Alan McCormick of Growler Fills on BBC14

Back when I first posted various bloggers’ thoughts on the 2014 Beer Bloggers’ Conference, I mentioned that three folks had answered a bit more thoroughly than the rest, and I would share them later. As I tackle NaNoWriMo, the time is now. The first set of answers is from Alan McCormick of Growler Fills. Alan moderated this year’s “Ethics in Beer Blogging” panel, and then spent a fabulous lunch with me discussing ethics in beer. Thus, he was absolutely on my list of folks I was curious about. When I got his response to my email, the opening paragraph let me know I had some useful information to share.


Alan McCormick: In my answer to the first question I took the liberty to explain the answer to a question you did not ask. WHY do I attend?

How many beer bloggers conferences have you attended?

Alan M: This was my fourth Beer Bloggers Conference. I’ve only missed the inaugural one in Boulder. Honestly, I had to convince myself to go to the first one. I was not at all sure why some guy with few readers who blogs only as a hobby should pay good money to go to a conference about beer blogging. Once I overcame that very strong reluctance, it became obvious. The conference is a fabulous way to connect with others, gain valuable ideas and build friendships around common interests. By way of example, my confidence/enthusiasm to create Missoula Craft Beer Week came from a conversation with a fellow blogger on a bus ride to a brewery dinner in Portland, OR. He’d created various beer events and, like me, also had a full time job doing something other than beer.

What was the best part of this year’s conference for you?

Alan M: Reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. It’s been the best part of all four conferences. The beer is always fantastic, the content is always good, and I never fail to get some new ideas.

What was the worst part of this year’s conference for you?

Alan M: I don’t have a “worst” part, but to nitpick, at each of the conferences I’ve wished for a bit more content. Even just one or two more substantive breakout sessions would be useful. This year’s conference did improve on the substantive content compared to the prior ones. I think that is a trend which will continue.

Would you attend another beer bloggers conference again in the future?

Alan M: Absolutely. There is a strong core group (which grows every year) of returning participants which gives the conference a bit of a family reunion kind of a feel. Without the crazy cousin no one wants to mention. Plus, it’s a ridiculously inexpensive way to see parts of the beer world and meet many people in the beer world which you cannot typically get outside a conference like this.

Notes on Alan’s Answers

Again, it becomes obvious that the people make the conference, but the “worst” part of the conference is yet an 11th answer.

I find it fascinating that Alan not only attends the conference to gather more content for his blog from the conference, which is a completely reasonable goal, but for ideas to improve his beer community beyond his blog. That’s decidedly useful. I’m curious, I’ll admit, to know what other ideas to improve his local community or the greater national or global community he’s found in this conference.

Further, I wonder what sort of content he’d suggest. He says he’d like more content, and he feels he’s getting it more and more with each passing year, but what does that look like to him?

As readers, do you guys have any questions for Alan?