How to start a beer blog

Before Matthew Curtis became one of our regular writers, he was an avid beer blogger. Here, he shares some of his top tips for those curious about launching a beer blog of their own


There’s never been a better time to start a beer blog. 

Hear me out for a minute: expressing your love for beer creatively – whether through writing, photography, video or audio – is a wonderful way of not only learning more about what makes your favourite beverage so compelling, but also of connecting with other like-minded individuals. When I started my own beer blog, Total Ales, in January 2012, I did so because I needed an outlet for my enthusiasm for beer. Through its creation not only have I managed to build a career in a wonderful industry, but I’ve also made some of my closest friends. I’m not saying this should be your aim too (believe it or not, it was never originally mine) but it’s a good example of how fulfilling starting a beer blog can be. 

This short guide is based on my own experiences of creating a successful beer blog. If you’re still left with more questions after reading this, come find me on Twitter. I’m @totalcurtis

Why should I start a beer blog?

The first piece of doubt you’ll form when you consider starting out as a blogger is that there are already loads of beer blogs in existence, so why does the world need another? In truth there really aren’t that many voices in beer, and there is no such thing as too many beer bloggers. Sure it might take a few good posts to earn your stripes from some of those who’ve been doing it for a while, but people love reading about beer, and a new voice providing fresh content is always welcome.

Don’t worry if writing isn’t your strong suit either, beer blogging isn’t restricted to that alone. Perhaps consider launching a podcast, vlog, or perhaps even a journal of photography. Find a format that suits you creatively, and don’t worry about it being the most polished content on the internet. This is your hobby after all, and it’s as much a process of learning as it is about the creativity itself. 

Where should I host it?

Finding a good host is an important factor. You want something that’s easy to use and helps you create a site that is both desktop and mobile friendly. Around three-quarters of people read articles using their phones these days, so that last point is crucial. There are some good free to low-cost services like Wordpress, and for predominantly text-based blogs Medium is a strong option.

Sites that offer powerful visuals such as Wix or Squarespace will come at a per-monthly cost, but if you are passionate about your hobby, you should consider it a worthwhile expense. If your hobby was running, you’d invest in good trainers, or if you’re into photography you’d splash the cash on good lenses. If beer blogging becomes your passion, a little investment can help your site go a long way. 

What sort of content should I produce?

This is the tricky one. What do you want to actually write about? Before starting out try and absorb as much interesting beer content as you can. You’re already reading Ferment so that’s a great start. Check out other beer publications like Good Beer Hunting, Hop & Barley, Original Gravity and (shameless plug) Pellicle for more beer content and dip into classic beer blogs such as Boak & Bailey, Jeff Alworth’s Beervana and The Campaign for Really Good Beer (CAMRGB) to name a few. Reading other beer content not only helps inspire and shape ideas, but will also help you tighten up those writing chops. 

Try not to worry too much about what other people want to read at this stage. Want to write short, snappy beer reviews? Go for it. Want to record epic travelogues that also show off your photography? Great! Want to produce gritty slices of investigative journalism and bring down The Man? Have at it. If you’re not too bothered about building a dedicated audience, write whatever you want. However, if you’re motivated by your work building traction then find a niche and stick to your guns. 

Try and post as often as you’re able to, about once every week or two as a minimum is a good rate. Not every post needs to be a 5000 word epic; keep it snappy. Avoid launching with a “welcome to my beer blog” post and before you go live, try drafting four or five posts so when you launch you can plough straight into the good stuff. This will also give you a buffer, should you not be able to find the time to write every week.

I’m short of ideas, what are your tips for writers block?

Get a notepad and (if your budget allows) a relatively decent camera. The best ideas come through travel (which I appreciate is rather difficult during a global pandemic…). This could be as simple as a walk to your local pub to soak in some atmosphere, or somewhere much further afield. And while beer and travel go together inspiration can also be drawn from whatever’s in your glass at the time.

Use your notepad and camera to capture thoughts immediately as they come along, as you never know when they might come in useful. Don’t force out a blog post just for the sake of it though. Remember that this is a hobby, and there is no point continuing with an idea if you’re not taking any joy from it. 

How do I get people to read my blog?

Make sure you sign up to social media and get involved in the beer conversation. Share your posts, and if a discussion emerges make sure you’re actively involved with it. When starting out your core audience is likely to be other beer bloggers, so make sure you engage with them and make yourself known. 

The most important thing to remember though, is that beer blogging is your hobby, and you are investing your time in it because you enjoy it. Keep this in mind and dig into the topics you’re most excited about, and share them once you’re done! Written a beer review about a beer you love? Drop the brewery an email to let them know. And make sure you drop me a line so I can have a read, look or listen for myself.

Happy beer blogging!

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