Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Looking for a What’s On Tap blogger

By asoglin
Sunday, March 1st, 2009 at 1:10 pm in what's on tap.

Bill Brand brought a passion to What’s On Tap that made the blog a treasure. It was evident to the public in his writing — in his words and the frequency with which he posted — and in the personal connections he made with readers.

It also was evident behind the scenes, as Bill worked with and pushed the Oakland Tribune-Contra Costa Times online team supporting the blogs. Bill demanded the best for his blog because he had the readers in mind. He was ahead of the pack when it came to adding the latest web tools. He’d been Twittering for months before most of our newsroom knew what Twitter was. Bill regularly checked traffic numbers for the blog, taking great pride in its growth and raising a flag whenever he saw a leveling-off or dip.

After working so hard to build the blog, I don’t think Bill would have wanted it to end with his death. We’re not sure we’ll be able to find an adequate replacement for Bill, but we’re going to give it a try.

We’re putting the word out to our newsroom staff and the public. For the next few weeks, we’re going to have guest bloggers pour their words into What’s On Tap. Consider it a tryout if you’d like to become a regular. But we’d also welcome short-term fill-ins if you don’t want to make an indefinite commitment.

The requirements: Be a writer; be passionate and knowledgeable about beer; understand blogging and social media. Big plus if you already blog.

We may ultimately hand over the blog to a single writer or a team. We will compensate the blogger. Details to be discussed. Don’t expect to be able to quit your full-time job.

Interested? Drop me an email at If you have online writing samples or your own blog, send me a link.

Ari Soglin
Assistant managing editor, Online content
Bay Area News Group – East Bay

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  • Paul Anderson

    My name is Paul Anderson, and I have a bit of Journalism background, and am a recognized Beer Judge. I do a bit of brewing and know a fair amount of folks in this industry.

    I will miss Bill horribly as we wrote each other almost every day.

    I don’t want to replace Bill, but will offer to help.


    Paul Anderson

  • Shaun O’Sullivan

    Thank you we need that. The beer community needs to heal and what a great idea. Love the What’s on Tap (beer) blog!


  • Mario (Brewed For Thought)

    I say the first post should be Shaun’s piece for Bill from the Trappist Memorial. Get your * key ready.

    I’d love to help contribute as well, but doubt I could come close t replacing everything that Bill brought to the beer community.

  • Gail Williams

    Mario, you know you’d be excellent.

    Thanks for this announcement, Ari. It’s important for the beer community that somebody who cares about reporting and beer step up and continue What’s On Tap. I’m very glad that’s what you’re planning to do, and a try-out of various writers will be a lot of fun to read.

  • Jim Smith

    “I say the first post should be Shaun’s piece for Bill from the Trappist Memorial.” X2

  • Jen McDaniel

    I third the Shaun O’Sullivan tribute.

  • Rob

    As someone who unfortunately missed the memorial yesterday, I’ll have to follow the above requests for a reprint of Shaun’s tribute, just for us losers who weren’t in attendance…

    And wow, what huge, huge shoes to fill. As someone who loves blogging about beer, I’d be happy to help, but I feel similarly reluctant to Mario. It would be an admittedly tiny slice of the breadth and depth that Bill provided through his writing.

  • tim eatherton

    Who could ever truly follow in the master’s footsteps?

    Bill’s knowledge and expertise spans over a lifetime of ales. For those who love beer, it was a great loss indeed and we are indebted to the master of the Beer blog.


  • The Duke Of Dunkel

    I echo Tim’s comments, and would add to that Bill’s reverence for the Bay Area. But for me the biggest hole is left not the blogosphere, but in my wednesday morning paper.

  • Alan Moen

    As the editor of Northwest Brewing News, for which Bill wrote a regular column about Bay Area Brews, I’d love to see his legacy continue on this blog.

    Bill was not only a great writer, but also a great friend, one of those truly special people I’ve met in the craft beer industry. To say I’ll miss him is an understatement; one of the best ways to honor him is to keep his blog going.

  • Deano

    This is awesome it is great to keep this blog alive. Great for the beer world and the bay area :)

  • Hugh Carpenter

    I miss Bill Brand like he was a personal friend. Please continue this blog in his honor. I am hoping someday there will be a Bill Brand Beerfest to honor his passing as well as his journalistic achievements. Cheers Bill, I shall miss you.

  • Brewnot

    How about guest bloggers? Different readers can contribute. I do not have time in my schedule to do a blog full time, but I can present blog entries a couple/few times a month.

    I am in Silicon Valley, I could do stories on the great hunt for beer down here.