Beer—it's not just something you can drink, it's something you can immerse yourself in. From local brewery hopping to beer festivals, the world of beer has a lot to explore. With the ever-changing beer industry, now is the perfect time to explore all that beer has to offer. Join us as we witness the start of a new era of beer writing, where people, place and product are equally essential in telling the tale of beer.
For those of us who write about beer for a living, it’s time to shift our focus. While product and science are essential elements of the art of beer writing, we need to do more. We need to write about people and place as much as we do about product.
Beer writing is an evolving craft and part of that evolution includes showcasing not only the beer itself but those who create, appreciate, and promote it. It’s time to explore the culture and the brewing process, just as deeply as we examine IBUs and malts. Embracing this new era of beer writing means exploring the people, places, and stories behind your favorite brews.
When we write about a beer, it’s far more than just the product itself. Beer is a community experience, one deeply rooted in celebrating relationships and sharing stories. Of course, we need to cover the basics like flavor notes, brewing history and IBUs. But let’s not forget those who make these beers: the passionate people and dedicated brewmasters who craft each sip. Let’s tell their stories.
There are passionate home brewers ready to share their aspiring stories, promising new and exciting recipes. There are veteran professionals with decades of experience in the industry and a wealth of information to share. These people have so much knowledge and experience to offer, so let’s showcase their stories.
When it comes to beer writing, it’s also essential to take an insider look at the places behind the beer. Where is the beer made and who are the folks that inhabit that space? What’s the brewing process like? What sort of challenges face the brewery and who are the people solving them? Let’s reveal the personalities, the cities, and the cultures that support the brewers and their beer.
One great example of this immersive approach to beer writing can be found in the example of the Genesee Brewery that has been brewing in Rochester, New York since the late 19th century. Behind the proper, professional environment of the brewery there’s a rich, vibrant culture full of fascinating stories. With so many distinct and delicious beers being crafted - from the rich, full-flavored Irish-style ales to the original international light lager – there’s plenty of subject matter to explore.
As a beer writer, it can be easy to default to the expected story arc of flavor, background, and context. To go beyond the basics and really showcase people and place, consider adopting creative approaches. Introducing beer crafting challenges can be a great way to deepen your articles and truly illuminate the motivations and creative efforts behind beer-making.
Try challengings folks to plan, design, and craft a beer in a brief period of time. Gather some of the most daring brewers in the industry and offer incentives. Ask them to create a beer with any and all ingredients -- as long as they’re available in the course of a week. Follow the whole process from start to finish and document their insights, mistakes, and ultimately their successes so the readers can get an inside perspective of the brewing process.
As beer writers, we need to get creative in telling the world about beer. It’s not enough to just illustrate the flavor and science of the brews, we need to go deeper. Let’s showcase the culture, the people and the places behind the beer. Let’s be the storytellers.
Here are some strategies for creating potent and compelling beer writing that showcases both product and people: