Blogging…The New Advertising Machine?

Gone are the days of the white guys in suits sitting in a smoky boardroom coming up with catchy slogans and jingles for the next great hair gel, whiskey, cigarette, or cereal.  Today’s advertising is sleek, budget driven, and results oriented.  Produce or there are 10 other ad agencies that will want my meager fees to give me what I need for my business.  It’s funny how different things are now.  Back in the days of Don Draper it was a little like shooting fish in a barrel.

Back then there were 3 TV networks, Magazines, and for more regional products the newspaper.  How could you miss? 100% of your target demographic will look at one of those three sources.  You’d have to be on acid to do poorly, and then you’d probably still make money.  Today’s ad game is a completely different reality, and only the best will survive…

So what does all this have to do with a Beer and Whiskey blog you might be asking.  When Jim and I started this blog way back in August of 2009 ( I know…ancient history) I had an idea that it would be fun to interact more with my brother, and it would be a great excuse to drink a lot of really tasty whiskeys.  Both were correct as it turns out, but what I didn’t expect was that we would be part of a much bigger machine…an advertising machine.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong per se about being in on this endeavor, so long as the purveyors of any items that we receive for review understand that what they get is our unabashed opinion.  We don’t filter it, and we put it out here for all of you to see.

So far we have received items from

  • Wild Turkey
  • Buckbean Brewing
  • Old Pulteney (Scotch Whiskey)
  • Bison Brewing
  • New Holland (Whiskey)
  • Victory Brewing (Jim got the barrel aged Storm King Stout…Lucky Dog!)

By and Large its all been pretty good stuff. We loved the Wild Turkey and all the items they sent, but thought the American Honey was far too sweet to do anything with except to marinade food or mix, Jim and I were split on the Buckbean I liked it a lot and he thought Meh…, we both loved the New Holland Whiskeys (on our latest Podcast), and so on.

My question is now I have participated in several on-line sessions that were meant to advertise a product, do you think any of it actually works?  Jim is on his way to a bloggers roll out of the 15th anniversary brew from Victory Brewing right now.  I have done a twitter blast about the Old Pulteney Scotch, and we both did the same for a Wild Turkey tasting.

Did any of you watch these things…ever?  Do us talking about the things we are sent influence your buying decisions?  Is this method of advertising working in your view?  Have you ever bought anything because you read a positive (or negative) review about it on a blog site? Just wondering.  What are your thoughts on this brave new world of blogger based advertising?


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35 Comments on “Blogging…The New Advertising Machine?”

  1. February 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    I was gonna say that I’ve never been influenced by any of your online ramblings, but I just remembered those damn Glencairn glasses. You talked me into those and I love them.

    I’m curious to see how the stuff Bison stuff tastes. It’s organic, which is usually beer code for “crap.” I hope that’s not the case.

    • Don
      February 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

      Yeah, and they didn’t even send those for free! I ought to get some kind of credit or something from the folks at the Glencairn Glass Company!

  2. February 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    I also have stuff from fledgling brewers like Bolero Snort Brewing and Manorhouse Brewing to sample and report on. I have high hopes for both…

    • Don
      February 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

      Yeah, you’re getting in pretty tight with the nano brewing crowd!

  3. February 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    I can’t speak to any of the specific products that you’ve mentioned, but I definitely keep an eye out for products that receive favorable reviews here. Especially since I’ve got novice tastebuds when it comes to whiskey, I’ve been dying to try some of the BWB-approved whiskeys. Specifically, I’ve kept an eye out for the Maker’s 46 and Willie Nelson’s Old Whiskey River Bourbon. I haven’t had any luck with it, admittedly, but I still intend to try those products.

    • Don
      February 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

      WE need to talk John, because if you are loking for the Old Whiskey River, I can think of some others that are better. Although the OWR is very good entry level stuff because of its sweet and less aggressive flavor profile. The Makers 46 is great and I say get it when you see it.

      • February 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

        Oh yeah, bear in mind- I’m very, very entry level when it comes to whiskey.

  4. February 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Yo Don!

    My answer would have to be, it depends on who is doing the writing. If there’s a blogger with similar likes and dislikes, then I’m more likely to take their advice when it comes time to trying something new. Take Old Pulteney for instance… I’ve had the 12 and 17 year old expressions. Now I’m intrigued to try the mysterious 3rd one you tweeted about. Sounds tasty!

    It’s all about expanding our horizons and trying something new, and sometimes even going back and getting reacquainted with an “old friend”. All good fun! 🙂

    Peace Yo!

    • Don
      February 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

      Well, I guess it is working to some degree based on the comments so far. It is interesting, because it is probably far less expensive to ship a bunch of product out to bloggers than to put together a whole ad campaign for a product. I guess this internet might just catch on! 😉

      • February 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

        Free stuff? Where? 🙂

  5. February 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    One more thing… Christina Hendricks! Ahhhhhh! 😉

    • February 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

      She’s married to the “Snozzberries taste like snozzberries” guy from Super Troopers. I really don’t know how I feel about that.

    • Don
      February 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm #


      • February 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

        Not sure who that is (guess you’re not his biggest fan. Heh). Haven’t seen that in awhile. Pretty funny from what I recall, though Beer Fest may have been craptastically funnier.

