Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

2015 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference to be held in Asheville, July 17-19

Posted Mar 06, 2015 in Beer, Breweries, Coming Soon, Coolness, Events, In the news, People, Tech

BBC15-Conf-Badge1Did you know the 2015 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference will take place July 17-19 in Asheville, North Carolina? How exciting for our little mountain beer city. Over that weekend, look for the presence of both industry and citizen beer bloggers as well as many major players in the beer community, both local and national. If you have a local beer blog—or are considering starting one (even within your existing blog platform)—now is the time to get started! Here is what the BBC has to say about this year’s conference in Asheville:

“We are extremely pleased to bring the 2015 Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference to Asheville, North Carolina, on July 17-19.  Asheville is one of the greatest beer towns in the world, with over two dozen breweries in the town of less than 90,000 citizens. According to the NC Beer Guys blog, the state of North Carolina now has 111 breweries.

But it is more than just numbers that make Asheville and North Carolina high on a beer writer’s list of places to visit. The town itself is a fun small town with lots to do and the brewers are leading the nation in the beer revolution.

In addition to the 20+ years of brewing experience in the city, recent additions include large breweries established by long-time BBC supporters Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium. We want to especially thank Oskar Blues and Sierra Nevada for stepping up to support the conference. We will be visiting Oskar Blues’ new brewery for an afternoon Taste the Taps event and Sierra Nevada’s new brewery for a dinner, tour, and tasting.”

The weekend agenda is being updated as panels, workshops, and events are scheduled. You can find that here. Local sponsors include the NC Brewers Guild, the Asheville Brewers Alliance, and ExploreAsheville, Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, among others. The session kicks-off with Julia Herz of the Brewers Association and You’ll have a chance to listen to professionals who will improve your blog writing (WordPress is a sponsor), best social media practices, plus all the social events promoting local breweries. Join us and register here!

Updated Press Release: Moog Filtered Ale

Posted Jul 02, 2010 in Beer, Breweries, Coolness, In the news, Limited Release, Music, People, Tech

Moog Filtered Ale, on Sale Until the End of July, Creates a Buzz in Its First Month

July 1, 2010 – The limited edition Moog Filtered Ale, a pale beer named in honor of synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog, has been selling at record rates, according to the Asheville Brewing Company and the Bob Moog Foundation, partners in creating the beer. Its launch on May 27 coincided with the late inventor’s 76th birthday. Proceeds from all sales go to support the Foundation’s mission to teach science through music.

Moog Filtered Ale will be sold only until July 31, after which it will no longer be available. It is retailed via shipping nationally and internationally in 22-ounce bottles through Asheville’s Bruisin’ Ales. It’s also sold in bottles at Greenlife Grocery, Earth Fare, Hops & Vines, and Bruisin’ Ales, and it’s available on tap in various locations throughout Western North Carolina, including Asheville Pizza Company, the Orange Peel, and Lucy Otter.

Asheville artist Phil Cheney designed the bottle’s original label, which shows Bob Moog leaning over a keyboard with his head surrounded by knobs, cables, and musical notes. The beer has gotten rave reviews not only for its taste, but for the benefit it supports:

“We love the idea of paying tribute to a great pioneer like Bob Moog with a beer. What higher honor is there? Moog Filtered Ale is a good session beer for drinking with coworkers after a hectic day of work. And that session can be made even more enjoyable by admiring the awesome label.”

“I can’t recall shipping any one beer to so many states before. Clearly the bond between musicians and beer speaks volumes with the sales success of Moog Filtered Ale.”
Julie Atallah, Owner, Bruisin’ Ales (RateBeer 2010’s #3 Beer Retailer Worldwide)

“Moog Filtered Ale is definitely the fastest selling beer we’ve ever produced, a testament to Bob Moog’s connection with people all over the world and to the beer’s great taste. The high volume of sales confirms that synergistic combination. Add the fact that it supports an essential non-profit organization, and it’s a win-win for all.”
Mike Rangel, President, Asheville Brewing Company

“This stuff is really tasty. I’d better stock up so I have plenty on hand before it disappears in a few weeks.”
—   Geary Yelton, Contributing Editor, Electronic Musician

“My father would have loved the taste of this beer and the concept behind it. He’d be delighted to have a brew all his own.”
— Michelle Moog-Koussa, Executive Director, Bob Moog Foundation

Asheville Brewing has been making outstanding craft beers since 1998 and has won several awards for its beers. As an active supporter of local non-profit groups, they are thrilled to be working with the Bob Moog Foundation, whose work is innovative and historical. Through Moog Filtered Ale, Asheville Brewing aims to support the interactive educational programs that the Foundation is developing to teach science through music and to eventually build a Moogseum.

