The three-day, two-dinner, multi-beer International Beer Bloggers Conference is only $95 for Citizen Beer Bloggers. However, bloggers also have to pay flight costs to Denver, airport transportation, hotel for two nights, and various other expenses. With a reasonable flight of $400, the whole weekend might cost $900 (less if you share a room), a worthwhile expense if you are into your beer blogging but still a lot for some bloggers.
Two years ago, realizing the same thing was true for wine bloggers, blogger Thea Dwelle from Luscious Lushes decided to create a Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship fund. She enlisted the help of Megan Kenney (Wannabe Wino) and Liza Swift (Brix Chicks) and in no time started the scholarship.
Thea explains her decision as follows. “We started it because there were friends and strangers that were not going to be coming to the WBC due to financial hardship. It was a bad year for a lot of folks, and I thought it was silly we couldn’t all pitch in. From there it blossomed into attracting newbies and people that didn’t know about the WBC to build some diversity and community.”
The WBC Scholarship raised $3800 in 2009, distributed among 11 bloggers, and $4600 for the 2010 conference, distributed among 10 bloggers. Bloggers have to fill out a scholarship application and demonstrate real need before being selected. But once chosen, the scholarship on average helps fund 50% of the costs of the conference.
I was reading a comment on Drink With the Wench today from well-known beer blogger Jeff Alworth from Beervana who said “Wish I could join you all. Unemployment sucks. Raise a pint for all the absent bloggers!” Now, that does suck.
So what do you think? Are there beer bloggers out there who want to step up and create a BBC Scholarship Fund, appealing to bloggers and breweries for donations? Or should beer bloggers take a different tact, creating and running a Scholarship Program where local breweries fund a local blogger to attend, one-on-one? I’d love to hear your comments.
Johnny Brooke - Beer Review Dude says
If the scholarship idea took off, that would be amazing. There is no way I can afford a trip like this, as I support my wife going through graduate school. Any more details on this would be amazing!
Allan Wright says
For something like this to get off the ground, one blogger needs to take charge. That blogger would recruit a small committee (perhaps five bloggers total) to commit to the project. That committee would then establish a website, create groundrules, and start contacting bloggers and breweries to get the job done. It is not a huge project but does require one person to step forward first.
Steven Ward says
Yeah….I already registered, and will book my airfare this week….I’m just having problems getting the money for the hotel….if I can figure that out, I’ll be all set
Jeff Alworth says
I wonder if you could get some “corporate” sponsors–or rather, a fund by craft breweries. Bloggers are now one of the most important parts of the media organism of craft brewing, and if you got a consortium to offer $50-$100, you could fund quite a number of bloggers. Even partial scholarships would open it up for more folks.
Until, that is, someone figures out how to monetize blogging….
Brendan Kergin says
I think it sounds like a great idea. I know that I’m still debating my fiscal ability, and that’s probably not uncommon. However, at the same time, I know local brewers (Victoria, BC, Canada) often sponsor local events to a certain extent and are supportive of community efforts which, in turn, creates a community engaged with the micros instead of the macros. In other words, I think they’re into that sorta thing.
Also, would CAMRA be an organization to contact with this idea?
Steven Ward says
I feel the same way as the other two…I’m going….but financially, it’s going to be by the skin of my teeth. I’m so passionate about this cause that I’m going to try to save/raise enough to go. I feel like being in the DC area, the beer scene is growing and will skyrocket over the next year or two. I want to be there because I want to be in the right spot at the right time, and I feel like I will be, even if it means emptying my bank account.
Here is my take. Breweries will benefit if there is a large, high-quality community of bloggers that have good outreach to the public. More, better beer bloggers ultimately mean more craft beer sales. The Beer Bloggers Conference will help make that happen by motivating existing and new beer bloggers and providing them with knowledge to improve their trade.
On a local basis, the same holds true. A brewery in X city will benefit if there is a strong base of local bloggers tell readers about their beers.
John Kleinchester says
Interesting idea! I know for me that money is the one thing holding me back from attending. I’m sure its also the case for others as well. I guess my question would be, what would breweries motivation for funding a bloggers’ visit?