In less than 24 hours until we say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in a brand new shiny year. Many folks online are going to write about how terrible a year 2016 was due to the election, wars, celebrity deaths, and soaring bourbon prices but I’m not going down that rabbit hole. Instead, I’m going to focus on the things I’m thankful for as we close out 2016 and offer up some news about what you can expect from Bourbon & Banter in 2017. As a bonus, I’m going to keep it short since I picked up a cold overnight and I have hard time keeping focus. 😉
500K+ THANK YOUS
Over the last 12 months, we’ve had over 500K unique people visit the Bourbon & Banter website. That’s half-a-million individuals who have discovered our site and have taken the time to read what we have to say about whiskey. We’re incredibly humbled by everyone’s enjoyment of our website and can’t thank you all enough. While Bourbon & Banter isn’t the biggest whiskey site regarding traffic, we’re very proud of our role in helping people drink curious by bringing together a team of passionate whiskey fans and sharing our varied opinions and experiences. We look forward to continuing our journey with you in 2017.
WHISKEY REVIEW SURVEY MAGIC
When we posted our online whiskey review survey several weeks ago we were hoping to get a few hundred folks to respond so we would get a sense of what folks would like to see in online reviews. But when it was all said and done, we had almost 1,000 people respond to the survey. Holy crap! That’s right nearly 1,000 people responded. Sincere thanks to all of you for taking the time to fill out the survey and share your thoughts. Everyone’s honesty, directness, and creative ideas are truly appreciated. 1,000 entries took a lot of time to review but I’m pleased to report our analysis is completed and we’ll be rolling out our Whiskey Review 2.0 format starting on January 2nd. We hope you find it easier to read, more useful and simpler to share with others looking to explore new bourbons. As with everything we release on our website, it’s just the first version, and we look forward to tweaking it with your ongoing feedback and some enhancements of our own that will roll out over a few months.
PERKS FOR DRINKING CURIOUS
Many folks requested “free bourbon samples” as part of our re-imagined online whiskey reviews. Unfortunately, it’s not something we can provide at this time, but it did get us thinking about what we could do to reward our loyal readers on a more regular basis. We’ve still got some ideas we’re considering, but I can share that effective immediately in January, anyone that subscribed to our email list will have a chance to win free bourbon schwag every month. At the end of each month, we’ll draw a winner and then we’ll send them some bourbon schwag from our prize closet. Once you’ve signed-up for our email list, there’s nothing else you need to do for the monthly drawing. Just sit back, enjoy a drink and keep your fingers crossed.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN 2017
In addition to our Whiskey Review 2.0 format and monthly bourbon schwag giveaways, we’ve got a few other things on the drawing table that we can share with you at this time. First up is a renewed commitment to more timely reviews and more reviews in general. We’ll also be adding reviewer profile pages to the website so you can learn a bit more about each person reviewing whiskey on the site – including what they drink on a regular basis. Video will be top of mind again as we look for ways to incorporate it into the mix without taking anything away that folks already enjoy. New products will be coming to our online store to help fill up your home bar and closet.And lastly, we’ve got plans to make sure that our brothers and sisters in arms – craft distillers and bartenders – will get a more prominent voice on the site in 2017.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
Did you know that Bourbon & Banter is a passion project of all those involved? All team members, including myself, have day jobs that keep the lights on and food on the table for our families. Everyone volunteers their contributions to Bourbon & Banter. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t costs associated with running a growing blog. From hosting and software costs to product development and processing fees, there’s always something that requires investment as we expand our audience. As much as we hate to ask, we need your support to remain viable, to grow and to continue to help people to learn how to drink curious. One way you can help is by visiting our online store and making a purchase. Another is to buy a sponsorship where the full amount of your purchase will go towards supporting site maintenance and upkeep. Whatever you choose, we appreciate your support. And lastly, if nothing else, please share our website with your friends. The more folks we reach with our content, the better. Thank you.
Thank you all for an amazing 2016 and for continuing on this journey with us. We will you all the best in 2017 and will be raising a few glasses in your name this evening. Cheers!