Four and a half years ago I decided to combine two of my great loves, writing and craft beer, and the VanEast Beer Blog was born. When I started, I had no real idea what I wanted to focus on, but my interest in politics and my connections in the craft beer industry soon sent The VEBB down the political road and I was lucky to be writing during some very interesting and tumultuous times in the evolution of both the BC craft beer industry and BC liquor policies.
Many times it was my friends in the craft beer industry who fed me inside information about issues and problems. They came to me because they could not, or would not speak out because of a very real fear of reprisal from the BC liquor bureaucrats and they knew I would speak out loudly knowing I was out of reach. To all of you, and you know who you are, thanks for feeding me such great leads and tips that allowed me to make a few politicians, liquor inspectors or LCLB-LDB brass squirm for a few moments when their complete and total lack of common sense was exposed.
This blog has never been wildly popular but judging from the comments and e-mails I did receive, I found a dedicated following among many of the politicians and bureaucrats involved in forming, implementing and policing BC liquor policy and craft beer industry shakers and movers.
And probably more surprising to me, the mainstream media began to monitor what I was writing and on several occasions took a post I had written and ran with it, sometimes, much to my amusement, blatantly lifting words from this space and placing them in a more highly visible place in their television or print reports.
Not all have agreed with what I have written, but that is the nature of writing about contentious subjects, especially when personal opinions are put forth. I tried my best to use my journalism background to investigate what I was writing about but I could never resist including some sort of Paddyrant and those who know me know that I can be fairly straightforward and blunt when the mood strikes me.
I am proud of what this blog has accomplished in regards to highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly of the BC craft beer and liquor industries and the policies that govern them. I am pleased I have been able to help out a few friends when they needed a little help from someone outside the reach of the politicians and bureaucrats.
And I take a certain satisfaction, as I mentioned above, that I have been a major pain in the ass for a few of those who contribute to the asshattery that takes place related to BC liquor policies and the enforcement of same.
But as you have probably guessed, the time has come to shut this space down, well, at least as far as new content goes. My growing family responsibilities, work responsibilities and time spent having fun growing Powell River's Campaign for Real Ale of BC branch takes up more than enough time to make it very difficult for me to spend the time and resources to keep the VanEast Beer Blog going. It may not seem like writing a few words now and then would be time consuming, but trust me, it took a lot of time and effort to produce most blog posts I posted.
Not that it matters. There are many out there writing about beer. And let's face it, this was always just about craft beer and my love for it and to tell you the truth, I'd much rather be enjoying a craft beer on my deck while chatting to friends than writing about it.
I will still be around, still involved in advocating and supporting BC-brewed craft beer. I am still involved with the Campaign for Real Ale of BC, at least through 2015 and will still be found sipping a Fat Tug or two craft beer spots around the province.
So thanks to all who have supported this blog, whether you were a fan of what I said or read it in order to get pissed off and voice extreme dislike for me as a blogger and in some instance, as a person. I think the comments highlighting how misinformed and stupid I was brought as much joy and motivation to me as those who voiced positive support.