This post is part of the ongoing coverage of the 2011 Beer Blogger’s Conference. For more information on the conference itself, visit The Beer Blogger’s Conference Webpage.

Introduction by Julia Herz from the Brewer’s Association

Julia Herz is a craft beer institution – in all the best ways. She’s the Craft Beer Program Director over at the Brewer’s Association (see as well as a blogger and outspoken advocate for many craft beer hot topics, including food pairing, women and beer and the legitimacy of craft beer in the US and the world.

Julia addressed an eager crowd – there was beer at every table as well as pretzel necklaces. (Last conference the opening speaker had to compete for the attention of starving participants scrounging for anything to eat).

Julia Herz (Brewers Association) addresses Beer Blogger Conference attendees.

Her presentation was very upbeat. Sharing craft beer statistics, she reminded the bloggers and industry folks in the room that there are more than 13,000 beer brands out there, and a lot of craft beer growth happening – even despite overall declines due to the economy. Julia is great a pulling together data (something that I’m very into myself) and had data from multiple sources – including some from supermarkets and retail sales – which I hadn’t seen before.

At the end of the presentation, she challenged the audience with a question, “Where do you want to be?” I thought a while and didn’t actually pipe up, but there were some fabulous goals stated by others.

The few that I remember:
-Elevate Craft Beer to the same level of importance as a Wine List, instead of an afterthought.
-Encourage educated craft beer servers, bartenders and retailers
-Bring local beer into the national spotlight

I thought about this for a while and I tried to picture the best goal I could have as a blogger. I know I can’t cover entire all the beer in the world. And I can’t make everyone happy. But I can be a vocal, active and strong advocate for the beer that I know – the beer in New England. And I want to elevate my level of advocacy and be even more vocal, and it’s time for me to stop being timid. I’m ready.

Where do YOU want the industry to go?
What would you like to see?
And what steps can we all take to make that happen?

The craft beer world is in our hands, and now that we have the power, we need to decide what to do with it.