So, this is Christmas as the song goes. And it brings to a close a big year for Australian Brews News.
We don’t really do much marketing or shouting about ourselves as we figure that we spend a bit of time throwing stones at the overdone marketing of others and so it would be a little hypocritical to paddle in the waters of the hype pool ourselves. Even so, people seem to stumble upon this little corner of the internet and, even better, seem to like what they find. It’s been a good year for us with our traffic increasing by over 350% between 2010 and 2011.
We launched with no fanfare on Australia Day 2010 and have been growing steadily since. This year almost 75,000 unique visitors stopped by Australian Brews News and below is a list of the top stories that brought them this year were.
Apart from these stories, we had some huge highlights this year. Two really stand out. The first was our inclusion in the National Library of Australia’s PANDORA archive. PANDORA, is an acronym that describes the library’s mission: Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia and is the National Library’s attempt to build a comprehensive collection of Australian publications to ensure that Australians have access to their documentary heritage now and in the future. We were pretty chuffed to be invited to participate and figure it’s not bad for a site that was nearly going to be called www.somguyinhisunderpants.com.au.
The second big highlight was that this year we launched our first Beer Writing Bursary, with the very generous assistance of Hop Products Australia. It’s a program designed to give aspiring beer writers industry knowledge, writing experience and exposure to a potential audience of 75,000 (and growing) readers. The inaugural recipient, Sam Fletcher, is a passionate beer lover with a real flair for writing and we look forward to reading his weekly dispatches in 2012. We are also excited to be in discussions with a number of other supportive companies with a view to offer several more bursaries in 2012.
Thank you to all of our regular readers and commenters, retweeters and likers. This site is maintained by people who love beer and want to share good beer with a wide audience, but it’s the ever-growing band of regular readers and supporters that make the site meaningful. We appreciate the time that you take to read the site, give us feedback and well-deserved brickbats from time-to-time . Thanks also to our sponsors to pay the site running costs…all we want for Christmas is a few more of you!
Finally, thanks to Australia’s passionate brewers, without whom this site would be pretty pointless really.
A safe and merry Christmas to all.
The Brews News Team.
The year’s top stories.
1. Schooner Wars – beer historian Brett Stubbs’ look at the origins and development of the ‘schooner’ measure has been on slow burn since it was published in January, but has been one of those topics that generates regular interest from readers.
2. Killing Beer Softly – my rant over the the role that tap contracts played in the decline of a good beer bar. In hindsight it’s a much broader issue than this one article captured, but Pete Mitcham and I have followed it up in more detail on (our too infrequent) Radio Brews News, including a chat from the brewer’s perspective with Chuck Hahn from and also the publican’s view from the Great Northern’s Al Caragher. It’s one we will continue to look at in 2012.
3. Magnetised fermentation – Our April Fool’s Day joke in partnership with Nail Brewing’s John Stallwood. Most of our content is deliberately Australian focussed to keep traffic local, because that’s who we want to reach – and more than 90 per cent of our traffic come from Australia and New Zealand. Ths one went international though, such is the power of the interwebs, and generated much chatter on US homebrew discussion boards. It even managed to fool a print magazine that should have known better than to run it as a real story. While most of our top stories have built their traffic over the year, this one’s high viewership came over about two days. It also gave us our most downloaded photo of the year.
4. Bruer’s Bright – The interest in then Pacific Beverages’ (now SABMiller/Fosters’) then new beer (at least in November 2010) was a bit of a surprise. In 2012 it will most likely enter the historical record as I expect it will be one of the early casualties of the post-merger portfolio rationalisation.
5. James Squire 150 Lashes – There’s always interest in new beers and the new release from James Squire proved popular online. It will be interesting to see whether its success is as strong on tap. Our look at the James Squire brand was also very popular this year, coming in at #16.
6. What is ‘craft’ beer – We updated and re-ran our 2010 look at what craft beer really is to coincide with the launch of the Taphouse’s Hottest 100 Craft Beers. It again proved popular, as did the brewers’ reflection on what it means to them (below).
- Alex Troncoso, Little Creatures Brewery
- Cam Hines, Mountain Goat Brewery
- John Stallwood, Nail Brewing
- Scott Vincent, Matilda Bay Brewing Co.
- Tony Jones, Malt Shovel Brewery
- Willie Simpson, Seven Sheds Brewery, Meadery & Hop Garden
7. Top four brewers make half the world’s beer – this was a very early piece that we did just after launching in 2010 and is still popular. It needs to be updated, espcially in light of Fosters takeover by SABMiller and is on the ‘To Do’ list for early 2012.
8. Beer Batter. Beer recipes are always popular, but we have noticed a Google search for ‘beer batter’ peaks between 3pm and 5pm each day! They find Josie Bones’ Chris Badenoch’s take on this fishy staple.
9. Sierra Nevada on it’s way – The announcement that classic US pale ale Sierra Nevada was going to be legitimately imported was a major news story this year. SNPA is a great beer, but my advice is to drink local!
10. You never miss your water – our look at the importance of water chemistry in beer saw constant traffic.
Other notable stories in the top 25 included perennial favourite the beer lover’s guide to good health, the news that Australia was to have an association to promote craft beer, the Local Taphouse’s Hottest 100 announcement as well as the Critic’s Choice announcement. Interest in the furore over Monteith’s trade marking of beer style names should serve as a lesson to brewers who want to follow suit and trade mark beer style names, while Brett Stubbs look at beer and floods was of interest even after the river waters stopped lapping around XXXX’s Brisbane brewery.
Finally, a very important message from one of our sponsors. Drink less, and drink better over Christmas…and stay safe.