Congratulations to ourselves and to you, dear reader – the Scandinavian Brewers’ Review is this year celebrating our 75th anniversary! Quite an achievement for a magazine that, apart from being the official membership magazine for all the Nordic Brewers’ Guilds, is the only medium that services the professional brewing, soft drinks, and other related industries in the Nordics and the Baltic States. And as I hope all of you out there are aware of, we have for very many years been considered by our owners as a private enterprise that is supposed to make money to support our owners’ activities. So no economic support is received for our work in servicing you and everyone else in and around our industry.
Further, it is now about 6 months ago that the Scandinavian Brewers’ Review went digital and thus moved into the 21st century, creating a platform that will allow us to take a giant leap forward, getting a far bigger and better reach – as far as the Internet goes, to be exact – and thus making us much more relevant to not only our readers, but, very importantly, also to our advertisers. The new website and platform allows us to effectively take advantage of the economic upswing we’re currently experiencing and is making potential advertisers somewhat more willing to actually advertise, coming out of the deep depression of the years from 2008 and onward. Thus, this editorial should be one big euphoric and optimistic accolade to the bright and prosperous future ahead of us, but I’m afraid that there’s more than just a small snake in paradise!
The stone cold truth is that the SBR is in a crisis of a magnitude we’ve not experienced before! The new digital platform has by no means yet been embraced by our readers to anything resembling a satisfactory extent. Many members of the guilds in all the member countries have either given up their subscription or have not yet logged on to the digital version of the SBR. Thus, a decimated subscriber base when we look at the ‘core subscribers’, i.e. the members of our Brewers’ Guilds. And further, our move to go digital has not yet been translated into a sufficiently significant increase in our advertising revenues.
With this dire background, the chairman of the Danish Guild, Erik Juul Rasmussen, the administrative ‘officer’ behind the SBR, Benny Poulsen, the main editor and publisher, Andres Tue Møller, and I, the technical editor, met last month in Odense to discuss the situation and the way forward. Our conclusions were as follows:
- The crisis in the loss of subscriptions from Norway, Sweden and Finland should be addressed by increasing the amount of content in the SBR relevant to these countries
- Editorial content with a more-Nordic relevance should be prioritized
- More ‘Personalia’ – i.e. anniversaries, birthdays, significant job changes for members of the Brewers’ Guilds – will be included onwardsThe magazine must be marketed effectively internationally in order to attract subscribers from outside of our region
- ‘Correspondents’ within the national brewers’ guilds will be appointed, and these will be given the responsibility of supplying us with material for articles or contacts to people or organizations that may contribute
- Newsletters via e-mail to subscribers in between the regular issues will be considered
- A network of ‘correspondents’ from important companies and organizations within the industry will be established, and these individuals will also be urged to supply us with material for articles or contacts to people or organizations that may contribute
- We will seek to establish ‘exchange agreements’ with all other important brewing journals across the globe, enabling us to source relevant content from their pages
- Advertisers will be offered a number of free online subscriptions to key members of their staffs in order to spread the awareness of the SBR and the knowledge about us
With reference to the first two bullet points above, it is essential for me to underline – and I apologize to you all in general, and especially to our Swedish subscribers in the Swedish Master Brewers’ Guild – for not making this much clearer much more often: The amount of editorial content in the SBR from any country is only and entirely dependent on the material I receive from that country! It is impossible for me as a virtually unpaid editor to stay up-to-date with what is happening on the brewing scenes in other countries – the inputs will have to come from yourselves. But we will put in place a system of communication with all local ‘correspondents’, including sending out reminders in good time before the deadlines for the regular issues.
My efforts so far in urging you, the readers of the SBR, to become active contributors have been totally unsuccessful, but I’ll have to try again now. My hope is that the ‘carrot’ – the bigger reach due to our new online platform and new website – in combination with the ‘stick’ – if our efforts to relaunch the magazine are not successful the magazine will die! – will create the motivation needed. There’s no way that an ambitious professional magazine can survive on a few hundred subscribers. So here’s my text that will also be sent directly to a large number of key people in and around our industry, but it applies to every single one of our readers:
Come onboard as regular correspondent/contributor to the new Scandinavian Brewers’ Review!