  6. February 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Personally, I can say I’ve tried a few beers specifically because of an interesting review here. I might have gotten to them eventually, but I think the got moved up a notch or two on my list.

    I think the larger picture is more important actually from whatever company is getting the buzz made about them – good or bad. Its a lot cheaper to send out some samples than to create the kind of grass-roots buzz about a product that a bunch of blogs can make, especially if the reviews are unbiased like yours are. How can they lose? They can’t.

    My cynical side reminds me from time to time that someone else is benefiting much more from the combined and persistent buzz that bloggers make.

    • February 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

      I’d also like to say ‘buzz’ once more.

      • Don
        February 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm #


    • Don
      February 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

      I’ve tried beers because of you too Scott. It must be like advertising magic! Just get a bunch of geeks together and get them hyped into a frenzy! I wonder how many of the bloggers at the thing Jim is going to have broken glasses?

  7. Constance
    February 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    As someone who’s sent you some of those products, I can assure you that we do it for a reason. You’ve got a blog/website with a high ranking and high volumes of traffic. You and Jim are knowledgeable and insightful when it comes to the things you have to say about the beverages you try. Whenever anyone isn’t a staunch expert, but rather an enthusiastic connoisseur, other people take to heart what they have to say. I could chase down journalists all day, but I’d rather work with people like you. People who will graciously accept products to fairly and accurately give their analysis and feedback of them.

    I want your unbiased opinion on the companies I work with out there- if you have something good to say, it reaches miles. If you have something bad to say, we learn. You could look at it as me ‘using’ you, but we look at it as us using each other.

    You get new products you might not otherwise have tried or even heard of. We get your feedback and the ability to take whatever you’ve said and run with it, whether it be good or bad.

    And just a note- organic beer is good beer. Well, Bison organic beer is good beer 🙂

    • Don
      February 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

      Yes Constance. I have a bit of a bone to pick with you! Brother Jim got the e-mail, but I didn’t! Just Joking. I’ll let him review the Organic cra..uh…stuff. 😉

      • Constance
        February 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

        Haha, I have no excuse. If you’re as good a responder as Jim is, then I’ll start barking up your tree!
        Ah, you gotta get in on the tasting, just a little. What’s life without a little organic, eh, stuff?!

  8. February 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Give it a whirl, Don. Peak Organic is good as is Wolaver’s.

  9. Jake
    February 12, 2011 at 8:25 am #


    I think this is a model that works. People come to a site like this to find recommendations on products that are new, different and most importantly, taste great.

    Being new to the site, my first interest is in establishing whether or not the site is credible and shares my tastes (to a degree). Jim had me with Palo Santo (one of my all time favorites), but had he extolled the virtues of Olde E in his recent review, I may have decided to move on. On the whiskey side, while I won’t push away Makers as you might, my somewhat naïve pallet still knows that Booker’s and Blanton’s are GOOD!

    What you’re doing is establishing trust with the reader. Once that is accomplished, who cares where you get it, as long as the review is objective. All this said, based on my opinion that you know your stuff, I picked up the Old Weller Antique last night. Excellent recommendation, and at $21.99 at my local liquor store (or packie as we call it in Boston), this will definitely make my rotation. I don’t think anyone loses in this scenario.

    Keep up the good work!

    • February 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Jake, but when did I extoll the virtues of Olde E?! That stuff was awful!!

      • Jake
        February 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

        I meant that IF you had propped up Olde E in your review, I may have run for the hills. Instead, you appropriately gave it the thrashing it deserved.

        Dead homies deserve better than Olde E, don’t they?

        • February 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

          Depends on the homie, Jake.

  10. Angela
    February 12, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    In a word . . . yes. You made a point in one blog post about taste, which hit at my core belief about food and drink and which was, it has got to taste good to the person consuming. That being said, drinking and eating for me starts with the eyes and moves to palate and reading a description and opinion helps to guide what actually reaches my lips :).

    Thanks for the blog, glad to have found it.

    • Don
      February 14, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks, Angela. I guess the internet is really turning into a global marketplace for all sorts of things, and it should be used as a resource.

  11. February 14, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    Exposure on the products will definitely help sales… I could bet that someone who comes across a beer they heard about through your blog will be more likely to buy it than if they’d never heard of the beer…

    • Don
      February 14, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      Jorge, I agree, but I just have to wonder in the greater scheme of things how effective it is. We have a great readership which is growing all the time, but we’re no Superbowl! 😉

  12. February 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    I say yes, definitely. The blogs I read and I’m sure is the case with most blog readers are of topics that I am interested in, that’s what lures me in. Then, I must like the writing, because even if the topic is there but the writing style, or personality sucks, I will not tune in. Over time, the trust-building(as mentioned above) and the fact that you are in favor of the authors, opinions, likes & dislikes the majority of the time, you would not hesitate to take a recommendation on a particular product as I have on many occasions. Can’t say that for a billboard!

    • Don
      February 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      Good point Mark! This blogging thing is taking off! 😉

    • February 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

      All of those factors and you STILL read Don’s posts? Wow!!


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