What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

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What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Sarah » 10 months ago

What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017
It's fantastic to finally say "Hello!" 

As mentioned in the post "2017 - A Major New Year for the Site", an incredible amount of work has been spent on the new site structure, which will make the information on BIABrewer.info fast and easy to find.

In this thread, I'll try to explain the coming changes in a series of posts, which I'll endeavour to write every few days or so. These updates will include, but not be limited to:

Why 2017 and Not Before?
Why the site name is changing
What's in store for new members
What's in store for existing members
What this community has enabled/created to date
The two sides of the new site
NOTE: Once the above are written, I'll hyperlink them to the relevant post below.

Before doing any of the above though, I'll introduce myself properly in the next post, explain how I ended up here and what I hope to help with.

Please feel free to ask any questions in this thread.

It might take a few days occasionally for us to respond; we have blown our budget, several times over, so I'm heading out to bring in some dollars, while Patrick 'Patch' Hollingdale puts the final pieces of this massive jigsaw together.

It's fantastic, and an honour, to be able to play a role in bringing about this major change.

Cheers,
Sarah 'Brucey' Williams
Last edited by BIABrewer on 12 Feb 2017, 23:02, edited 4 times in total.
Cheers,
Sarah :drink:
No BIPs? Get them while they're hot!

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Sarah » 10 months ago

As promised above, in this post, I'll introduce myself properly, explain how I ended up here and what I hope to help with.

Early Days

Born in Japan (during an earthquake), to an Irish mother and Rhodesian father, I grew up in Brunei (an alcohol-free country, ironically enough!) and came to Australia at sweet 16, where I completed my schooling.
Sarah - Baby photo.jpg
Professional Development

Having been lucky enough to receive excellent marks for University, after trying a few courses, I was drawn to the vibrant hospitality industry. Starting out as a professional Barista, I moved on to the wonderful world of bars, restaurants and pubs. This is where I first stumbled across craft beers, and my passion was born! Over the years, I developed a keen interest in Australia's burgeoning craft beer revolution.
Sarah - Work at Tasting Team (James Squire).jpg
Soon enough, I found myself as the State Manager of a tasting company that specialised in the industry. What bliss to be employed to do what you love!  
Sarah - Work at Feral stand.jpg
Pilgrimage

Keen to learn more about beer on an international level, I took a trip around Canada and the USA to explore the amazingly rich and varied beer culture there - I had some amazing adventures, and met so many incredible people, from the guys at Stone, Escondido, CA - to the mad scientists at Sixpoint, Brooklyn, NY... and many more in between! I had such a good time that I returned later the next year to spend three months in Colorado (an incredible part of the country which produces sensational water and a fine climate for hop farms) subsisting on some of the freshest hop-nectar I've ever tasted. 
Sarah - Work at Toolshed Canada.jpg
Back to Fremantle

Recently, I returned to Perth, home of the Australian craft beer revolution, determined to become a brewer! I had learned so much about beer, but had very little idea on how to actually brew. Little did I know how much things were about to change and how much more I was going to discover...
Sarah - Cicerone.jpg
First thing I did was enrol in the Cicerone course, but, more importantly, I wanted to learn to brew my own beer at home. My parents mentioned that 'Patch', an old family friend, had been brewing craft beer for years at his house just around the corner! I guess you could say, the rest is history...
Sarah - CBS Cert.jpg
A Bit About Patrick 'Patch' Hollingdale

I certainly lucked out here. Patch (he's blind in one eye), struck me as a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge, even though he says that there are still many unexplored areas in brewing. He's been a brilliant and very patient teacher; he even let me brew a chocolate cherry stout, which, afterwards, he told me, was the most expensive, time-consuming and labour-intensive beer he has ever been associated with... he will never forgive me, but at 6.6%, I certainly enjoyed it.
Sarah - Pistol Patch.jpg
The further we brewed, the further I came to realise the enormous influence that Patch has had on the international brewing community. I did a little research and found that he has been the primary force, if not creator, behind several concepts, practices or tools that have already, or, with the upcoming site, will become revolutionary.
Sarah - first show beers.jpg
As I learned, I started to question him - and his main frustration was that the existing site is, although content-rich, was visually ugly and technically clunky. However, with just a little bit of concentrated effort, time and money, it could be so much better. His passion proved infectious, and we ended up saying "Let's just do it!"

And Then...

We started out brewing lots of batches; singles, doubles and even quadruples; trying to remember to take photos and videos and often forgetting! Quite a few batches were aimed at simplifying basic practices, even proto-typing equipment, to ensure that the "not-talked" about, and more laborious, sides of brewing would become easy.
Sarah - cradling Keg.jpg
After identifying what we needed to refine in the new site, our next focus was on how to structure the new site. When you see the new site, you should find it very easy to use however, I couldn't even begin to describe the work to get it to that stage. If you've ever seen "A Beautiful Mind", you have some idea!

