“When I tell people that I publish a beer magazine,” writes Daniel Bradford in All About Beer, “I often see a smirk begin to form. ‘Beer magazine,’ they say as if it were an oxymoron. Terms such as ‘Joe Six-Pack,’ ‘lawn-mower beer’ and ‘keggers’ often slip into the conversation. . . . It seems that every place I turn, there’s beer as the symbol of the unhip, unhealthy, unimaginative, unchanging and unthinking.”
Bradford, who recently took over as publisher of All About Beer, is trying to change the image of beer magazines. Most are designed for the home-brew hobbyist or are regional in scope. And most have amateurish production values. All About Beer’s June/July issue introduced readers to a slick new look for the magazine, an important step, Bradford believes, in breaking the old stereotypes.
But what has beer lovers really talking is a new project from Bill Owens, publisher of American Brewer and owner of Buffalo Bill’s brew-pub in Hayward, near Oakland. Owens has just published the first issue of Beer: The Magazine, which is being touted as the Wine Spectator of beer.
“There is no reason why wine lovers should have all the fun,” writes beer expert Michael Jackson in the issue. “Or why devotees of good food and wine should not find themselves consulting the beer lists now being proffered in many restaurants in the U.S.”
Printed on coated paper stock in an oversized format, Beer: The Magazine, which will come out five times yearly, is designed for a general readership. Travel, food and feature articles make up a good portion of the contents, in addition to columns, reviews and industry news. And while there are heavy doses of irreverence in the magazine, the editors and writers consider beer worthy of serious study, analysis and review.
Will it succeed? Within days of its publication, all 10,000 copies of the first issue were sold. Another 10,000 issues are now being printed.
Subscriptions for Beer: The Magazine are $18 a year and can be ordered at (800) 646-2701.