In recent days, you may have noticed that we've added a few words to the bottom of The Crafty Pint website. They read:
The Crafty Pint is an independent online magazine and resource for anyone interested in craft beer in Australia. We bring an honest, old-fashioned journalistic approach to beer's brave new world, telling stories because they're worth telling not because someone is paying us to write them.
Like many of the people who have changed the face of beer in Australia, we believe in authenticity, integrity, enjoyment and love. We hope to play a role in helping good beer, brewed by good people, find its way into the hands of more drinkers.
With all the talk of provenance, integrity, ownership and transparency in the labelling of beer, we figured it was only fair to offer some transparency of our own. After all, the modern media world is one that, like the craft beer industry, is undergoing a period of transformation and upheaval.
News outlets big and small, mainstream and niche are increasingly filled with sponsored content, paid advertorials and the like that blur the lines between editorial and advertising, while much content is designed to be little more than click bait: "You won't believe what's in the 23rd listicle we've posted online this morning!"
While chatting to one of Australia's most forward-thinking and outspoken brewers recently, we discussed the issues facing him as a fiercely independent brewer and the common ground with those in the media who believe in old-fashioned journalistic values.
"That's why I have my little rant on the labels," he said.
So, in a roundabout way, that's why we've added the above words to the site: to make it clear what The Crafty Pint is about, why we do what we do and what our intentions are.
For many of our readers who've been around since the early days, we'd like to think our intentions have always been clear. But, for the thousands of new readers coming to the site, hopefully those four sentences provide a shortcut to the heart of Crafty.
HOW WE OPERATE
The Crafty Pint is independent. We have no affiliation to any other business, just lots of good friends throughout the beer world.
The site exists to tell as many of the great stories happening week in, week out in the contemporary Australian beer world as we can. We want to inform, entertain and enlighten in the hope of playing a role in the development of a strong, diverse and fair industry.
We have never been paid for a News or Feature story on the site and never will. If there's a story worth telling, we'll tell it. On occasion, we have been approached by people offering money for content. When we've liked their story, we've told them to keep their money and have made enquiries and run the story regardless; where we don't think their story is of value or interest to our readers, their money makes no difference.
It comes down to a belief that, in any publication, editorial and advertising must remain as separate entities. Advertising has its place but shouldn't, in our opinion, be allowed to affect editorial.
So how is the site funded?
Each of the breweries, venues and bottleshops listed in the various directories on the site pays a fee to The Crafty Pint for their listing. This goes towards the cost of us visiting them to meet the owners, take photos, tell their story, post their new releases and events and keep their page up-to-date (when they tell us what needs updating). Business owners approve the photos and words that appear on their page (although not what we write about their beers), while agreeing to a contract that states they have no say over anything else published on the site.
We don't chase businesses to sign up; indeed, because we won't list a venue until someone from The Crafty Pint has visited, one of our biggest challenges is getting out to all of those that want listings. Furthermore, we still write stories about people, breweries or venues whether they choose to financially support what we do or not.
The other source of income is advertising: the banners you see on the site and in the newsletter plus occasional sponsored content in the weekly newsletter (yes, we allow sponsored content here – clearly identified as such – as this isn't something people can stumble across online but have opted to receive). Businesses that don't advertise on the site also pay a small fee if they want to list a job or event with us.
Additionally, we will soon be launching a reader bonus scheme, The Crafty Cabal (see above right), similar to those operated by community radio stations. When it launches, everything you currently get from The Crafty Pint will remain free, but if readers choose to support us then we'll open the doors to heaps of benefits in return.
So, while the above is way more than you can fit on a beer label, it hopefully offers full transparency as to who we are, what we do and why we do it.
In short, it's simple: the craft beer community supports us supporting them, which we do by telling their stories to as wide an audience as we can.