expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beer Geeks and Pink Boots

The rapid expansion of the craft beer industry --15 percent growth in national sales for the first half of 2011 --has been amazing to watch. There are new breweries popping up all over the country now, some in places where many thought it would ever happen.

As the times and fortunes of the industry have changed, so has the way it markets itself collectively and individually. The business was once driven by predominantly by handshakes, face-to-face conversations and traditional marketing. Today, it is increasingly driven by electronic media, particularly web blogs and social media chatter produced by forces outside the industry's control.

Perhaps because it attracts a younger crowd, the craft beer industry was quick to grasp the importance of new media. If you want to know what's happening around your local beer scene, the places to go are Facebook, Twitter or blogs. Here in Portland, and you suspect in many other places, the beer buzz is high pitched. There's almost always something worthy going on and the community is wired to share the information.

This coming weekend, some of geeks who write the blogs and social media posts will gather in Portland for the 2011 Beer Bloggers Conference. This event is a partner to one that already occurred in London several months ago. Highly successful, it was. We'll spend time meeting people we only know from online interactions, tasting beers, rubbing elbows with industry people and generally having a pretty good time.

Part of the program on Saturday evening is a party at the Baghdad theater during which we will see the world premiere of  Alison Grayson's documentary on women in the craft beer industry, The Love of Beer. The film focuses on women who are leaders in the Pacific Northwest beer community.

It probably doesn't surprise anyone to hear that women are a vast minority in the expanding craft beer industry. Of some 50,000 craft beer workers nationwide, only 598 currently belong to the Pink Boots Society. The society is an organization for women in the industry.

Although it's a story too long to be told here, brewing has not always been a male-dominated profession. Women from ancient times through the middle ages performed brewing as part of their household chores. That changed with the coming of the industrial revolution, when brewing became more of a production job. The industry has remained heavily male-dominated, but things are at least beginning to change.

I'm looking forward to a fun-filled and highly educational weekend. I'll be posting thoughts from the conference and it's events. Your comments are welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it civil, please.