Last night I was awarded the inaugural Golden Tap Award for The Best Beer Writer in Ontario.
In case you’re unaware or you’re somehow not among the many I pandered to directly or indirectly to vote for me, the Golden Tap Awards are awards chosen by the general public, who can pick their favourites in a variety of beer categories online.
There are many people who feel that this method of selection unfairly favours those with the best social media presence. It has oft been a source of contention among beer folks, for example, that Beau’s All Natural Brewery are able to be named the best brewery in Ontario year after year–they were unseated last night for the first time in five years–because while they do indeed make decent beer, they also campaign for awards like this aggressively.
I’m not going to dwell on the structure of The Golden Tap Awards (I’m pretty sure that other writers have and will, in print or otherwise), because I have no illusions about what these awards are and I will readily admit that I campaigned (hard) to win.
I haven’t written any books about beer, I don’t have any formal certifications or training related to beer, and I’ve never worked in the brewing industry. Indeed I often rely on those with more expertise and who’ve been doing this longer than I have for help. Jordan St. John, who writes about beer for QMI, maintains the blog St. John’s Wort, and who wrote two (two!) books about beer this year, remains my most frequent source of borrowed knowledge and, since I started writing about beer three years ago, has essentially acted as the beer version of wikipedia for me when I’m writing a story or otherwise just curious. So too have I called upon the imitable Crystal Luxmore for her wealth of beer knowledge, asked the veteran Stephen Beaumont for guidance, gained insights from food and beverage aficionado David Ort, and, as we all do in the beer writing game, blatantly mined the work of the wily Greg Clow for my own references and purposes.
That said, I am extremely passionate about beer and that passion goes into my writing.
As with virtually anyone who gets into craft beer, the more involved I get with this industry, the more I want to learn about it and the more I want to write and share stories about it.
I’d like to think that some of that passion (in addition to my “vote for me” twitter and facebook blitzkrieg) contributed to me winning this award.
I actually don’t write about beer as a source of income. This blog makes no money and never will and the pittance I make for writing for blogTO would barely suffice to cover the internet service provider charges required to submit my semi-regular posts there.
I write about beer because I love both writing and beer.
And so as I said, I have no illusions about what this award represents and yes, part of that means that my “campaigning” efforts were successful, but it also means that a large number of people, coerced or not, thought it worthwhile to vote for me. It means that I am sharing my passion and that, evidently, people like to read what I have to say about beer.
And that’s pretty fucking cool.
So sincerely, to those who voted for me and everyone who continues to read the things that I write about beer, thank you.