We thought, after nailing the above, we had the toughest stuff sorted. So, all that was left to do, was to have a quick look at the IT side of things. Well, to tell you all the truth, that's probably taken at least a decade off my life!

Now

Patch and I have worked full-time for the last eight months on the site, with little to no income. We thought the whole project would only take a few months, however, we're both now exhausted, very thirsty and flat broke!

The good news though, is what we call the 'grey' areas are now completely, or mostly, solved. All that is left to do is the writing of content - which Patch can do off the top of his head - however, this will still take many hours a day, for a month or so, for him to complete.

Meanwhile, I'll have to go back to peddling booze, as not only Patch's bank account is empty, but also mine!


What I Hope I Can Contribute

As you may have read, the new site will have two sides to it. Very simply, one side will be all about information and advice - the formal side of the site. The other side is informal and more about social communication and interaction amongst brewers.

Patch knows next to nothing about Social Media, which is, of course, an extremely vital portal of marketing, advertising and communications in this day and age. I'll be setting up relevant Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for the new site, and hope to see you there!
Sarah - desk job.jpg
From a marketing point of view, having seen first-hand the amount of time and money that has been spent here in the last eight months, let alone the years before by many of the 'old faithfuls', I hope I can facilitate ways in which everyone can contribute (eg. BIPs.)

If You Are in Town

If you happen to be a Perth local or are visiting, let me know and maybe we can do a brew day!

Cheers,
Sarah 'Brucey' Williams
Sarah - Beer in glass.jpg
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Last edited by Sarah on 16 Jan 2017, 17:09, edited 2 times in total.
Cheers,
Sarah :drink:
No BIPs? Get them while they're hot!


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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by goulaigan » 10 months ago

Wow, now that's how you do an introduction post ! :salute:

Looking very much forward to seeing the changes you both have been working so hard on! Thanks Sarah and Pat for all the work you are doing to improve this great community we have here. Wish I could help you out with that broken budget but alas, mine is always broken too...

Cheers!

:drink:


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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Scott » 10 months ago

Hi Sarah,

Well that was certainly a fascinating read! Learned some new and interesting things about both you and Pat... I did not know what a Ciscerone was...wondered if it might be a beer version of a Sommelier, and had to do an internet search to find more info. That sounds impressive! At least to us beer lovers...! :thumbs:

Certainly agree with your comments about the old site. Tons of awesome info...if you can find it when needed. Not the prettiest site to look at, but certainly I'm not the only one to think seeing a few pictures of pretty Sarah on this website have made it a little easier on the eyes... ;)

I am very excited to see what has been done to improve the site! Glad Patch has a younger, tech savy person to help with the social media aspects. I'm a dinosaur with that end of things as well... Crazy, cause I was that young person, very into modern technology not too many years ago... Well maybe more than a few years ago now that I think about it, but it is what it is.

It will also be interesting to see what is done to bring in income for the site. I feel deep gratitude to Pat for all his assistance in my brewing operations and know everyone else here does as well. There has to be a way to help people brew better beer and make some money. Excited for the future! :salute:

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by mally » 10 months ago

Hi Sarah,

I was going to say welcome, but I feel like you have been one of us for quite a while now anyway.

I didn't know Pat was blind in one eye, with him and Bob having no olfactory performance we seem to be a bunch of people with limited sense! :lol:

BTW, Keep up the good work!
G B
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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Thonz » 10 months ago

Hi Sarah!

Cool to see you're putting so much effort into this. While I haven't been online for a long time, it's good to see that BIABrewer development is still going strong. I'm really interested in the results!
If you need any help (I can do Dutch translation among other things) just let me know!

Thomas

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by ShorePoints » 10 months ago

Greetings, Sarah.
I’d wager that we, the unwashed masses, are almost as happy to have you here as Pat is. the existing BIAB content (in terms of information) is so large that it does seem unwieldy at times but you are sorting that out. I look forward to all the new things the site will bring to us. This is good news!
Thanks for all you do. :clap:

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by BobBrews » 10 months ago

Wow what a nice read. Information galore and all of it nicely laid out. You are a life saver for this site. Fresh outlooks help refine things. :luck:
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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by JackRussel » 10 months ago

Wow, what a way to introduce yourself! Bravo :clap: .
Welcome to the club. There are plenty of helpful and knowledgeable brewers here to help with any questions you may have.

