The Penultimate Session, #141: The Future of Beer Blogging

A woman toasting with a glass of beer.

Ugh, blogging about blogging… But, then again, we’ve not indulged for a while, and the news that the Session is expiring seems like a good moment.

The Ses­sion start­ed a month before we com­menced our (cal­en­dar check) 11 year, 7 month beer blog­ging adven­ture, and has been a reas­sur­ing con­stant.

There have been times when, slight­ly lost and dis­en­gaged from blog­ging, the Ses­sion pulled us back – part cre­ative writ­ing prompt, part warm hug.

When it near­ly died a few years ago we were for­lorn, but then every­one seemed to ral­ly and it was saved. Kind of.

Like one of those TV shows that comes back for a weird final sea­son on some stream­ing plat­form or oth­er, it nev­er quite felt the same.

As Jay Brooks says in his call to arms for this mon­th’s Ses­sion, few­er and few­er peo­ple took part, and hosts seemed hard to find.

So, as Jay and Stan sail off to the west in one of those elf boats, here we are for the sec­ond to last time, doing our duty: Jay wants to know what we think about the future of beer blog­ging, and we’re going to tell him.

First, we refuse to be gloomy. Every Sat­ur­day morn­ing we find plen­ty of great posts that we think are worth shar­ing, and those pieces seems more adven­tur­ous, styl­ish, eru­dite and var­ied than much of what was around a decade ago.

More often these days, though, great blogs arrive, blos­som, and then with­er when their authors aban­don them to go pro­fes­sion­al. Yes, it might feel as if all the mag­a­zines are clos­ing but we reck­on there are more pay­ing out­lets for beer writ­ing in the UK now than a decade ago. That’s good for writ­ers, but bad news if you’ve a pref­er­ence for dri­ven, ambi­tious blog­ging.

In gen­er­al, we’d say the feel­ing of glob­al com­mu­ni­ty has dimin­ished, but that’s not a whinge. It’s been replaced (prob­a­bly for the best) by many active, more local­ly-focused sub-com­mu­ni­ties: the pub crawlers, the his­to­ri­ans, the tast­ing note gang, the pod­cast­ers, the social issues crew, the jostling pros and semi-pros, the pis­stak­ers, and so on.

That can be mild­ly dis­con­cert­ing if you don’t want to pick a tribe, we sup­pose.

And broad­er com­mu­ni­ty activ­i­ty does con­tin­ue, just not often in the form of labo­ri­ous­ly inter­linked blog posts. Instead, it cen­tres around social media hash­tags, some­times gen­tly com­mer­cial­ly dri­ven: check out #Beer­Bods, #Craft­Beer­Hour and #Lets­Beer­Pos­i­tive for a few exam­ples.

These are light in tone, easy to engage with, and don’t require any­body to set aside an hour under the angle­poise with a jug of cof­fee and a the­saurus. You can respond from the sofa, in front of the tel­ly with a can of pas­try stout, or while you’re at the pub.

So, on bal­ance, we see the future of blog­ging as being much like its past – some­times sup­port­ive, some­times bad-tem­pered, over-emo­tion­al, churn­ing like pri­mor­dial soup as blogs are born in fits of tip­sy enthu­si­asm and die of ennui – but also more frac­tured, more var­ied, and less cosy.

And less about blogs.

4 thoughts on “The Penultimate Session, #141: The Future of Beer Blogging”

  1. I’ve been doing lots of research on The Wind­sock in Dun­sta­ble and have built quite an archive of mate­r­i­al about it, from pic­tures (can­did and for­mal), to archi­tects plans, to inter­views with for­mer employ­ees and land­lords (I even com­mis­sioned a CGI mod­el of it). I’d love to write you an arti­cle about it and what it means to me per­son­al­ly if you’re inter­est­ed?

  2. I have just found your blog and am in the process of read­ing through the old mate­r­i­al.
    Very inter­est­ing, elab­o­rate­ly writ­ten arti­cles. Thank you for your time! I am learn­ing a lot about British beer (ale) and pub cul­ture. Cheers from a home­brew­er from Hun­gary!

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