, bonus. The craft beer (and spirits) business is not just booming, it’s taking on an almost kaleidoscopic vitality, with new microbreweries and brands continually springing up like hops in Hallertau. According to the Brewers Association, in 2011, sales of craft brews grew 13% by volume and 15% by dollars compared to the previous year, even as overall beer sales dropped (1.3% by volume and 1.2% by dollars). While craft brewers’ overall market share is still in the single digits, it’s growing fast, and it may be some time before we see a ceiling.

Reason No. 2: Beer is important. Business itself may have started with beer. What product could possibly be appealing enough to get hunter-gatherer slackers off their butts, into the grain fields, later into factories and offices, and then finally back onto their butts (on civilized barstools this time)? Many researchers have long thought it’s beer.

According to these learned men and women, beer might have been the spark that ignited the agricultural revolution, ultimately leading to the civilization we know today. Writes Charles Q. Choi in LiveScience, “Signs that people went to great lengths to obtain grains despite the hard work needed to make them edible, plus the knowledge that feasts were important community-building gatherings, support the idea that cereal grains were being turned into beer.”

In other words, beer (or rather the pursuit of beer) made people industrious. You might say, then, that it is the very cradle of business.

 

Reason No. 3: It’s of local interest. New Glarus Brewing Co., Capital Brewery, Lake Louie Brewing, Ale Asylum, Great Dane Pub & Brewery, Sprecher Brewing Co., Tyranena Brewing Co., Port Huron Brewing Co., Titletown Brewing Co., Hinterland Brewing, and Fox River Brewing Co. are just a few of the regional and statewide craft brewers who are helping to make brewing such an exciting and relevant business topic. There are lots of interesting stories out there, and people are interested in them. Which brings us to …

Reason No. 4: The readers have spoken. We see which stories readers click on, and for whatever reason, you seem to like beer, wine, and spirits. Whether it’s a story on Madison’s Craft Beer Week or our recent IBTV feature on Ale Asylum, beer-related content is a fan favorite. So this just makes sense.

Reason No. 5: Hey, we all might learn something. I don’t pretend to be a beer connoisseur, but I know what I like. And I want to find out what’s happening in the beer biz so I can experience the best the industry has to offer before I quaff my final porter, preferably on my deathbed/death-barstool. What better way to discover – and share – what’s happening in the wonderful world of beer?

While this blog will retain a strong focus on craft brewing, old-fashioned macrobrews will get some ink as well, and I won’t be averse to discussing the business of wines and spirits once in a while. So if you have a brewing story to tell, contact me at tom@ibmadison.com and we’ll talk beer. I look forward to it.

Cheers.

Sign up for the free IB Update – your weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. Click hereIf you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.