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Lumpy5oh » 10 months ago

That is a great post Sarah. It is awesome to see the difference the work you and Pat have put into the site. To echo what Molly said you have been one of us from day one; but again welcome to the family.
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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Yeasty » 10 months ago

Wow Sarah what an introduction :clap: , and a big well done for all your work so far helping Pat with the mammoth task of making a new site. :thumbs: .

I'm more of a lurker than a brewer these days but your passion and enthusiasm might guilt me into getting a brew on :shock:

:salute: :salute: :champ:

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Streamer » 10 months ago

What a great story! You obviously have a lot of enthusiasm for the process and product, and that enthusiasm shows through. :thumbs: It'll be fun to toggle through the new site/format when it's all put together. And I do hope you all find a way to replenish your financial reserves though it.

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by thughes » 10 months ago

"with just a little bit of concentrated effort, time and money, it could be so much better"

I see you fell for PP's usual line! :lol:

Great to have you here Sarah. As a once active but now hit-and-run contributor here, it's great to see a renewed enthusiasm at the site. I'm looking forward to all the changes and you may have actually inspired me to get off my ass and start brewing again (although during my hiatus I have done plenty of product research).

Thanks for the fantastic introduction. As others have already stated, I won't say "Welcome" because it seems you have always been a member of the family and you've just finally find your way home.

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Sarah » 10 months ago

Thank you all for such a warm welcome!

I'm so glad you appreciate my initial posts in this thread, as it took a lot of time to get them finalised :love: although I couldn't/wouldn't have been so thorough without Patch egging me on! He holds very high standards!

It's a great relief to have been finally able to officially announce the BIPs program also. It's actually going to be a pretty sweet system, another revolutionary idea from the site.
Big thanks to those who have donated time or money in the past (we'll definitely be looking after you) and to those who have contributed today; it means a lot!
Before more 'official' updates in this thread, I'll give Patch a hand to re-write The BIPs Thread so as the concept is much clearer. This shouldn't take us too long Todd :sneak:

I know the new site has actually been years in the making. It's been fascinating to help put it all together (and help create some exciting new stuff). Can't wait for the big reveal!

Thanks to all of you who have kept the forum active (My First Post thread, answering questions so well etc.) :thumbs:

I really appreciate all your responses and well-wishes; I find them very motivating, especially before the first beer of the day.

Hope you're all enjoying some tasty midweek brews :drink:

Again, thanks for your support!
Last edited by Sarah on 17 Jan 2017, 21:12, edited 1 time in total.
Cheers,
Sarah :drink:
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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by PistolPatch » 10 months ago

Lol! Same sentiments from me as so nicely put by the other members above :salute:

Is it my imagination or did I see captions attached to your pics above yesterday? Another IT (Intellectual Torture) problem maybe?

I'm guessing that the caption for this pic...
Sarah - desk job.jpg
...was Pat saying, "Sarah, stop drinking the choc/cherry stout" or "Sarah, two hours checking your Facebook feed is more than enough." :)

Anyway, top pics! But, where are the videos?

I don't mean to diminish the time/thought/money that you and Pat have put in almost full-time over the last eight months; definitely hard/difficult work but!!!... I did hear rumours that there are videos of you guys literally rolling on the floor laughing. Will we get to see them at some stage?

Top job, cheers and thanks to you :thumbs: :clap: :salute: :champ:,
PP
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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Brew4me » 10 months ago

I started my brewing hobby off the original site and the great input from many experienced people who participate on it. :thumbs: to you all. The build up and hype for the new site makes me wonder if taking the site to the next level will cause me to quit my day job and go into the craft beer business full time :lol:
I am truly impressed with the dedication and am looking forward to the new site! Thanks for you efforts.

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Mad_Scientist » 10 months ago

I wish I had a girl-next-door, but I digress ;) Pat truly is fortunate to have you Sarah. We all are :shoot:

I remember when Dr. Hollingdale gave you a large avatar. You deserve it. Wait, what, where did Large Sarah go? :o
MS


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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Contrarian » 10 months ago

Sounds like a massive effort was involved in penning that post! Let alone the amazing work that you have been doing on the site!

Welcome to the brewing community :)

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Mad_Scientist » 10 months ago

Large Sarah Avatar
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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Rick » 10 months ago

Very good!

It sounds like we'll have a great platform for a greater amount of posting/participation. I tend to visit here in spurts due to inactivity, so hopefully that changes so I can always keep a browser tab open.

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Sarah » 10 months ago

Hey fellas (where are all the other female brewers hiding??) - thanks again for all the support!

