Beer. Stories. Conversation.
It’d be fair to say I lost my way a little bit.
When I first launched Watson’s Corner back in September 2015, I had the laudable goal of three posts a week. With a backlog of posts I’d written before publishing, I was able to keep that pace up for a few months, then, when I took on my current role at Duvel Moortgat, my pace slowed to two a month, then I sputtered out completely and haven’t posted since June. Eeek.
It’s often the way with hobbies or passion projects, like blogs though, isn’t it? There’s enough motivation to get going, then somehow, life always gets in the way.
It’s been a little over 6 months since my last post, so it would have been easy for my blog to fade away into the oblivion.
But I’ve been thinking long and hard these last few weeks about why I started this blog in the first place.
Working for Duvel Moortgat, I’m so proud to share the family history and heritage of the brewery. Founded in 1871 as the Moortgat Family Brewery, Duvel Moortgat is still run today by a fourth-generation family member in the same town in Belgium that it all began in more than a century ago.
I love learning about breweries – the brands that they’ve built and the beers that they’ve brewed – and sharing the stories that have twigged something inside me. Whether it’s their creativity, a bold take on an established style, or just something that made me laugh, I know these stories could connect with more people, so I want to help get them out to even more readers.
I’ve attended several talks here in London of late, as I work to keep my ears open and stay inspired by all that’s going on around me, and the recurring theme I keep hearing is the importance of “telling a story.”
At a science communications workshop I attended back in October (my background was in science, way back when), the main takeaway to help science writers connect with their audience was to develop characters and a plot. Turning a researcher or a Petri dish into the star of the piece gives readers someone or something to connect to emotionally. You can’t just tell people about an impending epidemic and expect them to care. (Sadly.) The information needs to be shared in a way that’s personal or relatable – a story.
In November, Creative Mornings London featured James Cheshire, a “geographer with a passion for mapping data”, who works with a designer to turn his data into stunning visual maps. He encouraged audience members who work with big data to pare down and pull apart the bits of the data that will make the most impact with readers or viewers. Just because we have so much data available to us (that term big data is everywhere these days!) doesn’t mean that we’re getting much from it. It’s really when we tease out the trends and focus on a manageable amount of information in the form of a story that we connect with it.
I’m sharing these experiences as I’ve been feeling lately like the world of beer is just getting bigger and bigger. Every day, I’m reading about supermarkets adding more and more lines to their range or breweries coming out with new and experimental beers at a rapid pace.
All the numbers and noise can feel deafening at times. Especially because publications most often report figures like craft beer’s value share of the market, the higher price points they can command, or the growing number of SKUs in most breweries’ portfolios.
But these numbers don’t actually tell us anything about the beers themselves – the effort that went into brewing them or the people and passion behind them.
There are LOADS of stories hidden behind all this buzz that are just waiting to be told so that we can connect with the people making the products we care so much about.
So that’s why I’m back.
I’ll be serving up three posts a month – two on beer stories, then one more-conversational piece on any other aspects of the industry that have gotten me thinking.
Now, I can’t help but ask… has this post got you thinking? Are you seeing this storytelling trend in other fields beyond beer? If not, do you think other fields could benefit from this approach? Leave me a note in the comments with your thoughts.
Then come on back next week the first story of the new year. (It’s a good one!)
And thanks, as always, for your support.
Image by Natalya Watson