It is time to officially end one of my favourite blogging experiences.
For four years I have looked forward to having a blog in December more than any other month. I'm already a geek for Christmas and to be able to combine that with a love for beer was a joy.
On a night in November 2012 the idea of doing a Beer Advent Calendar came to me. It was my first year blogging and so I was naive to the fact that such posts already existed. And then some. In hindsight the idea that nobody would have thought of such a simple idea was foolish. Still, as mine was exclusively Christmas-themed beer focused I had a slight niche and persevered.
At times it has almost been a chore. December is a very busy time for me so finding the time to drink a Christmas themed beer each day has been problematic. Finding the time to write about a Christmas themed beer every day proved nearly impossible, with most years culminating in a completion post long after Christmas was finished, making much of the exercise redundant.
Then there's the aspect of forcing yourself to drink every day through post-work party hangovers and seasonal sniffles and colds.
It all sounds quite laborious, but I looked forward to amassing Christmas-themed beers wherever possible. And I had a little following that encouraged me to keep going each year. Sometimes the posts showed why I am not a beer sommelier. Sometimes I can read my own weariness of the task. Sometimes they were silly yet fun. Sometimes I used phrases like “Dignified Honey” as a tasting note which, I mean, just... what?
I'd like to say it is simply a case of finding the time this year and, again, that is a factor in this decision. But it is more than that. It is my own silly ethical stance on the promotion and hand-outs happening in the beer blogosphere.
A couple of other blogs have, without disclaimers, joined the Beer Advent Calendar game through corporate boxes clearly handed to them by distribution or *independent* companies. I don't know whether they've been paid outright or simply been given the free box of 24 beers on the understanding they would shamelessly promote that company's calendar. I don’t know nor do I care. It does not sit well with me.
Since the concept seems set to reach even higher levels this year it is time to retire my little piece of Christmas. It would be a thankless task when I am picturing many more blogs, podcasts and Facebook forums sharing their own calendars this year. I won’t be able to enjoy them as I’ll be scrutinising who has had the hand-outs and who hasn’t. Even if they provide a disclaimer explaining that they have been asked to promote a company’s calendar, I’ll still be annoyed.
Last year the podcast, that was then in the form of Beer O'Clock Show (now Hopinions) interviewed the original Beer Advent Calendar Godfather as far as I'm concerned, Eddie Grace. He said himself that he probably wouldn't do one again due to its commercialisation and his final post from last year did seem to confirm this. Sometimes things get too big and the founders have to take a step back, like the departing words of Nøgne Ø's founder Kjetil Jikiun after its acquisition. Especially when those that join the field of play are doing it for the money rather than the love.
Have a great Christmas. I'll still be here writing about other beer-related things during December and enjoying Christmas beers without the pressure of writing a few hundred words about them.