A topic of conversation that has on occasions bothered members of The British Guild of Beer Writers has been the lack of decent periodicals about beer. There are those published by CAMRA, Beer in particular is very good. Other than that there are not many beer-ralated publications that might commission paid beer writing work.
Fuelling the frustration is the disproportionate unbalance there is when it comes to column inches or TV airing when comparing beer with other beverages. I could mention a certain food program, maybe.
The debate rumbles on about how viable a proper beer magazine could be. Some point to the fact that it is expensive to distribute onto news stands. Others think that it would work if only someone would fund such a thing. I've always taken the view that if something is viable, and enough people want it to happen, eventually someone will have a go. If it truly has wings, then it'll fly.
At the weekend I was thrust a copy of a new concept of beer publication called Hop & Barley. A crowd funded project that promises to be a bi-monthly quality volume, with limited advertising so as to not detract from subject matter and delivered direct to your door.
It looks professional. Well designed, and binding and finish1 done to give a sense of style and quality. There is a good mix of subject matter, including brewery information, event reviews and a beer cooking article.
Hop & Barley looks like a good idea. If successful it should help provide a new and fresh approach to beer publishing. Being a subscription publication it should cut down on that killer distribution cost. It will no doubt provide an outlet for writers to contribute, although I'm not familiar with any in this preview first edition that I have. Perhaps this will be a new wave of writers, younger, fresher and more in tune with the ever changing beer scene.
1Perfectly bound, I believe is the term. What do I know? I'm not a publisher. Well, only on-line, and we all know internet writing doesn't count as much a print.