“Moog Filtered Ale is an American-style pale ale with distinctive notes of caramel and pine. It’s a very accessible beer that reflects the ingenuity and creativity behind the Moog legacy. I’ve been a fan of Bob Moog since college, and I am excited to present a beer in honor of an American pioneer,” says Doug Riley, brewer and part owner of the Asheville Brewing Company.

Asheville Brewing Company President Mike Rangel says, “We are thrilled to be working with the Bob Moog Foundation to help keep Bob’s vision and legacy alive. By donating the profits from Moog Filtered Ale, we will be supporting innovative science education through the Foundation’s MoogLab outreach project. We are proud to be joining some of the larger beer companies in supporting important educational work in our community. Moog Filtered Ale is absolutely the most exciting project our company has been involved in.”

Help bring Google Fiber to Asheville, NC!

Posted Mar 24, 2010 in Coming Soon, Coolness, Goings on, In the news, Movies, Music, Science, Tech, Travel, Unrelated to Beer, Video

Google is having a national competition for communities to “win” a Google fiber-optic network. Thus began the Asheville Google Fiber Network Initiative. We’re now on the tail end of the first round—Friday, March 26. Will you help us to bring Google Fiber to the Asheville community?

Asheville is already prevalent on numerous lists for travel—historic sites, the Blue Ridge Parkway, food, music, the arts, and craft beer. Imagine: Super-sexy high-speed internet access for businesses large and small. A wide network reaching even the most rural of communities, bringing us together. An school system as a network pioneer offering the best in education, plugged directly into the community. Musicians working at lightning speed. Our diverse, active and creative arts organizations benefiting for the über-hip HATCHfest, TEDx, the 48-hr Film Project, Twestival. A bigger and booming addition to Asheville’s high-tech sector. Live-streaming of Asheville’s very cool, consistent calendar of events and fundraisers. Maybe we could stream from Brewgrass or LEAF Fest? LAAFF? BeleChere? And think of the possibilities this has with tourism? I know, it’s the “dirty t-word,” but tourism is a big part of who we are. And for many, it pays the bills. But we’re warm people and we open up the mountains year-round and invite people to share in our world for just a week (or a day). I say: It’s time to show the world in REAL TIME who we are.

The GoogleAVL page is up with lots of helpful information. Please refer there for any questions, then click on the big, red “NOMINATE ASHEVILLE” button and tell Google why they need to bring Google Fiber to Asheville, North Carolina.

We’ve done all five. Will you?

  1. Nominate Asheville. This is really, really, important.
  2. Ask your friends to nominate Asheville in a sincere, really-do-it, kind of way.  This is also important.
  3. Put a badge on your website to show your support for bringing Google Fiber to town.  Now you are doing something extra.
  4. Publicly endorse Asheville’s effort to attract Google fiber.  You have become cool.
  5. Write about why you want Google fiber in Asheville using your web site, your blog, or a youtube video. You are radically cool.

The 2009 non-list, un-roundup, plea to a whittled-down 2010

Posted Jan 05, 2010 in 52 Weeks of Beer, Coming Soon, Coolness, Goings on, Miscellany, Not Coolness, People, Rants, Tech

2009 was a strange year. A strange year in general, that is, not just personally for me, our business, anything is particular. Just strange. Challenging, difficult, often times horrific? I’m still looking for the right words. 2009 was an incredible deluge of personal tragedies combined with a tanking economy all the while trying to keep our chins up and heads above water. There were hot-spots of good stuff, no doubt, but in 2009, those were more fleeting than regular. So, two weeks ago, I thought “Oh, crap. It’s time to write to about 2009.” What will it be? My favorite beers? A beer resolution? A beer non-resolution? The ubiquitous list? A round-up? A Top 10? Goals?

Nope, it’s not any of that. What I want to say is this: Thank you, 2009, for being over. This post is not meant to be bitchy, belligerent or ungrateful. I hope it will be honest (and perhaps provide a little free therapy to the girl sitting here in this chair).

