It seems that most people who write about booze like to reflect on the year that was, rather than look ahead to the year that will be. I read (and wrote) many different takes on what 2012 meant to the world of whisky drinkers. It's fun to look back on all the special releases, the big news stories, the whiskies we bought or didn't buy (or couldn't buy), and try to summarize it all in one nostalgic piece of prose. However, I haven't read any resolutions, yet. Isn't that what the New Year is for? A fresh start? A new beginning? I'm currently wondering what 2013 is going to mean for the booze business, and I don't mean retailers, distilleries, and special editions. I'm asking what we're all going to do to in 2013 to improve the way we appreciate and enjoy our liquor collectons.
Here's what I'm going to try to work on:
- I'm going to buy booze that I need rather than booze that's scarce. If there's a limited edition bottle of Scotch out there that must be purchased immediately, yet I'm still sitting on thirty other open containers at home, I'm going to pass and get another bottle of gin instead. I don't need that pressure anymore. As a retail buyer, I'm going to try my hardest to alleviate this pressure from my customers as well. I'm planning to bring in so many different single barrel, limited bottle releases that absolutely no one can afford to get them all. That way the focus won't be on any one "must-have-it" whisk(e)y and we can all get back to buying booze when we need it rather than feeding the monkey.
- I'm going to organize tastings that promote socialization and conversation rather than analysis and note-taking. One of the biggest problems (in my opinion) with drinking whisk(e)y is that we seem to be doing it at home and we seem to be hoarding every last drop. I sell you a bottle, you bring it home to open it, carefully nursing it and taking inventory on the current levels. When we have tastings at K&L or at restaurants, they're always educational and promoted by one particular brand. We end up hearing a sales pitch or a history of the distillery, rather than just shooting the shit. Booze is meant to be a social thing. I want to organize parties or evenings where whisk(e)y drinkers gather to drink quality whisk(e)y and simply talk – about sports, life, relationships or current events, not just about whisk(e)y. Luckily, I may have found a partner who shares this vision and is willing to work with me. There's a bar near my house who may allow me to take it over once a month for just this type of get-together.
- I want to increase our business by helping people to form a quality relationship with alcohol, rather than slashing prices, monopolizing new releases, and trying to continually out-do last year's crop of single barrel expressions. It's getting tiresome and it's an outdated model. Eventually, we're going to plateau and what will happen then? Some younger, faster, smarter liquor buyer with technology we don't know about will emerge and make David and me look like two old farts. Alcohol isn't a competition. Business is. I want to keep these two worlds completely separate. It sets a bad example for those just getting into the hobby.
- I want to maintain an informative blog without forcing people on to one side of the fence. I have a pushy personality that can unconsciously present everything as a black or white choice. If something irritates me, I end up sharing it on the blog. While that has proved entertaining for a number of readers, it's presented in a way that I personally no longer enjoy because I'm embarrassed by my insecure motives. If I honestly analyze why I'm writing something so divisive, it's because I want readers to agree with me. I want them to like the producers I like and hate the ones that I hate, be offended by what offends me and take issue with what I take issue with. Doing so allows me to feel more comfortable about my feelings and continue my train of thought. While I think I'm creating a provocative new post, I'm really just looking for affirmation that my way of thinking is correct. Hopefully, making a case on the blog will bring readers over to my perspective, which allows me to further believe that I'm right. It's egotism at it's finest, yet I'm able to justify it as news or perspective. I'd like people to read what I write because it helps them to better enjoy their booze, rather than because it's controversial or funny.
What are you going to do in 2013 to be a better person and a better ambassador for the liquid you love?