Meet The Beer Media

Meet The Beer Media – Jono Galuszka

jonoName: Jono Galuszka (you say it “ga-loosh-ka”)
Established: May 2012

Why do you do it?
I was finishing off my journalism training in Wellington in 2011 when I managed to get a job in Palmerston North. From what I remembered, getting a good beer in Palmy was like trying to shoot fish when the barrel is empty.  So I decided to get into home brewing. Joseph Wood from Liberty Brewing – then in Taranaki and with a home brew supplies arm – gave me lots of advice on how to get started. He also said I should blog about it, providing a guide for other new home brewers. That’s where the name came from – from beer drinker to beer brewer. Since then it has morphed into more of a “traditional” beer blog, which also wades into more generic alcohol industry issues when I have an itch that needs scratching.

What else have you got going on in your life?
Well, I live in Palmerston North. Some people think that means I have no life at all outside of drinking, but I do do things. I work at the Manawatu Standard, the city’s only local daily newspaper, mainly covering court/justice. I’m a big English Premier League fan (go the Gunners!), and try keep up with other sportsball leagues. The weekends are usually taken up by brewing or playing drums in my band. I also cook (often), bake (occasionally), read (not enough), try keep fit by running my Staffie-cross Buster, and somehow find time to chill out with my partner.

What makes you keep writing if you’re not getting paid for it?
I do get paid for it, but when I add up all the work I do for the blog outside of work hours I am not getting a good deal. I also do voluntary stuff for SOBA’s magazine Pursuit of Hoppiness.
I write because it is fun. Actually, that’s not quite right. I like to find out about things, so I do so under the guise of wanting to write about it.The beer world is extremely interesting and deserves to be covered well. Between all of New Zealand’s current patch of beer bloggers and journalists, I think we do a damn good job. Also, there are things I can do when writing about beer I cannot do with a straight news story.

What’s one of your blog posts that you like the most?
The piece I wrote on faux-cider went down a treat. I banged it out in about five minutes just for the hell of it, and it went nuts. Knowing what I know now I would have written it differently (there are a few factual errors) but it was good to get discussion going. That’s what I want to try do; if people agree or do not agree, they can at least talk about issues with me or their friends. It is only going to heighten awareness in the long run.
The other great part was looking at Rekorderlig’s New Zealand-run Facebook page. It was funny to see all the questions pop up from people who had read my piece, funnier to see the page admin delete them, and bloody hilarious to see those same posters post again with far less tactful language.

One tip about beer blogging that you’d like to share?
Put yourself into it. My favourite blog is Jason Gurney’s Brew Hui, purely because he inserts himself into all aspects of the writing. He appears to never hold anything back, which draws people into the content. It makes people feel like you have invested something into the writing, which I think they appreciated.
The ironic thing is that I try take things from the other direction. Being a 26-year-old means I have not had as long to learn about beer as other writers, so I try as much as possible to get the people behind the beer to talk about it. Maybe it is the journalist in me, but I do not see the point of putting myself into the story when someone with decades more time in the beer scene can give me an opinion.

The phrase ‘‘craft beer’’ – love it or hate it?
Hate it. Show me a craft table, a craft coffee or a craft computer. I’m a believer in almost all beer being good, but some beer being better.

One thing that still surprises you about the beer scene?
The growth. Before transforming from beer drinker to beer nerd, I was in the coffee industry which has been fairly established. On the other hand, New Zealand brewing, just like in Australia, is going through something of a renaissance. So many new brewing companies are popping up that it is difficult to just keep track of them, let alone try all the new beers they and more established brewers are making.

And one thing you hate about it?
Being in Palmerston North. While the beer scene here is better than some might expect, it is nothing like Wellington’s. I hope it is only a matter of time, but it still gets me down when I walk into a bar and there is nothing I feel like drinking. Great for the bank balance, but not for my social life.
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