Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Beer Bloggers Conference: What is it?

The inaugural European Beer Bloggers Conference is coming to London on the 20-22 May 2011. I am helping with the organising and my role is to find breweries and speakers and keep people informed about what’s going to be happening. Bloggers have started signing up and we’re approach a fifth of the capacity already (we can squeeze 100 in), without much promotion. This is a post explaining more about what the Conference is and what it is not, for those who want to know a little more.

It’s a weekend of beer filled with informative sessions from a range of different people on a range of different topics, plus a couple of evening sessions where we can really concentrate on the drinking. We also get two dinners (one with the good side of MolsonCoors - maybe now including Sharp’s! - and the other with Wells&Young’s) paired with different beers plus we get a few hours at Fuller’s on the Sunday which includes a brewery tour and a tasting (and maybe more depending on what extra sessions we can arrange!). The whole thing is available to anyone who blogs, writes or works or is involved in food and drink and wants to attend.

It’s a chance for European beer bloggers (and there are lots of us!) to get together in one place. It’s a social thing as much as anything else, an opportunity to meet friends new and old and bring social media into real life. The best thing I’ve found about being a beer blogger is how great it is to hang out with other bloggers or brewers or just beer lovers – there’s nothing like it and no other industry comes close in terms of the people. It’s also really beneficial to meet with brewers (and for them to meet with bloggers) and learn a little more about what they are like and ask and answer questions.

As I am trying to get the sponsors, I’m now going after the breweries and speakers who I think people will be most interested in seeing there (if you’ve got suggestions then say!). Imagine the bottle party night which has eight of the best breweries in the UK all pouring their best beers for you? And a Live Blogging event where we get really interesting beers brought to our table and are told about them? (Before anyone asks… I don’t know if we’ll get any cask/keg beers during the conference itself due to the venue limitations – we will have it in the evenings). All the attending breweries will be announced in the coming months, as will attendees as they sign up.

It costs £65 and that gets you everything involved with the Conference, which includes two beer dinners and everything you can drink during the days and evenings (you won’t go wanting for booze!). The only thing you’ll need to pay for is hotels and travel (which might include a tube trip or two). That’s a seriously good price for what you get, right?

The agenda is currently blank (with a few pencil marks) because we want to know more about what you would like to see, so leave any suggestions below or email me or Allan, the organiser at Zephyr Adventures. Possible ideas so far include: a twitter blind-tasting (drink a beer, send tasting notes to twitter, guess what it is, all of which we can track online) followed by a discussion on twitter validity or using twitter well (or similar); an off-flavour session where we taste off-flavours in spiked beers and learn what makes them ‘off’; open debates about industry issues; a tech-session on products; a session about maximising SEO; debates about issues involved with blogging (copyrights, use of video, sponsors, etc); how to use social media better; Live Blogging where breweries bring bottles to us like the best speed dating event you’ll ever experience; PR and social media; food and beer pairing; making the step from online to print; and much more... Also, what topics would you be interested in for keynote speakers? The future of beer writing? The beer industry from a brewer’s point of view? Why social media is important from a brewer’s point of view? A general talk about social media and its importance? Beer around the world?

The Conference is not a trade show. Yes, it relies on sponsors, but it isn’t about them, it’s about us, the attendees. And anyway, would 20 breweries giving you free stuff and talking to you about beer be such a bad thing?

It also won’t be boring. It might be called a Conference, but remove images of dull lectures from your mind. This will be filled with interactive sessions about topics which are hopefully of general interest to the community of beer lovers, plus many of them will also contain actual beer for you to drink during it.

I understand that some people don’t know what the Conference is or why they should go. I thought the same until I went to the one in Colorado in November. What it is is a great chance to be with other bloggers (beer, food and wine are all attending), drink some good beers, socialise, meet brewers and industry professionals and maybe even learn something or come away thinking about blogging or beer differently. Whether this Conference will make us better bloggers, I don’t know, but it will be a great few days. 

It won’t be for everyone, I’m sure, but for those who are interested they will definitely get a lot from it. I really hope lots of bloggers attend because it’s going to be a great event - a unique event - bringing together the best of brewing and blogging in one room and mixing it up with lots of information and lots of fun, plus a couple of dinners and plenty of beer. It’s also around the same time as we’d be having a Twissup and it’s an opportunity to get into London and also visit a few pubs or breweries (which we can maybe make part of the weekend). Plus, as I’ve said, you can’t beat the price of £65 for incredible beer and two beer dinners! You can sign up at and more information will be up there regularly.

Who is planning on going and what sort of sessions would you like to see there? 


  1. very, very, very tempting.

    My girlfriends family live in London so no hotel costs...

    How long would the conference last? I mean is it 9-5 then a night session!?

  2. Hi Mark, as you know I'm going to be there. I love the idea of the off flavours in beer. Really nice idea. I would love to see an analysis of hop varieties with a tasting of single hopped beers to highlight the different characteristics that they bring to the beers

  3. Neil - Friday will be signing up from 12pm, starting at 2pm-ish, and lasting until we pass out (probably leaving the venue abuot 9ish and going somewhere else). Saturday will be 10-bedtime, being in the venue from 10-5. Sunday is 10-2ish with there likely being something after. It'll be a big weekend!

    Sam - cheers for this, nice ideas!

  4. Hey Mark and everyone else,
    I was at the conference in Colorado last year. It is hands down worth the money. And yes, everyday the conference lasts until you pass out.