Editorial Autumn 2015: Meet Your New Editor

MichaelDWelcome to the first edition of Pursuit of Hoppiness that I’ve had the privilege of overseeing.

When I was asked to be editor of SOBA’s flagship magazine I didn’t hesitate – after all who wouldn’t want to be in charge of their own beer magazine!

But seriously, one of the reasons I jumped at the chance to edit Pursuit of Hoppiness was my love of beer and my equal affection and high regard for the craft beer community in New Zealand.
To be able to reflect that community to a broad member base of beer lovers is an honour.

Second, I really admire what SOBA do – no more evident than in the Farmhouse trademarking scandal that our president Dave Wood talks about in an article in this magazine. Trademarks have become shark-infested waters and the ludicrous inability of Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) to understand the beer industry (despite having many of these battles played out in front of them) beggars belief.

If we can’t trust the guardians in officialdom we have to fight, and SOBA does a magnificent job fighting for causes it believes in and ensuring fairness for all.

Third, editing this magazine gives me a chance to live a dream – I was only half-joking further up the page when I said who wouldn’t want to edit their own beer magazine.
I look at the beer media in countries such as the US, Britain and Australia and realise we are way, way behind in terms of what we offer beer-loving readers and I believe there’s a gap in the
market for great articles about beer and the brewing industry gathered together in one place.

There’s some amazing beer writers, bloggers and photographers in this country and I’m lucky to know most of them and hope to be able to lean on them to contribute to this magazine. My dream is that Pursuit of Hoppiness could one day transform from a quarterly magazine pulled together by volunteers to a regular trade publication that comes out six to 12 times a year, packed full of content you will want to read.

I know what I’d like to read – but how about you? Tell me what you’d like to see in this magazine. Recipes for home brewers? More beer reviews? Lists of events and festivals? More opinion pieces? Bar reviews? Information about clubs and groups that get together to celebrate beer? Stories about brewers?

I’d love your feedback – write to me at [email protected] and tell me what you want. Or just write a letter to the editor for the sake of it – because that’s one addition I’d like to make for the next edition: a regular letters column where you can express your opinions on the beer world.

OK, that’s enough about the magazine – now here’s a little bit about me.

I’ve been a journalist (a writer, a sports editor, an editor) for 25 years and a beer drinker for a little bit longer.

With beer I’d always looked for new beer and great taste experiences – but it was only when I started to make home brew that I began to realise how amazing the craft beer scene was in
New Zealand.

This is going back a few years now when media-wise it was still something of an underground movement.

I like to think I played a small part in the mainstreaming of craft beer (or maybe I just hitched a ride at the right time) by convincing my editor at the Sunday Star-Times to ditch a wine column and run a beer column instead.

Kudos to him for having the guts to give me a go and let me rant about my favourite drops.

That small step into beer-writing (until then I’d only and almost exclusively written about sport) opened the door to some amazing people and the surreal opportunity to write a book
about the history of beer in New Zealand.

Beer Nation – the Art and Heart of Kiwi Beer is something I’m incredibly proud of. And I’m proud that despite an optimistic print run of some 3400 copies it basically sold out in New
Zealand. One day I’ll do an updated, improved, second edition as an e-book. One day…

I’ve left the Sunday Star-Times but still write a fortnightly column for Your Weekend magazine which appears in the Saturday editions of the Dominion Post, Christchurch Press and Waikato Times.

But right now, with my latest book – a beginner’s guide to home brewing – about to go the printers (look out for it around Father’s Day) the beer media that’s going to get all my love and attention is Pursuit of Hoppiness.

Let’s make it an even greater magazine than it’s been.

Michael Donaldson
March 2015

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