Guide & News Website
Founder, Editor & Contributor
Back in 2011, when the wave of new brewery openings was just starting to crest in the Bay Area, a central source for news and information was needed. This became painfully obvious while tracking down stories for All Over Beer. If you weren’t plugged into social media on a regular basis, it was hard to stay on top of the region’s beer scene, so I decided to fill the void with Bay Area Craft Beer.
The website served as a guide to the community. It featured an event calendar, news, a brewery map, and general information about bars, stores, and restaurants who served and sold craft beer. Tastings, beer dinners, festivals and special parties were always popping up at venues across the region with new and interesting beers to try.
At the time, just a handful of beer bloggers and social media influencers were guiding people like me. The larger newspapers, weekly magazines, and lifestyle websites, barely offered any regular coverage. At least not enough for the growing numbers of enthusiasts who were seeking a regular source that documented our foamy landscape.
Bay Area Craft Beer was an ambitious project. I didn’t want to repost press releases and offer trite commentary. I wanted longer form content that told stories, and that takes time to create. I was spending 10-20 hours per week on the website, on top of my day job. It was exhausting.
I quickly realized help was needed, and reached out to a handful of beer bloggers in the community. Kelsey Williams, Matt Amarall, Dave McAvoy, Fred Abercrombie, John Heylin, and Jen Muehlbauer, all made wonderful contributions, and I will be forever grateful. Especially since I wasn’t able to compensate them, which was frustrating.
Just running the nuts and bolts of Bay Area Craft Beer was a big commitment. Monetizing the effort would have required my full attention. I didn’t have the salesmen skill set, and in reality, I’m just not sure the industry would have made the necessary commitments. At the time, and it’s still the case today, most small breweries don’t have the cash or interest in advertising. If they had an extra dollar, brewery equipment was at the top of the list.
At its peak, Bay Area Craft Beer was publishing 2-3 posts per week, and by September of 2012, was receiving over 10,000 page views and 6,000 unique visitors per month. For a small time project with zero resources, I was proud of those numbers, but the growth wasn’t sustainable. I also started to get caught up in the media rate race, rushing to publish breaking news. Those tactics drove pageviews higher, but it wasn’t why I started the website.
Twenty-one months into the project I decided to shut down Bay Area Craft Beer. It was a little bitter sweet for sure. The site was operating at a very pivotal moment in the region’s beer scene, and it will be great to look back and read what happened years from now. The complete archive can be viewed in the PDF below. If you’re looking for a current resource to the region, check out Drink Bay Beer.
Below you will find every published article, including photos, with a table of contents. Please note that the embedded hyperlinks no longer work. Download a copy here to more easily browse the contents.