For us and many of our friends, 2009 was a year of great personal loss—family, friends, homes, jobs. For us, it was Jason losing his father and mentor. And while Bruisin’ Ales kept chugging along, there’s no denying the fact that we didn’t grow as much as we would have in a good economy, I slacked on the blog, and I suffered a major early (self-inflicted) burnout in our busiest Fall season from the stress of worrying about keeping a small business going. After all, we had big plans for 2009 before it clearly showed signs of potential disaster. Most of them, thankfully, we were able to implement, such as the launch of our new website, our major events like the Dogfish Head Weekend and hosting Allagash’s Rob Tod, and some behind-the-scenes stuff. But still, the fact of the matter is, many things had to be put off until this year, including a re-vamped marketing plan and projects such as the e-comm store. So, here it is. A promise to myself, you and the greater universe.

Don’t stress. Re-address.
The e-comm store is what really laid it all out for me in Fall. In the year where “social media” burst through an old marketing paradigm—and will someone please think of a better term for “social media,” because I am sick of it entirely—I made the announcement we were dipping our toes into e-commerce. I committed a VERY HUGE no-no in marketing: I leaked our own plans. Everyone who knows me personally knows I’m horrible at keeping Christmas presents until Christmas, or even birthday presents for that matter, but I usually can keep my mouth shut when someone tells me to. But I get so excited about things that I could not contain my own information. Basically, I forgot to tell myself to shut the F up. Shortly after announcing e-comm with the relaunch of the new site, it took on a life of its own. Soon, on Facebook and Twitter, this big addition was happening right away. There were mentions we were opening a warehouse in Raleigh, NC; a store in Birmingham, AL; you name it. It spun out of control, even for me (and I’m pretty controlling). Then came the incessant questions for launch date, the constant I-want-to-be-an-affiliate requests, etc. Understand: This was my fault. I mean, we were/are already shipping, and while admittedly, it’s not the best system, we still get the product out there with little or no need for a fully-integrated e-comm store or site. It’s still going to be Jason, myself or Mike calling you and packing boxes. (Now, if e-comm came with robots who work for free…) When we opened, we never even had intentions of shipping beer, it came out of one request for a really great customer in a time where it’s cheaper to ship then spend gas money on a road trip for beer. And so finally,  instead of stressing about it, I back-burnered the whole e-comm site for 2009. Why? Because I could. And I had to. It became such a beast that the project itself became unapproachable. We don’t have data-entry nymphs on-hand (they are with the robots somewhere); we are doing this ourselves with the help of Asheville Web, who will implement the project. Our first and foremost loyalty lies to the humble storefront, the home-base of Bruisin’ Ales, the community of Asheville, our local and loyal customers, and those that make beer treks to our fair city. Shipping is not a priority in the great plan, it’s just a super-delicious add-on that happened. We love shipping beer to happy beer people. It’s beerlanthropy, no doubt, but the e-comm is not critical. So, while we’re on the subject: Our goal for launch is first quarter 2010. That is all I can tell you and that is a goal, not a fixed date. Please be patient and we thank you for it. Until then, here is how we ship to you. Whatchu need?

Lesson learned: Big plans and big mouths can lead to big self-inflicted problems.
2010 Goal: Set goals in a way that best serve both customers and ourselves.

Social Media Overload
I joined Facebook over two years ago now. I wasn’t a cool kid from the get-go. I used to make fun of MySpace (sometimes I still do), Friendster, and whatever Friend/Face/Space products were out there. For the record, I often make fun of Facebook, too, but it has been an invaluable tool for the store. I reconnected with many friends, family who had no idea what I had done with my life. There is a sort-of public life that comes with being in front of people daily, and frankly—though probably against all the good graces of Social Media Experts—I don’t care if you see a photo of me making a complete ass of myself. Jason is private; me, not as much. I’m not Mrs. America, a politician hiking the Appalachian Trail of Argentina and I don’t have a PR problem. (Yet. Possibly after this post.) For the first year, my personal page was our business page. It was a mish-mosh of me and Bruisin’ Ales. Only after reaching a whopping 1200+ “friends” at some point last spring, did I realize I had a problem. While I am Bruisin’ Ales, Bruisin’ Ales is not always me. I’m not always drinking beer. I do have other interests. So, we set-up a Facebook Fan Page for Bruisin’ Ales. On Facebook, particularly, it became more of a privacy issue. I get more friend requests from more people than I ever know in real life. These days, my “friend” list hovers around 800 +/- and I clean it about once a month. It’s actually due for a cleaning. If I don’t know you, haven’t done business with you, or you’re not an industry person I need to contact, I won’t accept your friend request. It’s not personal. If you like Bruisin’ Ales, I thank you greatly, and please go be a fan of our page, which is an extension of our blog.

