Thursday, 2 February 2012

Durham Brewery White Stout twitter tasting

The innovative Durham Brewery have come up with a fabulous idea to promote their latest beer using social media. As they describe on their website, at 8:30pm on Wednesday 8th February, they're encouraging twitter using beer drinkers to crack open a bottle of White Stout and share their thoughts interactively.

Twitter is a great tool for this type of engagement. A lot of TV shows encourage viewers to interact while a show is on-air to great success, with hashtags often driven to pole position in the top trending topics. There's already a strong beer community on twitter and lots of interaction of an evening but typically, we'll be drinking different beers. This event will be really interesting to see what happens when we're all drinking and tweeting about the same beer. Last year's beer bloggers conference featured live blogging during a tasting session which was fun to follow (if a little challenging with having to refresh multiple browser tabs) and this idea is a nice extension to that, using a media which is far better suited.

The brewery will be represented by Manager Elly, Director Steve and Brewer Sean who will be present online and physically installed in a participating pub to engage real-time with those taking part.

The hashtag #whitestout has already seen plenty of action since the event was announced last week. As of 8am on Thursday 2nd February, it had featured in 98 tweets from over 20 individuals. The below chart (created with Archivist) shows the distribution of these:

distribution of tweets using #whitestout

There's also a nice upward trend forming, with six days still to go before the actual event. The graph below shows this growth:

 tweets per day

The general content of those tweets is positive, as shown in the graph below which plots frequency of words used:

 frequency distribution of words in tweets using #whitestout

So what of the beer itself? Durham Brewery tell us that "two hundred years ago, before the porter brewers commandered "stout" to mean stout or strong porter, a stout beer was a strong beer. It did not have to be black. We have re-created the style using modern hops and a full malt body". Brewed with maris otter malt and columbus hops, it's described as a "very drinkable strong ale".

The beer is already getting attention and Richard Fletcher wrote this great article for Journal Live in which he comments on the history of stout and the idea of innovating with traditional recipes.

It's bottle conditioned and weighs in at a hefty 7.2% - ideal for sharing during the event.

To take part, get following the profiles of those linked above. They'll tell you which pubs will have the beer on, or if you'll be taking part from home, where you can get your hands on a bottle. Then at 8:30pm next Wednesday, join the action by tweeting using #whitestout and share your opinions with like minded people.

After the event, I'm planning a follow up post to comment on the proceedings and analyse the activity it drove, so check back next week and tell me what you thought!

Are you planning to take part? If so, will you be in a pub or at home with a bottle? What do you think about using social media for this type of event? Have you seen it used successfully elsewhere?

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