My beer epiphany came relatively late in life, but fortuitously it coincided with the “craft beer revolution” in this country. By the time I joined Twitter I was inclined to go for a Young’s Special or Landlord rather than a Guinness, and would pick up bottles of Anchor’s Liberty Ale or Goose Island IPA from my local bottle shop rather than a six-pack of Red Stripe for a fiver.
Getting back to this side of the Atlantic, I was aware of Meantime but they seemed a blip, a novelty, albeit one 10 years old. And while I didn’t join Twitter with the sole aim of discovering new breweries and beers, in no time at all my time line consisted of tweets by beer-geeks, breweries, and bars. And it’s been fucking great. I’ve met some great people, been to some great bars and drank some great beers, and it’s no surprise to me that Twitter was many people’s “Beer App of the Year” in this year’s “Golden Posts” awards.
But something surprises me. If your beers are bad it doesn’t matter how good at social media you are – but if your beers are good and you excel at social media then you’re golden. What I mean by being good at social media is to be responsive, humorous, informative, varied and interesting. Examples of breweries that excel at this are Five Points, Beavertown and Camden, but the inactivity of other breweries’ Twitter accounts leaves me scratching my head. In the case of Five Points it’s no secret I’m a fan, and one reason I drink so many of its beers is because I always know where I can get them (thanks Doreen). And then you have a brewery like Hackney Brewery, a brewery I have a lot of time for but whose beers I only ever happen upon by chance. If I knew where Hackney’s beers were on at any given time (especially with its new trial keg range) I’d happily cross London for a pint. The same goes for pubs. My work local, the Old Fountain in Old Street has an ad hoc approach to tweeting its tap list but on the occasions they do it’s almost a stick on I’ll be in for a post-work beer.
I don’t know, maybe it’s down to (time and energy) resources. But Twitter in particular is a fantastic way to communicate with your customers and (surely) grow your business – and it’s free! Maybe some feel too humble or proud to hawk their wares, but beer is booming and if you stand still you run the risk of being left behind.
Addendum – I’m aware Young’s and Timothy Taylor aren’t deemed “craft” (whatever that is) but they broadened my horizons, and the latter in particular is indescribably better than what was my my usual choice of pint.