The Session this month is hosted by a brewery, Community Beer Works, on whose behalf Dan asks:
Do you want your feeds clear of businesses, or do you like when a brewery engages with people? Can you think of anyone who does it particularly well, or poorly?
Let’s break that down.
1. Do we want our feeds clear of businesses? No, we do not. Businesses make the beer, and we spend an inordinate amount of time observing businesses, interviewing people from businesses, and wondering what businesses will do next. We opt in to the Tweets and Facebook updates of plenty of breweries — amazing, really, when you think of the lengths we and others go to to avoid advertising in other contexts.
2. Do we like when a brewery engages with people? Yes, to an extent, in a way, within certain parameters. We love it when brewers answer technical questions with (apparent) honesty, or ask questions of the people who drink their beer. It’s great when they reveal a little of what makes them tick, or tell us things we wouldn’t otherwise know — a sense that we’re being rewarded for following with ‘the inside skinny’. As consumers, the more engagement we can get, the better; with our little writers’ hats on, though, a little distance is appropriate: we can’t really be pals.
3. Who’s really good at it? Richard Burhouse at Magic Rock seems to strike the right balance of openness and good taste, never seeming any less than honest. John Keeling at Fuller’s dispenses bite-sized nuggets of wisdom which, one day, will be compiled into a little book for other brewers to keep in their blazer pockets. Fergus Fitzgerald at Adnams gives a real sense of what it is like to be head brewer at an old family brewery: he answers questions freely, and comes across as warm and genuine. And this post sharing every last detail of a highly-regarded recipe from last week, sharing every last detail of a highly-regarded recipe, was great. What they all have in common, we guess, is that there’s no sense of the hard sell about them, and no feeling of being PRd at.