I've been writing about beer, wine and spirits since 1980 when I was a junior at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I sold a story to the Syracuse New Times, a local alternative weekly, on the history of brewing in the Salt City for $25. (Actually they may have paid me $15 for the story and $5 each for two sidebars. Hey, I was a student and it was beer money!) Once I had a "clip" for The New Times I became and expert and could sell my work to other publications.
Since that time I've managed to sell articles on alcohol and other beverages (along with travel, sports, management, business and other topics) to magazines big and small. Some you've likely seen, like Cigar Aficionado, and others you would only come across if you were in a particular line of business, like Hotel & Motel Management. Right now my two primary gigs are with All About Beer, a national magazine where I write the "Beyond Beer" column -- everything but beer in a magazine devoted to beer -- and a column called "The Business of Beer" that appears in several of the regional Brewing News brewspapers.
Beer, wine and spirits have been very good to me over the years. My main source of income comes from my work with a major regional marketing communications firm (disclosure: over the years I have worked on accounts representing several alcohol marketers, including Diageo (Guinness), Constellation Brands (a variety of wine labels) F.X. Matt Brewing (we named and launched the Saranac brand) and the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance. None of these are currently active.). Writing has provided a nice side income, plus an excuse to visit breweries, wineries and distilleries. I can honestly say that "I drink for a living."
The great thing about writing about beer, wine and spirits is that interesting stories can be found no matter where you travel. You can visit Trappist monasteries in Belgium where the monks brew beer. You can tour a number of wineries in California that are owned by actors and directors. You can enjoy a $1,000 mint julep at Churchill Downs during the running of the Kentucky Derby. Or you can just pour your favorite beverage in a glass and spend part of a Saturday evening on your deck with family and friends.
That's what this blog is going to be about. My goal is to further the discussion of great libations, talk about some of the issues facing beverage companies and drinkers, plus share a few fun stories. Thanks for coming along for the ride.