Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do when not in front of a computer. This week, editor Ben Huberman shares his experience from the annual European Beer Bloggers Conference, an annual gathering of brewers, beer lovers, and bloggers who are one or the other (or both).
One of the best aspects of my work is that I get to interact with bloggers on a daily basis, whether it’s in an email to a blogger featured on Discover, the comments section at The Daily Post, or the Blogging U. Commons. Still, meeting WordPress users in real life is a particular pleasure. It’s a real privilege to see the faces and hear the stories of the people who bring our software to life.
This year’s European Beer Bloggers Conference was held in pint-obsessed Dublin, Ireland. The jovial atmosphere on the streets was alive and well in the conference as well, from the craft brewers who were excited to offer a taste of their ales and stouts, to the staff of the beautiful venue — a converted church that once hosted the wedding of Arthur Guinness (founder of guess-which-beer-dynasty).
The conference brought together a diverse, multinational crowd, from Polish beer guru Tomasz Kopyra to Irish craft-beer documentarian Sean Monaghan, with many other representatives from Belgium, England, Austria, and other countries (and even one Floridian — Carol Dekkers, aka the blogger behind MicroBrews USA).
We often say that blogging is all about community. It was wonderful to see how what might sound like a platitude is, in fact, true.
Over the course of the two-day event, I constantly saw bloggers helping each other out, sharing tips, promoting each other’s posts on social media, and, above all, simply enjoying the camaraderie of their far-flung beer buddies. It was just as impressive to see the collective power and influence wielded by citizen bloggers, who drew the attention of big industry names like Fergal Murray, Master Brewer at Guinness, and Vaclav Berka, Pilsner-Urquell’s Brewmaster.
Fellow Automattician Derek Springer, a home brewer and beer expert (who also happens to be a Code Wrangler), attended as well, and was very much in his element. Derek gave an excellent, full-bodied talk about the ways in which bloggers can maximize the impact and reach of their stories.
And such great stories they are — over the course of the conference, I chatted with numerous bloggers who are using their sites to tell theirs. People like beer historian Martin Cornell, who wrote an extensive history of British beer, or Belgium-based Breandan Kearney, who runs a beer-and-chocolate blog with his wife, Elisa (he covers beer, she’s on the chocolate beat).
Thirsty for more beer-blogging goodness? Try Liverpudlian author Chris Routledge’s site, or Irish blogger Simon Broderick.
If you’ve been blogging for a while and yearn for face-to-face interaction with like-minded writers, a blogging conference, whether general interest or niche, might be just what you’re looking for. Even if you don’t yet know any of the attendees, you’re bound to make new friends (and follow a bunch of new blogs) in no time. (For a crash course on blogging conferences, check out our handy guide).
In case a beer bloggers conference sounds like the Best Thing Ever but you were nowhere near Dublin last week, you’re in luck. The people behind this event in Dublin are also organizing the American edition of this conference in San Diego, California, in August, and WordPress.com will be there as well. If you make it, be sure to stop by our table for some beer talk, blog talk, and swag.