While anyone who follows me on Twitter (@bruisinales) knows how I love, love, love the Twitter, it can be overwhelming. After our initial foray (at the coaxing of our web team) to try this micro-blogging thing, I fell in love. Blogging took time, Twitter was easy. I could keep up with more people quicker and easier than I could ever do with one blog post. We were lucky. It took off for us, but I put a ton of time into it at the start, which paid off immensely. I don’t “tweet” about beer constantly. Half the time, I’m tweeting about crap you don’t even care about. Hell, half the time it’s crap I don’t even care about. But I try to keep it fun and mixed. If anything, the Bruisin’ Ales Twitter feed is an extension of us, not a separate entity unto itself. (In that way, I treat it totally different than Facebook.) Then, the pressure came: Klout (I’m a “persona”), TwitterAnalyzer, other things that “measure” your value on Twitter. Then, we snagged a couple local blogger/Twitter awards (for which, we are extremely grateful). Ack, the pressure! For about two weeks, I started stressing—again—because in my mind this was a reputation to be upheld. Then I realized I didn’t care. Or perhaps a better way of actively putting it to words: I needed to be unaffected by it. Cool, yes. Interesting, yes. Important, not really. But, yes, you will still see me out and about, Blackberry firmly planted in palm. Soon to be bionic, we can only hope.

The blog is still a work in progress. While back in the day, it was the first thing I did every morning, I eventually realized it’s a lot better to post less frequently with interesting content¹ than it is to post daily with regurgitated stuff from other people. Summaries are helpful and I know some of you enjoy them—and they will continue occasionally—but there are plenty of sites like that do that already and much, much better than me. Simply put, some days I have no blog ideas; there is nothing to say; or if there is, I censor myself from saying it. So, our website hits are down a little in the second half of 2009. Oh, god, no! I must fix that! Truthfully, no. I’m cool with it. My readers read when I write. If they miss it because I’m less frequent than I used to be, perhaps they’ll catch it on a cross-post with our Facebook Page or Twitter. I mean, that’s how this crap works, right?

AddThis. Oh, AddThis, my love/hate relationship with you knows no boundaries. When we first added the little “share” button to each blog post, it just looked cool. Frankly, I don’t even know what the hell half of those things are and who is sharing them. So, we kept it, but added a simple ReTweet button. (Which, yes, I know I made disappear yesterday when I updated WordPress.) I like to stick with easy things. Easy is good. YouTube, I hardly watch you and everyone has a YouTube Channel, right? Perhaps I’m losing market share, or maybe I’m old and out of touch, but I’m not that much interested in being on video myself outside of others video casts. (Ask my mother. I didn’t even want a videographer for our wedding. Ten years ago.) Comments, you make me nuts. I hardly read you. (Except for the Citizen-Times comments, because those borderline on insane half the time and provide endless entertainment, which is a sort-of case study to my reasoning.) We’ve never had comments open on the blog—except once, just recently—and I don’t want them open. It’s not that I don’t care what people have to say, it’s that we’re not a forum. We’re busy selling beer, not moderating our comments. You can comment all you want over on the Facebook Page. Go nuts. Hell, you can comment on me not letting you comment! Boo-yah! And geo-tagging, Foursquare. This I will never understand. I can fully explore my city without Foursquare’s help. Pretty sure I can do it in others, too. And if I want you to know where I am, I will let you know myself. I don’t need to have my GPS location tagged in my Twitter profile. I don’t need to “check-in” unless it’s vacation, which I need desperately. I don’t want to be the mayor of anything. Except maybe BeerCity, USA.

Summary: Social media is great. Truly, it is fun to watch it evolve. It’s fascinating stuff for a marketing girl like me. But without really being social, without really meeting followers on Twitter—and we always encourage you to introduce yourself when you’re in-store—the whole entire purpose is defeated. It’s a great reaching out point, but without the actual social contact, you got nothing. So, we’ll see you out and about in beer land.

Lesson Learned: Ratings, numbers and statistics are overrated. There are no social media rules. Do what works.
2010 Goal: Fight off web/social media armies that will argue with me over these statements. But argue with them in a public social setting.

Back to Basics
My main point of all of this is Bruisin’ Ales is going to back to basics and moving forward at a pace we can live with. We moved here to simplify our lives, get out of the corporate wrangling, and actually get to spend some time together. We just want to sell great beer. So far so good. We’re a married couple running a business and have so far survived, thrived, and made a little, tiny dream come true. The rest will wait and evolve in due time. We thank you for success we never anticipated so quickly. Cheers to 2010!

