Taking It to the Next Level

Note: This was written live as the presentation was happening and posted as soon as it finished so I apologise for any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

The panelists were beer bloggers Mark Dredge from Pencil and Spoon, Marverine Cole from Beer Beauty, and Zak Avery from The Beer Boy.

Mark: Creative writing degree, space in the beer blogging world for another blog. Got a social media job at a big university, helped him learn even more about it. Took the blogging a bit further with twissups and Open It!. Getting up at 5am to write the blog as it was the only time he had to spare.

Got a published paid-for piece which pushed him further still. Moved on from the uni to a social media PR company tweeting about hospitality, polishing glasses, etc. - pretty boring stuff. Started talking to Camden Town Brewery about doing their social media for them. Deals with all their marketing, branding, etc. Enlightening to see what is on the 'other side'.

Finds it difficult now to blog about certain topics because he now works for a brewery - should he mention his brewery or not?

His next step is to write a beer book, which got accepted around six weeks ago.

Zak: Was finishing off his PHD and walked past BeerRitz and noticed that they were hiring and so took the job. Moved from studying for his PHD to managing the beer shop. Wine tastings were popular but no one was really pushing beer tastings. First couple were terrible, due to lack of planning but he carried on refining the sessions.

He noticed a conversation occurring in the beer blogging world rather than just top-down information pushing so he started blogging.

Twist of fate meant that he was able to buy BeerRitz and it's wholesale company.

Marverine: Has an MA in journalism and trained as a news presenter, done radio and TV and continues to work in the industry.

Used to be a wine drinker but started to explore the beer world and hasn't stopped. Wanted her beer blog to be different, a bit girlie almost a fashion blog for beer. Wanted to push the video side as that was her background.

Started to set up beer tastings for women, very stressful when you are holding down a day job too. Event was setup for fifty women, ended up being oversubscribed, ended up with seventy women!

Showed a short, excellently produced film of snippets of what she's done for beer on TV in the past year or so. Need to push the beer message out to the general masses, that's the only way that opinion and sales of beer is going to increase.

Zak: Was asked to write the 500 Beers book, joined the British Guild of Beer Writers and asked for help on writing a book brief. When he asked the publisher why they approached him to write the book they said it was because of the wealth of information on his blog. He also started to experiment with short video reviews recording and publishing unedited videos on YouTube.

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