As I’m writing this Monday, I’m sitting at Boston’s Logan Airport, waiting to head back to Florida after the weekend’s 2013 Beer Bloggers Conference. I won’t bore you with the details of what I learned that will make me a better writer and blogger, but I’d be glad to have that conversation with you in person over a pint if you’re interested.
Nor will I evoke jealousy by chronicling all the fantastic beer that I sampled and tasted and the wonderful friends, old and new, that I shared those beers with, as well as some of craft beer’s most famous and interesting people. Well, I’ll make one exception further down.
What I want to share is a little about the presentation I made on Sunday morning in a session where a few bloggers gave five-minute presentations on subjects of their choosing. Mine was titled “Florida Craft Beer: Growing Under the Radar.”
The gist of the presentation was using the Florida craft beer scene to illustrate how to spread the word to the country and the world about your local craft beer community when it is not well-known to others. But how unknown are Florida craft breweries to those outside the state? Keep in mind that the audience, though a bit bleary-eyed, were smart folks, many of whom were fairly savvy about craft beer and breweries.
Of course, I heard “Cigar City.” Someone mentioned Florida Beer Co. (they were a sponsor of the conference and were pouring samples the night before). I think I heard “Saint Somewhere.” A few mumbled responses.
I then flashed on the screen a series of PowerPoint slides with the logos and names of all 67 breweries currently in the Sunshine State, and then got into the wonky part of the slide for my fellow bloggers. But the response to the slides was one of amazement and bewilderment, which could be summarized as “How can Florida have so many breweries that we never heard of? All we knew about was Cigar City?”
My point of relating this is that all of the state’s craft beer fans should be ambassadors of Florida beer when traveling or talking to visitors to the state. The more people who know about your favorite local brewpub or brewery, the more who will go there to spend money and help spread the word. This means more cash flow for the brewery, which means more money to grow, which means more jobs, which is good for all of us. (and heck. You might get one of those jobs!)
And don’t forget to not only share the love, but share the beer! Bring some along on your travels to share and/or trade. I carried some beers from Cigar City, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Pensacola Brewery and Three Palms Brewery – and they did not last long! Of course, I’m bringing back some yummy New England craft beer.
Still thirsty after all these years.
Today and tomorrow, New Belgium finally, officially launches in Florida. I received a list of locations, but it is looooooooong and not formatted that well for republication. However, bars/restaurants who are participating have been advertising for weeks, so you should already now if your favorite watering hole will have it.
Taking a break
You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting too much here lately. The main reason is that I’m finishing a “Florida Breweries” guidebook for the Stackpole Books “Brewery Series.” It’s crunch time, so I’m putting this blog on hiatus for a little while to work on that project. I will continue posting on the site’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Rest assured that I already had plans for improving the Beer in Florida site, and now that I’ve attended the Beer Bloggers Conference, I’m full of it. Ideas that is.
Drinking in history
Finally, my one one brag in this post from the Beer Bloggers Conference. Boston Beer Co. founder Jim Koch delivered the conference’s opening keynote address at the Samuel Adams Boston brewery. Afterwards, we were treated to a great dinner and a tasting of the 10th anniversary Utopias in the barrel-aging room. We went in groups on that one, and I was in the last group, which included Heavy Seas founder Hugh Sisson, who along with Koch was among the pioneers in craft beer east of the Mississippi. To listen to the two talk about the “old days” and mutual friends in the industry was an experience I’ll treasure forever. Oh, and the Utopias, which I had never tasted before, was as fantastic as I had heard.