Lesson Learned: What is good for you, is not necessarily good for the business. What is good for the business, is not necessarily good for you.
2010: Balance. Keep on keeping on, but don’t lose site of what matters. And that, of course, is the beer. And you guys.

“There are too many ideas and things and people. Too many directions to go. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something, is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size.” —Susan Orlean, Adaptation. (2002)

¹ This blog post may or may not fall into the interesting category.

Rock Art slayed the monster & other news items

Posted Oct 22, 2009 in Beer, Breweries, In the news, Limited Release, Miscellany, People, Science, Seasonals, Tech, Unrelated to Beer, Weird/Odd


Rock Art Brewery wins trademark battle for “Vermonster” over drinks giant, Monster Energy
Well, well, Monster Energy, we learned a little lesson in PR over the past week and a half, didn’t we? Early last week, Monster Energy sent a cease and desist letter to teenie, tiny Rock Art Brewery in Vermont over their beer named Vermonster. Now, they didn’t go after Brooklyn Brewery (which could possibly defend themselves) or any of the other breweries that use the word “monster” in the name. They likely planned to work their way up, setting precedents along the way if it led to court. Well, the little brewery, its fans and the craft beer industry, unleashed a firestorm of battles via e-mail, websites, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Yesterday—a little over ten days later—the drinks giant bowed out, acknowledging a loss of sales and damaged reputation. Woot! Did you help us? Want to show your support? Buy Rock Art Brewery “Vermonster” t-shirt here. Power to the people (and social media)!

Fresh hop season!
I’ll make a confession. I’m not an Oktoberfest fan. At all. I sampled the few from Germany that we can actually get, along with a bunch of domestic craft and there was only one in the entire bunch that did anything for me. It’s not that the beer is/was bad, it’s just not my style. But one thing keeps me going through those short four weeks or so: Fresh hop season. I LOVE the hop harvest. Literally, I get giddy with excitement because nothing beats sticking your nose in a glass of subtle fresh-hop ale. But again, it’s short, so get them while you can: Founder’s Harvest, Sierra Nevada Estate Harvest, Sierra Nevada Wet-Hop  Harvest, Left Hand Warrior Wet-hop, and Weyerbacher Harvest. Great Divide Fresh Hop and Sweetwater’s Wet Dream are on their way soon!

The FTC is about to put the smackdown on beer bloggers who accept beer from breweries
In other blow to blogging, after the recent affiliate issues, the FTC is going to make beer writers/reviewers disclose if they received said beer from a brewery. Beervana has a good quote: “…It ghettoizes blogs–who must make this disclosure–but leaves the mainstream press alone.” I would expect any decent blogger to let me know where the beer came from, but breweries send releases to publications all the time for review. Is there really a difference? There are many beer bloggers who also write for said magazines, so we expect this is going to be a murky issue at best. For the record, we never endorse in full review form on our blog. It’s inappropriate. It’s endorsement enough that we hand-select and stock a particular beer (if we can get it).

Boston Beer Co. and Weihenstephan to collaborate on “new beer style”
I’m probably the only person on Earth completely underwhelmed by this, but Boston Beer Co. (a.k.a. Samuel Adams) and the world’s oldest brewery, Weihenstephan of Germany, are collaborating to brew a “new beer style.” I don’t even know what that means. Reuters has the statement: “Dr. Josef Schradler, managing director of Germany’s Weihenstephan Brewery, and Jim Koch, brewer and founderof Samuel Adams, announced their partnership and plans to unveil a new style of collaboratively brewed beer next spring.” There was a big PR hoo-hah, photo-op etc., yesterday, but why all the fuss? Breweries have been collaborating for years now. I like Boston Beer Co. and Samuel Adams: They have the funding to put craft beer in front of people. Jim Koch has done amazing things for craft beer. But all this fuss over something that’s been done before (way, way before) leaves me feeling stupified. I also think this quote is contradictory: “While keeping an eye on tradition, the Samuel Adams brewers continue to innovate and explore boundary-pushing beer styles and brewing techniques.” Utopias is hardly tradition. So, what is this marriage of Reinheitsgebot and “extreme beer” going to produce? Here’s the description: “The champagne-like beer will weigh in at more than 10 percent alcohol by volume, yet remain very dry and crisp, shattering the preconceived notions of what can be done following the Reinheitsgebot Law.” Huh.

This is just a great blog I picked-up from someone on Twitter today. It’s creepy. And I love it!