Married to a drinks blogger, it’s inevitable that I dip my toe into the world of drinks blogging too. One of the first drinks bloggers I met through Pete was Simon Williams, the founder of CAMRGB. I’ll let him tell you more about his mission to get us drinking really good beer in his own words…
Hello and welcome, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about the kind of content you share.
Hello, I’m Simon and I write about beer and run a small organisation that tries to promote and celebrate beer regardless of particular dispense methods.
Is there a story behind your blog’s name?
I called the blog The Campaign For Really Good Beer purposefully to annoy CAMRA (The Campaign For Real Ale) as the blog started as a rant against that particular organisation’s lack of support for new UK breweries.
The name also works well graphically – Really Good Beer is Red Green and Blue, RGB, the colour breakdown on an image used online.
I expected more people to make the connection straight away, but many still look surprised when I explain, and I still get people saying, “It should be red white and blue,” meaning I then have to explain again that I’m not interested in any weird nationalist agenda.
Why did you choose to blog about beer?
As I already mentioned, it was a direct result of what CAMRA were (or weren’t) doing. They were not supporting (and still aren’t supporting) new breweries who were making what has started to be termed “Craft” beer and not brewing to CAMRA’s definition of what “Real Ale” is.
Does blogging about drink present any particular challenges?
For me, blogging about anything presents certain challenges as I have a young family and a full time job.
Once a blog becomes more than just a blog (as CAMRGB has) it’s imperative to keep the interest for the group and to grow the group.
Online this means regular new content, and so my days have become a process:
I get up at 5am and publish any beer reviews from the night before, answer emails etc., get the kids up, feed them, get them ready for school, get myself ready and off to work, get home at 5:30pm and pick the kids up from the child-minder, get them home, feed them and get them ready for bed, then I choose a couple of beers to drink and write about, eat and go to bed.
It is, put frankly, a bit boring.
Is there a particular style of beer you seek out most often?
Which single beer could you not live without?
Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo
Are there beer styles you don’t like or think are overrated?
What are the current trends in the beer scene? How do you feel about them?
The current trends seem to be in ridiculous facial hair more than anything.
To be serious though, you can watch the brewing industry and see where things are going.
A couple of years ago everyone was making Black IPAs, then they were all making Saisons and now everyone is sticking as much beer into as many casks and barrels for ageing as they possibly can, with sometimes amazing and sometimes hideous results.
Tell us about your pet controversy in the beer world.
Ooh, I couldn’t possibly. There would be blushes and finger pointing amongst a certain group of, shall we say, traditional ale drinkers.
Since you started blogging, has your style and content changed over time, and if so, in what ways?
Not really, it’s about beer and about trying to connect people.
What is the hardest aspect of blogging for you?
Fitting it into everyday life.
What inspires you to keep blogging?
Meeting people and connecting people.
Seeing photos being posted on Twitter last night of people at IMBC 2014 who had struck up conversations because they were all wearing CAMRGB T-shirts is fantastic.
They know that whatever their differences they can agree on beer and share a certain ideology and can have a chat and have a good evening.
I think that that is just brilliant.
Blogging killed the newspaper star. What do you think bloggers bring to the arena that differentiates them from traditional journalists?
Bloggers are the new fanzine writers.
Passionate amateurs writing from the heart.
The downside of that – and I remember from dealing with fanzine writers in the 80s ad 90s – is that lots of people who start blogging do it to get free stuff and the result is they will only ever say things are great as they believe that that will get them more free stuff.
I try to always be honest in my writing and some people don’t like when I say their product isn’t very good, forgetting it’s just my personal opinion, but most take it on the chin and continue to allow me to get things to review.
What’s the single most popular post on your blog?
I don’t know. The blog gets over 9000 hits a month right now, so I don’t really check to see who is looking at what.
Can we give a little extra love and attention to a post you love but didn’t catch the attention of your readers in the way you hoped?
Spread the love
Enjoyed this interview? Read the rest of the series, here.