By James Furbush
It’s been estimated that there are some 550,000 podcasts out there to listen to — many worth your time across a range of subjects: comedy, news, technology, politics, education, self-improvement, whispery true crime, overly long interviews between two white males, you get the gist.
Just about every media company, influencer, and brand are producing shows right now. Heck, even my mom is even interested in podcasts.
The biggest problem with podcasts, though, is figuring out which shows are worth your precious time. How do you separate the good stuff, say, a RadioLab, from the bad stuff being produced (and to be sure there are a lot of bad podcasts out there)?
The beer world has a lot of great podcasts to listen to; they are perfect for keeping up with your industry knowledge as you continue to offer your customers a world-class beer buying experience.
Here are a handful that will entertain, inform, and keep you coming back for more. I won’t pretend this is a scientific list, an exhaustive list, or anything more than personal preference. But diving into the world of beer podcasts has helped me ramp up in this industry. So let us know which ones we should add to our queue if we didn’t mention your favorite show.
Good Beer Hunting
Chances are good if you are working in or interesting in the beer industry that you probably read Good Beer Hunting, a publication started by Michael Kiser. Pound for pound, it’s the best, most eclectic beer journalism you’ll read anywhere. The podcast is essentially an extension of that beer journalism, where Kiser hosts lengthy discussions with a wide ranging group of beer industry professionals. These are the stories and interviews behind the beers that craft beer drinkers know and love so much.
The Business of Beer
In the U.S. the beer industry encompasses nearly 8,000 breweries and accounts for $110 Billion annually. Craft beer accounts for nearly a quarter of that total and it’s an industry that The Atlantic has called one of the “strangest, happiest economic stories in America.”
What’s great and unique about this podcast, which produced about 80 episodes over a three year stretch from early 2014 – late 2016, is that it examines all the things that go into running a brewery aside from brewing. Things like costs, growth, distribution, sales, marketing, etc. It focuses on the economic aspect of being a craft brewery.
Great content is great content, even if this podcast was a content marketing effort from the folks at Taphunter. And this podcast is a great peak into the beer business.
Based down in Austin, Texas, this weekly show, with some 300+ episodes under its belt, brings together a group of four friends as they taste and discuss a panel of five beers. Most episodes turn into a humorous yet still informative romp focusing on a particular style of beer or a craft brewery flight of beers. It’s like listening to your beer squad’s semi-drunken conversations with plenty of pop culture detours along the way. If there’s one word that springs to mind whilst listening to this show it would be “delightful.” The gang also had a YouTube channel, if video is your thing.
On the one hand, this show was discontinued in 2015. On the other hand, the WBEZ-produced show still holds up after all these years, which is what you would expect from the same company that helped create This American Life and Serial. Early episodes of the show focus on quick hitting news, interviews, and tastings. But as the show went on and found its confidence, later episodes of Strange Brews morphed into long-form audio journalism mining the industry for stories and issues that truly matter. There are 77 episodes in total, so I recommend starting at the end and working your way back to the beginning.
Tales from the Cask
Mims Distributing started in North Carolina way back in 1964. But unlike a lot of other older beverage distributing companies, Mims seems to have embraced the powers of the digital age to education the market on beer and essentially co-market their portfolio of supplier brands.
As you might have guessed by now, one of the best channels Mims uses is a podcast, Tales From the Cask, which is hosted by three employees who clearly have a deep love and knowledge of the beer space.
The Brewing Network
Alright, this is a little bit of a cheat because the Brewing Network actually produces several podcasts on various aspects of brewing beer — as well as a blog, videos and live events to boot. Amongst the 12 shows offered include: The Sour Hour (going deep on the techniques to make sour beers with the best brewers in the world), The Session (their OG show that started it all), and The Jamil Show (brewer Jamil Zainasheff focuses on one specific style of beer per episode).
Those are my personal favorites and I’d recommend starting there before branching out into the deeper cuts like Brewing With Style, Dr. Homebrew, Bikes + Beers, or Entre Cervezas. If you’re looking for insight into what makes beer, well, beer, then the Brewing Network is one of the best places to start.
Vinepair recently launched a new podcast with a handful shows available to listen to. We’ve only sampled an episode, full caveat, but we’ll be circling back to this one when we have time. Unlike a lot of podcasts these days, the episodes veer toward the shorter side clocking in around 20-25 minutes. The show is also not exclusively about beer, but if you live and breath the beverage industry, then you’ll probably want to subscribe and check it out when you can.
So there ya go. What I enjoy most about the list above is how diverse each of the podcasts are in covering some aspect of the beer industry and overall experience of craft beer in America. Collectively, the shows go wide across the industry and deep within each of its particular niches.
P.S. We’d be remiss if we didn’t plug our favorite podcast app for iOS: Overcast by Marco Arment. It’s totally worth paying the $10 for the premium version of the app, too. Trust me.
James Furbush is the B2B Marketing Manager for Lord Hobo Brewing Co.