Drinking to Drink: The Interviews
Many of you longtime blog readers know that—a few years back—I started a series of posts called "Drinking to Drink"; focusing on the fun and practical side of drinking, and away from the technical, stuffier side of spirits like single malt or Bourbon. That series resonated with a number of people, to the point that even now most of the email responses I get from readers have something to do with those articles. Then, of course, there's the long-dormant podcast that fizzled out almost as fast as our in-store spirits tastings. While it was a fun experiment, and I'm shocked at how many people have downloaded each episode (in the tens of thousands), there are a number of problems with the audio interview. One: it often makes the interviewee uncomfortable knowing that they're being recorded live, which can lead to awkward conversations. Two: there are a number of technical issues that I don't have time to perfect, and that ultimately limit the quality at which I can produce the show. Three: many readers (aka listeners) don't have time to carve an hour out of their busy schedule and listen to two people talk about booze, but they can skim through a printed interview while taking a break at work or by checking their phone in line at the bank. The amount of people who have read the written interviews I've posted is more than double the amount of folks who have downloaded the podcasts. Typing out the conversations versus posting the audio was an easy answer.
So the podcast is dead, but I'll continue to transcribe the conversations for the blog; that much I concluded needed to be done more than a year ago. The question that was pressing on me, however, was who should I continue to interview (if anyone at all)? Over the past seven years I've met a number of interesting people working in this industry, but I've also met a number of interesting customers; folks who I recognized or knew from their celebrity status. Many of them have become acquaintances, which has in turn led to amiable relationships. Why not interview some of these people, I thought? I know I personally would be interested in hearing how a love for booze played a role in their experiences. A love of all things alcoholic doesn't necessarily mean you want to understand how a column still works, or what the fermentation times are at Buffalo Trace. It might simply mean you're interested in what other people are drinking and why they are drinking it.
I've said repeatedly over the last few years that the specs (meaning the age, proof, cask number, and name of a distillery) won't necessarily guide us towards better drinking. They can help us come to terms with pricing, but the quality will always remain in doubt until that first sip is taken. That being said, I thought it might be nice to conduct a few interviews with a few recognizable folks who like drinking, have interesting things to say and stories to tell, but don't necessarily take it as seriously as some of us. They're not searching for the gleaming bottle of Pappy, or cask #2363 of 1987 Highland Park from Signatory. They're just folks who enjoy their hooch and have decided they wouldn't mind if I asked them a few questions about it.
These are people you'll recognize, and hopefully will be interested in hearing from. I thought maybe we should mix it up, rather than continue down the same trodden path. We started with director Steven Soderbergh a few months back, and I figured: why stop there?
Let's give it a go, shall we?