The 2018 Beer Bloggers Conference was a significant milestone for Tacos and Cold Ones™. Not only was it our initial introduction into the public eye, but it was also our introduction to the craft beer world, and to other craft beer bloggers and writers. So much had been invested in this project up to this point, there was no turning back. We bought the tickets, we printed the t-shirts, and we boarded the plane. We were all in! What is everyone going to think? Is there an audience for our blog?
To say that T.A.C.O.’s was well-received would be an understatement. The responses and feedback were overwhelmingly positive. One of the highlights of the trip was when Eddie Schauer from @thenextpint introduced himself to me; as he ran over to me to shake my hand he said, “Hi my name is Eddie, Tacos and Cold Ones are my life!” That was a moment I’ll always remember, and I couldn’t have smiled any bigger.
T.A.C.O.’s aside, the conference was nothing short of impressive. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I needed to be part of the experience. Each year the Beer Bloggers Conference is hosted in a different state, and in 2018 it was hosted in Louden County, Virginia. We kicked off the conference with a dinner reception at Farm Brew Live, an 8-acre destination brewery campus that features craft beer, craft food and live, local music. I couldn’t think of a better venue to kick-off the conference. We had a ton of fun meeting new people, listening to live music, and tasting great beers.
The second day we were welcomed and introduced to the conference by fellow Certified Cicerone® Julia Herz of the Brewers Association, Publisher/Craft Beer Program Director of Craftbeer.com, and co-author of Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros. Julia outlined some key trends in the craft beer industry including a recent Nielsen survey that found that 71% of people who order beer are thinking about how it will pair their food. Talk about relevant information, it was definitely encouraging.
The highlight of the day was lunch. Guess what kind of food truck was waiting outside? Yup, a taco truck! The Roaming Coyote, by Coyote Grill. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that we were already having an influence… just kidding. After lunch, we were treated with a keynote speech from Sam Calagnione of Dogfish Head Brewery. Sam touched a lot on the importance of collaboration and the impact it has on brand development. After a day of rich and engaging content, we headed over to Vanish Farmwoods Brewery in Lockett, Virginia for a reception and dinner. Vanish was my favorite brewery of the trip, simply because of its scenic views and country style ambiance. Of course, their beers were amazing as well.
Day three began with engaging breakout sessions that touched on subjects such as Blogging Fundamentals, Podcasting, The Art of Negative Feedback, Lessons For Better Writing, and Getting Paid For Your Work. All of this information left me hungry and ready for lunch. And what was on the menu for lunch? You guessed it! A taco bar! They seriously had a taco bar set-up for lunch. I was in heaven! That was when I decided to start a taco blogging conference… Haha, I wish!
Lunch was followed by a couple sessions of engaging Lightning Talks about all things beer, We wrapped up the third day with Live Beer Blogging and Dinner at Lost Rhino Brewing. Although our blog was not live yet, it was great to be there and support the community. The highlight of day three was meeting The Boy with the Taco Tattoo. Yup, there was a guy there with three tacos tattooed on his arm. I guess he feels the same way about tacos as I do(except he has more courage than I do). You can see a picture of it in our “Contact Us” link.
We were a little hesitant about attending the Beer Bloggers Conference only because we were so far-out from launch; however, I’m glad we did. It was a valuable use of our time and money. We met great people and made lifelong friends. One of which is Kirk Richardson, author of Craft Beer Country, a four-book series, the first of which was published on my birthday (woot-woot). Kirk’s book series captures the essence and passion of the craft beer movement and provides valuable insight and perspective into the craft beer movement that most people aren’t privileged to. It was also a pleasure to meet Julia Herz, who has been exceptionally supportive of Tacos and Cold Ones™ and has given us valuable advice and feedback, which we are extremely appreciative of.
The 2019 Beer Now Conference (they changed the name) will be held in Great Falls, Montana from June 4th -6th. This is a must attend conference for anyone interested in beer blogging. Cheers!