Craft Beer Superfan Spotlight: Mike Ansley, the BeerRater

From What’s Brewing Fall 2020

In its Fall 2017 issue, What’s Brewing magazine shone a spotlight on a few newcomers to the world of ‘craft beer media.’ Three years later, in a desperate time for tasting room operators, getting the word out about supporting independent BC craft beer seems more important than ever. So, once again WB celebrates the contributions of BC’s volunteer beer advocates with a Craft Beer Superfan spotlight.

WB selected a sextet who became craft beer influencers during the 2010s and asked them what they think of their personal craft beer fandom in 2020. Here’s one of them.

Q&A with Influencer Mike Ansley, thebeerrater.com

Q: How long have you been an active craft beer booster? How did you come up with your handle?

A: I’ve been spreading the good word since February 2014.

My, how times have changed since then. This isn’t a story I tell often, but now the world will know… I began my foray into reporting on beer with an International Beer Advent Calendar in December 2013. Most of the beer being sub-par, I posted about it on my personal Facebook page. My friends and family thought it was funny. My future wife, tired of hearing me spout off about beer all day, said “Why don’t you write a blog about it.” So I did.

I thought it would be funny to make fun of beer, so I created @thebeerrater (or, as it could be pronounced, the “berater”; get it?). It was a dumb name then, and it still is now, since I don’t actually rate anything, and building a brand on negativity is a dumb thing to do. So… naturally I held onto the name for another six years and built a personality around it.

In the months to come, thebeerrater.com will undergo a big change in name and focus. You’ll have to stay tuned to see what’s next!

Q: How did you get into craft beer; what were your ‘gateway beers’, or what is your ‘beer epiphany’ story? What are your fave styles of beer now?

A: When I moved to Victoria to finish my degree in 2010, craft beer was everywhere. Then I found a girl obsessed with IPA’s and the rest is history.

The original Granville Island Winter Ale was a big eye opener for me. My brothers and I would eagerly await its arrival every year. These days, I find myself seeking out a good ESB or Gose.

Q: 2020 has been a strange year. When the shutdown hit in March, what were your thoughts for the beer industry?

A: I wasn’t that worried about it dying off. Beverage alcohol has long been a recession and disaster-proof industry. I was more interested to see how the industry will pivot to find a way to find a way through.

It’s been cool to see how different breweries have responded and I hope some of these changes stick around after the world gets back to some state of normal.

Q: Did you find yourself talking about and/or consuming more or less craft beer? What events do you miss the most?

A: More talking, more drinking, and I miss all the events. When you’ve been around the industry long enough, it doesn’t matter which event you go to, you’re sure to find a few friends. I miss my friends.

Q: Have you noticed any changes in liquor legislation this year? Any thoughts about what the province or your municipal government should be doing next?

A: I’m hoping that drinking responsibly in public parks & beaches gains more traction. If people are allowed to light up a cigarette and have their smoke interrupt my good times, a beer consumed quietly shouldn’t be a problem.

Q: Is there any personal accomplishment or moment you’re most proud of since being a beer booster?

A: The CraftCoHop Photo Contest (yes it will be making a return soon!) I loved bringing together local bloggers, influencers, and Instagrammers to creatively promote a local beer. The growth of the community and friendships made because of it are the best part of this whole thing!

Q: What would you tell someone getting into beer blogging or Beerstagramming today?

A: Do everything you can to deliver value. It’s not about you, it’s about the beer and the industry.

Be unique and don’t go for the cheap social media growth. I’ve tried most ways of grabbing new followers, views, and likes, but the only thing that has really worked is honest networking, supporting my community, and loading every opportunity with as much value as I can.

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Beer Me BC

Beer Me British Columbia: since 2012, BC's #1 resource for craft beer reviews, BC beer industry insights and career opportunities.

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