We organizers try our best to create great content for the Beer Bloggers Conference. We solicit input from bloggers and past attendees. We talk with people who suggest panels to envision how their ideas will actually work. We check with key bloggers to get feedback on the ideas boiling to the service.
Ultimately, though, it is a bit of a crapshoot. The panels we create have often never before been offered – anywhere – and so we have no way to know if they will work or not.
This year, we purposefully steered away from hard blogging topics (monetization, writing, search engine optimization) because a) we covered them last year and b) they didn’t seem to be what our beer blogger attendees wanted to hear. Instead, we focused on topics related to the beer and beer blogging industry. Luckily, this seemed to work great. Here were our panels for the day:
- Learning from Industry Beer Bloggers
- Working With Your Local Brewery
- Panel: Lessons from Portland as a Beer (and Beer Blogging) City
- Blogging About (and Changing) Beer Laws
- The Beer Steward Program from the Master Brewers Assoc. of the Americas
That is a lot of content – with little beer drinking – and my feeling was this really worked great. People were attentive, discussions were interesting, and every panel could have kept going another 15-30 minutes with no lag in the attention of the audience. Hats off to the bloggers and industry folks who prepared in advance, spend part of Saturday, and contributed to the success of the day.
I realize those of you who did not attend won’t know from the list above how interesting the conversations were. And I don’t think my words will help. You’ll just have to ask someone who did attend – or sign up to join us in 2012.
All this was followed, of course, by beer tasting. We immediately went into Live Beer Blogging, where bloggers tasted eight different beers from eight different breweries in a round-robin, speed-dating format. We finished the night at BridgePort Brewery, which went all out to provide us with a private room, have their head brewer say a few words, lead brewery tours, and put out an awesome dinner spread for us. Oh, and pour as much of their beers as we wanted.
It’s a fun conference to organize.