They know each other by their blogs: The Beer Wench, 2 Beer Guys, Fermentally Challenged, Beer Goggins, and many, many others. Maybe they've run into each other a beer conference or tasting on one side of the country or another.
But for the most part, these beer bloggers have never met in person.
That may change in November, when a Montana travel company with Colorado connections hosts the nation's first major beer bloggers conference in Boulder.
The Beer Bloggers & Social Media Conference, November 5-7, will be sponsored by Oskar Blues, Boulder Beer and the Colorado Brewers Guild, among others, and could include up to 150 beer bloggers and others hopheads involved with social media, says Allan Wright of Zephyr Adventures, which runs cycling, hiking and wine tours around thew world.
Zephyr also hosts the North American Wine Bloggers Conference, now in year three, which Wright admittedly started as a marketing tool -- a way to get his wine tours and trips in front of bloggers who could write about them and help him make a buck.
"But the wine bloggers conference quickly surpassed any ideas we had about using it as a marketing tool," Wright says. "It took on a life of its own and it really helped solidify the wine bloggers. We thought this is something beer bloggers should be doing too."
The most recent wine bloggers conference attracted 300 people, so Wright belives he can get at least half as many beer bloggers to show up in Boulder.
He has a list of 340 "citizen beer bloggers who aren't related to a brewery, company or newspaper in North America," along with a couple hundred brewery-related blogger and thirty or so bloggers associated with newspaper (like Westword).
Wright chose Boulder for the location because he lives there, and although he thought about holding the conference around the Great American Beer Festival, which takes place in Denver every September, he says the brewers asked him not to. "They're so busy at that time they wouldn't be ready to support it," he says.
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Will the conference work? Will a group of sometimes ornery beer drinkers and bloggers who are used to facing their computers be able to come together and face each other?
Wright says on the conference website that he wants the bloggers themselves to decide how it should be run. "Beer bloggers will be able to participate in deciding what content will be at the conference, who will speak, how the conferences can be improved, and where future conferences will be."
As such, he's asked nationally known blogger Ashley Routson, The Beer Wench, along with Colorado bloggers Chuck at Beer at 6512, Rick at Big Foamy Head and Eli and Erik at Beer Tap TV (Eli also writes at Confessions of a Beer Geek) to be advisors.