Ever since I attended my 1st (and the first) Beer Bloggers Conference in 2010 in Boulder, CO, I’ve wondered if the event would ever grace the tropical shores of Tampa Bay, and this year (the 7th annual event) – the Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference does just that July 8-10, 2016 at the Marriott Waterside Hotel in Tampa.
Our Tampa Bay region joins many in the nation where craft beer (and cider and distilling) has exploded exponentially since 2010. The result is a $20+ billion dollar national industry that refuses to slow down.
In Mar 2011, the website BeerandWhiskeyBros.com wrote:
2016: Are craft beverages a “bubble”?
With over 15 states in the U.S. boasting over 100 functioning craft breweries (including Florida!), an exponential growth rate of breweries opening (see the curve above) and an emerging millennial (Generation Y) population of over 66 million residents whose preference is craft beer, it’s safe to say that it’s a bubble that’s here to stay.
U.S. Innovation Leads the World in Craft Brewing
For over 20 year I’ve spoken on software engineering, leadership and project management topics worldwide — and watched the U.S. move from a position of dominance to one of survivability as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies beat us with their low labor costs in software development. The innovation and imagination in IT (Information Technology) that once led us to a number one position, fell away when cost-cutting and outsourcing became the norm.
It’s that same sense of innovation, adventure and imagination that propelled U.S. craft brewing to the top of the world game. Using techniques and styles reminiscent of old European recipes (German and Belgian styles in particular,) the leading U.S., craft brewers add imagination and stretch the boundaries of what once was a mass-produced, close-to-purified-water industry. We’re at the point today where the craft brewing world looks to the U.S. for new ingredients, styles and collaborations. In the U.S., Craft Breweries are defined by the Brewers Association as being small, independent and traditional.
Craft Beer Gives Bloggers and Writers Tons of Content
The gathering of Beer Bloggers and Writers boasts a range of writers and writing styles: from professional reporters for big name newspapers and journals, to mom-and-pop blogs for independent beer stores, to blogs for distributors/wholesalers, to people like me with a passion for people and the industry.
As the numbers of us continue to expand, so too are the angles that craft beer provides to write about: Reviewing beers, reviewing styles, covering festival events and bottle releases, stories about breweries and brewers, pairing of food and beer, innovations in brewing, legislation in brewing, the 3 tier system, differences across the nation with beer culture, recipes, trends, techniques, homebrew, challenges in brewing, beer culture, products from related industries (glassware to growlers to homebrew systems to dispensers…) – the list goes on and on.
The craft beer industry is still expanding as new jobs are created, new breweries are opened, and new opportunities abound to educate consumers, entertain (through events and beerfests), and satisfy (through the variety of products and even beer-tourism) the burgeoning population of craft beer lovers.
And You’re Invited to Tag Along…
While many of the sessions and excursions at the Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference are limited to officially registered beer bloggers and writers, you’ll likely see a few events where the general craft beer loving public can take part. One such pre-conference gathering is on Wed July 6, 2016 at 6;30 pm at the Brew Bus Brewing Terminal on Florida Avenue in Tampa where our own Florida Women in Brewing, together with Beer Bloggers, (and you!) are invited to stop by and mix and mingle over a pint. Brew Bus Brewing is one of our newest local craft breweries and the terminal for one of our most popular and successful beer tourism companies, and has even won a medal at GABF for one of their brews!
Craft beer in Florida (and throughout the U.S.) presents a genderless, ageless, and culturally independent reason to get together, enjoy a few laughs and savor the goodness that barley, hops, yeast and water can bring to an ordinary workday or weekend. And, in a matter of days, the Beer Blogging and Writing community will find out just how good that can be here in Tampa. Welcome!