Hi everyone! We don’t have any more beer events to report on this week, but instead we wanted to bring you up to speed on what’s been happening behind the scenes here at Bottle Makes Three. Yeah, we know you’d rather hear about beer, but we like to share. Deal with it. So this will be one of those posts that gives you a peek inside our heads (yikes) and into some of the personal hurdles we’ve experienced with the blog the last 12 months or so. If you just aren’t interested in us and want to read about beer and booze, maybe come back next week. If you choose to stick around we promise not to get too deep. As if that’s ever a concern with us.
We’ve done a lot behind the scenes at Bottle Makes Three the past few months. We’re pretty excited about where we’re headed. But before we can catch you up on all that, let’s start with a look back at where we’ve been.
This month the little beer blog that could, Bottle Makes Three, officially celebrated our 5-year anniversary. If that seems surprising to you it’s probably because we did a horrible job at self-promotion for those early years. But its true, we’ve been at this 5 years! We created BMT in March 2012 with the genius idea that we’d visit all the Colorado breweries and write about our adventures. At the time, Colorado had about 150 breweries, and it seemed like a fun, albeit challenging, project. We would explore the state, meet new people, and enjoy some great new beers. What was so crazy about that?
Oh what silly, naive beer bloggers we were. Little did we know it in 2012, but the brewing scene would soon explode in Colorado like an over-carbonated beer explodes from a bottle. We struggled to keep up with all the grand openings, and our list of places to visit grew larger and larger. Eventually, we realized the numbers were not in our favor. Plus, chasing down each new brewery just to say we’d been there wasn’t something we enjoyed. We wanted to stop and appreciate the journey. Furthermore, not every brewery knocks it out of the park when they first open their doors. Others breweries could have been great, but just weren’t our cup of tea. We realized we didn’t want to write about places we didn’t enjoy, especially when we were basing our opinion on a single experience. It just didn’t seem fun to dis someone’s dream.
We scrapped that original goal relatively quickly. Instead, we decided that Bottle Makes Three should celebrate what we loved most about the Colorado beer scene. We would share our personal stories of visiting breweries that we enjoyed. Our focus would be on the incredible places, events and beers that we discovered. Over time we diversified further to include the occasional distillery, restaurant, and other random adventure. In short: We just wrote about what we loved, and had fun doing it.
Apparently we were doing something right, because gradually people started to notice. We had a logo and some branding designed. (Big thanks Jessica from DesignFarm30A, she’s the best!) Eventually we built a following that finally included people who weren’t bound by blood to like us. (Shout out to our parents, who are still our biggest fans!) Soon after we started to get invited to events as media, and even wrote a few articles for some other publications. (Shout out to Tristan at PorchDrinking.com for believing in us!)
All and all we were feeling pretty successful. Things were awesome!
Then Came 2016
You know that moment when the stranger walks in a locals-only bar, the record scratches to a halt, and everyone turns and stares? That sums up how 2016 felt to us. All of a sudden what was working before wasn’t working for us any more.
For some reason we still can’t fully explain, for much of 2016 we had a hard time being motivated to do anything. We were getting pulled different directions by work and other obligations. Life was busy and doing anything felt difficult. No area of our life suffered more than Bottle Makes Three. We tried, but some months we could barely get an article or two posted. It was discouraging. We felt like we were losing the momentum it took so many years to find. We wondered if it was worth it to continue.
If you’re a regular reader, none of this is news to you. We posted about our struggles early this year. We had weighed everything out, and decided that we love Bottle Makes Three too much to quit. This site has taken us to new places and introduced us to great people. It had pushed us beyond what we though we’d ever accomplish. However, it was clear that if we were to continue, we had to make some changes. We had to figure out how to make blogging fun and exciting again.
That January post hinted at a fresh start and promised big changes, but we weren’t immediately sure where to start. The last few months we have been working hard on improving the site, albeit mostly behind the scenes. We started by focusing on our infrastructure. We updated the look and feel of our website. We found a great new tool to revamp and update our Colorado Brewery Directory. We created an Event Listing feed from Facebook to save us time, and to better connect our readers with fun local events. In short, we rebuilt Bottle Makes Three from the bottom up. We made it better, stronger and faster … just like the 6-Million Dollar Man. And that wasn’t even the hard part.
Next, we knew we needed a structured plan to outline what we wanted to cover, and how we could make it all fit into our already busy lives. We finally admitted we needed a – gasp! – editorial calendar. Many fellow bloggers will think it’s nuts that we never had one in the first place. Others will think it’s unnecessary, adding too much structure to something that is supposed to be fun. Whatever your thoughts, we desperately needed something to help us get organized. The old plan of “just winging it” wasn’t working any longer.
So now we have a plan and we’re pretty excited about moving forward. We know what we want to write about, how often, and most important, how we can make it all fit into our busy lives. It may sound lame, but all this planning has re-energized us! We’re fired up to put this plan in motion and blog more. Plus we just want to get back to drinking beer. Though honestly, we never actually stopped that last part. Now you’ll just get to read about it more, and sharing is caring!
What does this all mean for you, our readers? It means we have a helluva lot great new content coming your way. And this time, we really mean it. This is not a premature April Fools prank.
Next week we’re kicking things off with a guest post series from our buddy, Rob. The 3-post series will cover everything you need to know about planning a trip to the Mack-Daddy of beer festivals in Munich: Oktoberfest. April may not feel like the right time to talk Lederhosen and Märzen, but, this is exactly the time of year you need to start planning your trip. Rob is no stranger to Oktoberfest and has some awesome advice and tips. He certainly has us thinking we need cross Munich off our bucket-list. Hopefully you enjoy the series, too.
Immediately following that, we’ll be kicking off our new content plan with, 2-3 fresh new Bottle Makes Three posts each week. We’ll get back to bringing you stories from inside our favorite breweries, along with more features on great beers, events, and our personal adventures. We are also planning to add more regular content beer & food, because one cannot survive on beer alone. Plus we’ll bring you more stories from beyond beer – including whiskey, spirits, wine, and ciders. Expect to hear more of our personal stories and opinions too, for what it’s worth. Heck, we may even include some posts about blogging, since after 5 years, we’ve learned a thing or two about the subject. We hope you’ll enjoy more variety and consistency from us going forward.
Thanks for 5 Great Years!
So, it only took us 5 years, but we’re finally taking this whole Bottle Makes Three thing seriously. Who knew planning and structure was important for a successful blog? Apparently everybody… and we’re just slow learners. But in all sincerity, we are thankful to those of you who have stuck with us, and think you’ll really love the changes. Besides, what’s not to love about more Bottle Make Three? We hope you have fun along with us during our all new and improved adventures.
Before you go, make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too. We’ll be ramping up the action on our social media sites, and you wouldn’t want to miss out. If you have suggestions for topics you’d like to see us tackle, send them our way. You can always contact us. Send us a note if you have something to say or just want to say hello. Just please be nice, k?