Our magazine, the Scandinavian Brewers’ Review (www. scandbrewrev.dk), membership magazine for the Nordic Master Brewers Guilds and the only Nordic brewing journal reaching out to brewing professionals all over our region and the Baltic States, has entered a new era. As of January this year, the SBR moved to a digital platform and we intend to utilize the new opportunities by making the magazine much more dynamic, lively and interesting – much more relevant in short. We aim to position the SBR as a, if not the daily, then at least a regular, go-to source for updated news and information on what’s going on in relation to brewing in the Nordics and the Baltics, through our 4 regular yearly issues, as well as making our modernized website the ‘social media platform related to all things beer and brewing’ in our region and beyond. Practically, the move to digital implies the following:
- Full access for subscribers to all things SBR on every imaginable platform – PC, tablet, smartphone, etc.
- Access to our archive of earlier issues of the SBR
- A news stream on the website with all actual, important and relevant industry news as it appears
- Free access also for non-subscribers through the website to selected articles and excerpts from the magazine
- Suppliers and advertisers will be able to include links to their own websites in their ads and in articles too, and to place banner ads directly on the website
Going digital will give the SBR a far bigger reach than it has had hitherto. Anyone around the globe who has an interest in specific topics covered by articles or news in the SBR will have access to this at their fingertips, and we also expect the number of subscribers, within and beyond our own region, to quickly expand quite significantly.
The bigger reach will not only mean that we’ll be able to service a lot larger audience, but we’re also determined to upgrade the quality of the contents of the magazine significantly, and this is where you can help us. We’re seeking the assistance of experienced and knowledgeable people with important networks within the brewing industry like yourself in sourcing material for articles in the SBR. If you agree to help us, we’ll notify you in good time – ca. two months – prior to the deadline of each issue, reminding you to send us the material you deem relevant for our magazine.
We count on you – please help us make the Scandinavian Brewers’ Review one of the leading brewing journals in the world!
Our warmest greetings and regards
Erik Juul Rasmussen
Chairman of the Danish Master Brewers’ Guild
Tchnical Editor of the SBR
One of the other issues discussed at our meeting was the policy towards our many older subscribers who would like to continue to receive the magazine in the ‘good, old’ paper format. Our decision was that, to the ‘normal’ subscribers who use the digital platform as intended, we cannot continue to defend upholding the significant expenses related to printing and sending out paper magazines. In other words, the paper version of the magazine will still be offered, but the price for receiving it will be fully equivalent to the cost. As we expect this to limit the demand for the paper version significantly over time, it will inevitably mean continuously rising costs for those subscribers. We apologize deeply to those few subscribers who are so uncomfortable with using IT that this is not an option for them, but as a responsible magazine in the 21st century this is the only reasonable policy.
This ‘state-of-affairs’ obviously calls for a ‘retransmission’ of the simple guidelines to getting started on the digital platform. Benny Poulsen will also send this out via e-mail to all members of all the national guilds in an effort to boost the number of online SBR users:
- From now on, you can read the Scandinavian Brewers’ Review by downloading the app of the same name to either your smartphone or tablet. You can download the app in both the App Store and Google Play.
- All subscribers have received a username and log-in via e-mail, and with these you can begin to use your new app. In addition to the current magazine, you also have access to an extensive archive of previous volumes. We will continuously expand the archive in the future.
- You can also read the magazine on your PC. You can do that via our new website, scandbrewrev.dk, where there is a link to the subscription section of Scandinavian Brewers’ Review.
Please remember that we at the SBR very strongly encourage you to comment on anything you wish to comment on in the magazine, but, obviously, particularly to the editorial. Please forward your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical Editor, Scandinavian Brewers’ Review