And with that, the hashtag heard round the twitterverse, we can sum up the movement to make the beer community digital. Think about it: when you have found a beer that you like, what do you want to do? Well, besides go and find more. Ultimately you share it with someone else. Sure it could be anything from “you’ve got to try this” to “here, try this”, but still, you pass the word on.
What about the beers you don’t know? What about the releases you don’t know about? Most breweries by now have websites dedicated to their brand. If they have a party revolving around a release (say… Darkness Day), they advertise it on their sites and the usual channels. The problem remains, though, what if you don’t know about Darkness Day, or Surly Brewing, or 3Floyds or any other brewery that holds spectacular release parties. What then? You need a hype engine.
Enter social networking. Yes, the beast. In all its positives and negatives, social networking can be used for good. For instance, you can use it to promote a brand. That is precisely what those like @TheBeerWench, @billybroas @NewBrewThursday, @HopCast, @StoneGreg and @Hoptopia (just to name a few) do today. From the I Am a Craft Brewer and I Am a Craft Beer Drinker videos, to name dropping about their next tweetup, these guys use technology to promote the brand of (Craft) Beer. Twitter, Facebook, Podcasts, Blogs. Technology used to their advantage. To tell others about beer. Simple as that. In that course, you make contacts, acquaintances, friends, enemies, the full gamut of (electronic) social interaction. Which brings me to a rather controversial part.
There is a new player in the social networking realm, where you can find out what people are drinking, tell people what you are drinking and keep track of what you have drunk. It is called Untappd, and it is stirring up a bit of controversy.
On one side, you have those who relish in the idea of being able to share beer ideas (through checkins) with those that follow them. They appreciate the challenge that Untappd gives you to try new things (and award you with badges for proof). On the other side, you have those who see updates of this nature as spam in their network feeds.
Wherever you are in the equation, appreciate the fact that, as does everything else, the beer community is changing, and I think for the better. There’s a big world out there, between styles and breweries takes on those styles. How are you going to find out about what is not around you? Put your ear to the digital ground. It’s out there.