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.