Brewbound Podcast Episode 23: BeerAdvocate Founders on the Future of Print Journalism and the Business of Beer Festivals

BeerAdvocate founders Jason and Todd Alström are “planning for the end” of their company’s print publication.

Launched in 2006, BeerAdvocate Magazine has long served as one of the country’s premier print publications covering an array of topics that beer industry professionals and enthusiasts alike have come to enjoy.

Along the way, the magazine has established itself as a reputable platform for beer writers such as Andy Crouch, Ken Weaver, and Joshua Bernstein, among many others, to not only hone their skills as writers and develop their personal brands but also to share compelling stories from all corners of the craft beer community.

But rising production costs have forced the Alströms to begin preparing for what they said in late 2017 was inevitable — the shift to an exclusively digital publication.

In anticipation of that eventual change, in 2018, the Alströms moved from a monthly to a quarterly publication and raised the subscription price.

However, those changes weren’t enough to help BeerAdvocate avoid ceasing publication of its print magazine, a fate All About Beer, Draft Magazine and Celebrator Beer News have already come to terms with.

The reality, according to Todd Alström, is that costs associated with running a print publication are high, and advertising revenue is dwindling.

“The last year has been a struggle,” he said. “Advertisers are moving away from it, so we have to as well.”

As BeerAdvocate, which was established in 1996, prepares for the eventual end of its print publication, the Alströms have begun focusing more energy and investment behind their beer festivals, a key revenue driver for their company. They’re also preparing to overhaul the BeerAdvocate website and launch a new mobile app.

In episode 23 of the Brewbound Podcast, Jason and Todd Alström sit down for a discussion about the business of beer festivals, the future of print journalism within beer, A-B InBev’s investment in competitor beer ratings website RateBeer, and what it’s like to be at the center of a controversy that is unfolding on the BeerAdvocate forum.

Also in this episode: Brewbound editors Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall discuss forthcoming acquisitions by a well-funded cannabis company, brewery closures in Portland, Oregon, and the disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct by the owner of a small craft brewery in Ohio.

Listen to episode 23 of the Brewbound Podcast above, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and Soundcloud. New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast, which is co-hosted by Furnari and Kendall, are published every Thursday.

Episode 24, featuring Seismic Brewing’s Chris Jackson and Patrick Delves, will be released on Thursday, February 21. For questions, comments or suggestions, please email podcast@brewbound.com.

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Brewbound Podcast

The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.