A Letter from the Editor

March 16, 2020

To say that we are going through a difficult time is a bit of an understatement. The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected us all, and the spirits industry is no different. Most distilleries are carrying on with operations for the time being, but are shuttering doors to visitors for tours and events. Some are able to offer delivery or shipments depending on local laws. Other distilleries like Restorative Republic in D.C. are also making hand sanitizer to sell or give away. Whiskey festivals and other spirits events have been placed on hold or have been cancelled until next year.

Bars, clubs, and restaurants around the world are either closed or have reduced their capabilities to offering just grab-and-go or delivery only. For the time being, cities like New York have allowed booze to be sold for off-premise consumption which will help those establishments pay some of their bills. But as most bartenders rely on tips, that doesn’t exactly solve their financial burden entirely.

As we are all encouraged to continue to practice social distancing, those in the hospitality industry will be drastically affected financially. These folks who have in the past served us in both good and bad times are suddenly not able to pour us a drink and lend an ear during this crisis. And as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, it is even more heartbreaking to not be able to pay them a visit.

How to Help

What can you do to help? The United States Bartenders’ Guild is offering emergency financial grants to bartenders affected during this crisis. Notably, Jameson has pledged $500,000 to the organization and you can too! In fact, the brand is matching those donations up to $100,000 until March 31, 2020. Let’s give those folks a much deserved tip.

A Jameson Old Fashioned /Photo Credit: Jameson

Many bars and restaurants offer gift cards—purchase as many as you are financially able to, especially from those smaller, local businesses. This way those establishments will have a way to keep the lights on and pay their employees.

For the time being, spirits retailers are allowed to be open, but they may have reduced hours or limit the number in their establishment to protect their workers. If available, get a delivery instead of visiting the establishment in person or visit during off-peak hours.

Home Schooling

As we all will be spending much more time at home, finding things to keep us occupied is key. Here are a few things every spirits-lover can try while they’re stuck indoors.

Blend Your Own Spirits At Home

One way to pass the time is to turn your spirits collection into a blending lab. Either by combining spirits to see which flavors come out, or by bringing out the beakers and vials for a more scientific approach, blending spirits at home can be incredibly fun. You can also combine the final drops of bottles in your collection to create the ultimate “infinity bottle”.

Blending spirits / Photo Credit: Chivas Regal

Try Your Hand At Cocktail Creation

If you have the ingredients or are able to have some delivered, now would be the perfect time to practice making the perfect MartiniNegroni or Old-Fashioned. Or you could try whipping something up using single malt scotch. It’s allowed, I promise.

Learn More About Spirits Production

Whether you’ve always wanted to get into distillation yourself or you’re just curious about the topic, you can learn about everything from Column Distillation to Pot Still Distillation all the way to maturation. You might just find your next calling.

If All Else Fails: Just Taste Some Whiskey

At the end of the day enjoying spirits should be fun and exploring all that the spirits world has to offer should be rewarding. While the news every day may be pretty grim, you can make the best of a tough situation. While now is not the time to share a dram with friends in real life, have one on your own and share your tastes with our Distiller community.

This ongoing situation will likely result in us getting used to more changes in the coming weeks and months. But in any event, we shall keep calm and carry on with features, reviews, videos and news of the latest releases. For now, I wish us all good physical and mental health. Cheers.

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