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Friday, December 24, 2010

Beer West's Strange New Adventure

For Christmas Eve, I offer you two posts--the old and the new. The new involves a technology the magazine Beer Northwest plans to deploy when it restyles itself Beer West. Developed by the Beaverton-based tech company Digimarc, it allows you to scan print matter with your smart phone and trigger web-based content.
With Digimarc, you can bring the interactivity and enhanced content from either images or text and use what readers are familiar with in the digital world on the printed page. By inserting a digital watermark behind text, publishers can create a hyperlink from articles to related content online. Readers simply hold their smart phone over the link and are instantly connected.
I think it would work like this. You're reading an article about Russian River, say (now that the mag covers the West Coast), and you scan the article with your phone. On your phone, up pops a video interview with brewer Vinnie Cilurzo. Or--and this is where I think the tech could really be handy--up pops a list of bottle shops selling Consecration, the beer they're discussing.

Now, technology of itself is no virtue. This is a tool of communication, and it will be up to Beer West to harness it. And, despite the fact that publisher/editor Megan Flynn is about 19 years old (I kid), Beer Northwest has had a decidedly traditional approach to publishing, with little to no web presence or social networking component. So Megan and Co. will have to step up their game and make sure the back end is loaded with cool features and info.

In any case, it will be an interesting experiment.


  1. Better Experiment,
    Beer West or NW or whatever it is called shuts down operations for good and we see if anyone notices.

  2. lol. beer west has more twitter followers than beervana and the new school combined. wtf?

  3. Anon, that's the MSM for you. Mainstream. Put a physical magazine in people's hands in two states and you're going to have a lot bigger readership than a couple of local bloggers. Sad but true.