The first Friday of each month brings together beer bloggers around a common topic under the banner of The Session. This month Ding’s Beer Blog hosts, giving us the topic Your role in the beer ‘scene’:
So, where do you see yourself? Are you simply a cog in the commercial machine if you work for a brewery, store or distributor? Are you nothing more than an interested consumer? Are you JUST a consumer? Are you a beer evangelist? Are you a wannabe, beer ‘professional’? Are you a beer writer? All of the above? Some of the above? None of the above? Where do you fit, and how do you see your own role in the beer landscape?
A reminder: you cannot trust me. Consider everything I say or do, as it regards to beer, as suspect. I’ve written about this before: we largely consider marketing to be gross and avoid it as much as possible, but anti-marketing is itself marketing. We try to act as honest and forthright about that as we can, but it doesn’t change the truth.
Now then, down to business: I’ve thought a lot about my place in the beer community, though I may not have written about it directly. As I said: I own a brewery. Like it or not, pretty much the entirety of my role with beer has to be “brewery owner” now.
I try to rebel as I can, though: I used to be a “beer blogger” with Ethan at Beer-O-Vision. I wanted to continue that, and here we are. I often joke that I’ve suckered you all into reading my personal blog, which in many ways is true: I try to tie posts into beer with varying degrees of success, but I write about what I want to write about and have obliquely and directly used my posts as a way to work through personal issues. While everything I do I do for Community Beer Works, this space is distinctly “mine”.
My place in the “beer scene” (as broad and useless a term as that is) has changed throughout the years, as all things change. I first became active in a community in an online homebrewing forum. That then took a backseat to the local homebrewing scene when I joined the Niagara Association of Homebrewers, eventually becoming president of the club. So, for quite a while my place was “homebrewer”.
I simultaneously wrote for Beer-O-Vision with Ethan. I considered myself a beer blogger as well, though that certainly resembled “fake it til you make it”1. Cards on the table: I once edited a post twice because I didn’t know if Stone or Rogue made Arrogant Bastard. I never really grew out of the “write what you think other people want to read” mentality there, though I did write a multi-post piece on visiting Chicago I wish I could find again.
Blogging about other breweries when you own one seems fraught with danger, so I mostly stopped once CBW began. I still wrote, about our progress and beer generally, but I no longer felt like I could say “I drank this beer, I thought ___.” Similarly, my position as homebrewer atrophied and shrunk into a single point, disappearing with an audible pop, as the free time I had spent going to meetings instead became used for meetings and building a cooler.
I have grown in one noticeable way: I used to be a huge introvert, someone who should have sought professional help for his anxiety a decade before he did, but now when I go to a bar I’ll probably have someone to talk to. I don’t go to as many events as I’d like — for instance, I still haven’t actually gone to anything the Beer Goddesses have put on — but when I do, leaving becomes an extended affair of handshakes and waves and goodbyes. I’m still not used to that feeling, especially how much I sincerely enjoy it.
Nobody stays the same forever. I don’t want to. I like myself now more than I probably ever have, and I hope you feel the same way about yourself. I might not consider myself a homebrewer anymore, and my writing has certainly changed, but I’m still “here”, wherever that is, and I don’t see myself going anywhere any time soon.
Well, until early next year when I announce I’m leaving CBW to pursue dungeon mastering full time.
I’ll let you know when I’ve stopped faking it. ↩