Firstly, I must refer to my previous post where I said we'd be focussing on adding more info about BIPs. In hindsight, we think the less we write the better. It might be easier and more informative for everyone, if you asked any questions, or make any suggestions, in The BIPs Thread.
 
Please do ask questions - they will help a lot! For instance, one of our most valuable members suspected that this new system would perhaps lead readers to believe that someone with many BIPs would always give correct answers. A great question, and we will address it in that thread. Short answer; No, that won't be the case at all.

Secondly, cheers for your comments, and a shout out to a few of you in particular   :argh:

PistolPatch - I've no idea which grapevine you're listening to, but, even though we've had some massive fun here at Brew HQ, I can't remember any funny vids; next time I'm at HQ, I'll hunt the hard drive. Maybe I won't like what I see?

Mad_Scientist - large Sarah has been working so hard she's now half her size. Hah! Just kidding - I wish! That avatar probably only came about because I was too lazy to resize my profile picture before uploading to the site  :roll:  but now that I hold a respectable position, I must in turn respect the rules. 

Rick - thanks for your patience and all your contributions in the past both behind the scenes and on forum. You'll definitely want to keep a tab open this year. Lots of exciting things in the pipeline!  :thumbs:
Last edited by Pat on 21 Jan 2017, 21:48, edited 1 time in total.
Cheers,
Sarah :drink:
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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by jhough » 10 months ago

Sarah, the site looks fantastic ! :thumbs: :clap: Have been away for a bit. Will be delving in more now that the docs have FINALLY  figured out my wife's problems . Welcome !!!
                         J


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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by tullaroan » 10 months ago

Good luck to you both with the revamp. As a new user I can say that existing site is not really user friendly, although the information is there if you are sherlock homes. It is up to Pat what he does with it, but given the interest in BIAB globally there is a real opportunity to get a few pennies in to keep the lights on (or even more): and without complaining or begging. It's just got to be super accessible and useful and people will come and hang out. There are loads of way of commercialising traffic, especially traffic consisting of people who buy gear and supplies all the time. 
If this site doesn't do it then no doubt some other sites will, if they have not already. 
There is also opportunity for promotion as well via the media. 
Mr Money Mustache has a finance site for example and he made over US$400K last year from affiliate links. And no that wasn't his motivation.  
Again, best of luck ! 

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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Sarah » 10 months ago

Reply to jhough and tullaroan -

Welcome back jhough, so glad to hear your wife is better.
Thanks for the compliments - however, you ain't seen nothing yet!

The blue and green theme is merely a temporary skin to tide us over until we are ready to reveal the new theme in all its resplendence and glory! We spent an enormous amount of time designing it (I'm quite proud of myself!) so we can't wait to show it off. 
The new site is a gold skin, and we will be making it visible to Gold members within the next 24 hours, just as a bit of a bonus - and Patch will write some notes on this within the next 24 hours.

We are also trialling a new email system. The technical changes can take a day or two to go through, so please let us know of any issues.

Tullaroan, you've hit some nails on the head there - user-friendliness being a key part of what we've been working to improve. Our goal is to create a site which is both complex and easy to use. There is so much information to organise, condense (and expand), and present in a logical manner. We hope the new site will attract a large cross-section of the brewing community, opening up to homebrewers of different methods plus retailers and wholesalers. I wonder what Mr. Money Mustache's beer of choice is?
Last edited by Pat on 23 Jan 2017, 21:40, edited 1 time in total.
Cheers,
Sarah :drink:
No BIPs? Get them while they're hot!


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Re: What's Happening to BIABrewer in 2017

Post by Pat » 10 months ago

tullaroan wrote:Mr Money Mustache has a finance site for example and he made over US$400K last year from affiliate links. And no that wasn't his motivation.  
Again, best of luck ! 
My goodness! 400K would just about cover all of the time some members have spent here :lol: . Rightly or wrongly, the focus has always been on getting things right. I'm a little naive (luckily, in a way) and didn't realise, even years ago, how much time (and money) getting things right would require. 

Oops! It's slowly sinking in that even just maintaining the IT side of things chews up a heap of time, let alone the things we'd like to be working on, for example, answering questions and having a bit of fun.

We do have some ideas on enabling that, which Sarah will mention later in this thread.

Thanks for your best wishes Tullaroan and to everyone else for giving Sarah a warm welcome. She's wanted to be on the board for ages, but I needed to steal all her time & brain-power for the new site  :). (She'll be adding another 'official' post in this thread later today btw.)

And, tomorrow, I'll put Gold Members onto the Gold skin so as they can get a feel for it. (This won't show new content, just the new style).

Cheers  :salute:
Pat
Last edited by Sarah on 25 Jan 2017, 16:57, edited 1 time in total.
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