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Embrace Your Inner Beer Geek!
Sure, there are plenty of brewers who know how to craft a good beer, but let’s be honest, few have the skills required to properly pimp their own beer. Far too many fail at: sending out press releases, creating websites that are useful (or updating them), setting up mailing lists, hounding their local press for mentions, hosting events, creating a cohesive brand and message, advertising, or even bothering to be noticed at all.
Enter the beer geek.
Love ’em or hate ’em, beer geeks—wicked-passionate beer lovers—play a key roll in the beer industry, particularly when it comes to today’s booming craft beer scene. When given a platform to gather and geek on, these zealous, self-appointed beer critics can put an unknown brewery on the map, command attention from brewers and the press, pack an event, boost sales, influence other drinkers, bars and shops, or even have a finger in setting the direction of the industry as a whole. Even the solo beer geek can make an impact.
Right about now, you’re either asking yourself, “How?” or calling bullshit on us. Maybe both. But consider the impact of the web. It’s where the modern-day beer geek was born, and as we type this, there are just shy of 100,000 registered users on BeerAdvocate.com. Hundreds of them are online this very second, learning, reviewing, talking and geeking. All of this will translate to over 12 million true visits and over 70 million page views a year, and those figures are growing. And while levels of beer geekery will vary, past user polls suggest that BeerAdvocate.com members are spending well over $125 million a year on beer. And that’s on the low end.
Given all of this, it’s no surprise that industry professionals like Greg Koch (Stone Brewing Company), Garrett Oliver (Brooklyn Brewery), Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head), Nick Floyd (Three Floyds), Gary Fish (Deschutes Brewery), Omar Ansari (Surly Brewing Company), Larry Bell (Bell’s Brewery), George Reisch (Anheuser-Busch) and hundreds of other brewers and industry pros are participating daily on BeerAdvocate.com. Hell, some breweries have literally built their businesses by tapping into the online beer geek scenes. We’ve even seen people get jobs on the strength of their online involvement.
Now pair this with the thousands of other beer websites, forums, personal pages, email lists, blogs and whatnot on the web, and you’ve got a powerful network of beer geeks that are supporting, agitating and changing the beer scenes of the world on a daily basis, all powered by nothing more than a love of beer and an internet connection. That’s pretty kickass, if you ask us.
So for all you industry types out there: The next time you see a beer geek, shake his hand, give her a hug, and thank them for their support, because beer geeks are the ultimate grassroots marketing tool for the beer industry.
Respect Beer. ■