After an awesome Friday night of the Cincy Winter Beerfest with so many friends and family, I was really looking forward to Saturday’s second annual 5B: Believers in Better Beer, Bites and Blogging Conference. You may recall that I attended the inaugural conference last year and had nothing but positive things to say about it.
The lineup for this year was a little different from last but the basic idea was the same, three sessions at a time with one of each focusing on beer, bites, and blogging. We had a little extra time at the beginning this year for the coffee and conversation opening, which was nice as I was able to catch up with people who I had met the year prior and also meet some of the newcomers for this year.
Once we broke out into the hourly sessions, I focused my attention once again on the beer blogging track. The first session featured social media stories (successes and failures) from three local brewery representatives, Jason Brewer of Listermann Brewing, Patrick Clark of Mt. Carmel Brewing and Carla Gesell-Streeter of Rivertown Brewing. Turns out that Jason and Patrick both had stories similar to what Troika Brodsky of Schlafly Beer had last year. They all are performing the social media operations of their breweries in addition to other job functions within their breweries. Carla has recently helped Rivertown with their social media operations and I can attest to what a difference she is making.
Lunch was next and I promise to give a full review tomorrow of a food truck offering that I sampled. New this year was a private beer tasting we had thanks to Heidelberg Distributing, Stagnaro Distributing, Premium Distributing and Lexington Brewing. And once the beers became available many brought their tastings along with them to the afternoon sessions. I feel that this helped loosen the crowd and led to even better conversations.
The first session after lunch for the beer track was presented by Richard Dubé, Head Brewer at the Moerlein Lager House, and was titled, “And you say you don’t like beer!” It turns out that Richard gives weekly tours through the brewery at the Lager House and he almost always runs into someone who tells him that they don’t like beer. He then sees this as his personal mission to find a beer that they will in fact like. He says that it is impossible to dislike every beer, so they just haven’t had the beer that is right for them. I often feel the same way about beer and try my hardest to give suggestions to others based on their own personal tastes.
Up next we had the do’s and don’ts of beer blogging as presented by Tom Aguero of Queen City Drinks and Scott LaFollette of Blank Slate Brewing. Tom is a beer blogger and Scott is a new brewery owner, so the two put together a great list of guidelines to follow when doing beer blogging, or any blogging for that matter. Tom had kindly posted the list on his website for reference.
Demystifying The Three-Tier Beer Distribution System
The final session on beer blogging was demystifying the three-tier beer distribution system with Lindsey Bonadonna Roeper of Heidelberg Distributing, Eddie Anderson of the Craft Beer Alliance, Pnut Kahles of Dilly Café and Travis Childs of Everything’s d’Vine. While some may view the three-tier distribution system as pure evil, the panel helped to prove how it is actually beneficial to all the small craft breweries that I love. It may not be a perfect system, but it does help allocate space to the small guys, which probably would not happen if the big guys owned all the stores and distribution systems.
What was originally supposed to follow all the presentations was entry into the Industry Trade Show and Locals Tasting Session, but that was canceled by the Beerfest. Instead we had our own bottle share, glassware swap, and general networking for the next couple of hours. This was an awesome addition to the conference! I was able to sample some rare and hard to find beers thanks to the generosity of other bloggers in attendance. As Tom from Queen City Drinks tweeted, “When founders breakfast stout is the least drank beer you know your somewhere special.”
Just as I said at the end of my post on the Beerfest itself, as long as the conference is held I will definitely be a participant. Thanks Hoperatives.