SPIRITED: The Right Match for the Evolution of the Craft Revolution
Today, the silos that once kept the beer, wine, spirits and cider categories separate entities have been smashed to pieces. Not only do we see wineries making cider, brewers making cider, wineries making spirits and spirit producers making beer, we see them all borrowing from one another marketing concepts and branding ideas. And this is not just limited to the artisan or craft alcohol producers. As larger companies pick off craft producers of wine, beer, spirits, and cider, they too are employing “cross-platform” tools for selling and marketing.
Now, a new magazine has emerged that matches this new zeitgeist: Spirited.
Despite the name that implies a focus on spirits, Spirited is a hybrid trade/consumer print publication from Sonoma Media Investments in Sonoma County, California that is effectively communicating the cutting edge ideas that animate the craft alcohol world. Their motto, “The Essence of Craft”, at first seems cut off. But in fact, the tagline stops exactly where it should.
Now in its second issue, Spirited was founded by Debra Del Fiorentino and Ethan Simon, two veterans of the beverage industry. Brought in to edit the new business/consumer hybrid is Alexandra Russell, formerly the managing editor of North Bay Biz, a Bay Area business magazine that pays particular attention to the beverage industry.
The idea of bringing all craft beverage business coverage together in one magazine isn’t common, but it’s the right idea for these times. As Simon said to me, the idea was to cover all aspects of all products that occupy the three tier system. This is another way of saying that the producers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers of alcohol and their suppliers all swim in the same pond these days and it’s a pond that blends many beverages and many interests. And he is right.
Consider what Russell writes in her Editor’s column in Issue Two of Spirited:
“This issue, we turn our attention to marketing and the many forms it can take, from social media, mobile devices, and the sought-after millennial demographic and what it takes to introduce a new product to market and how packaging can influence a consumer.“
It’s not about wine. It’s not about beer. It’s not about spirits. It’s not about cider. It’s about the ideas and issues and challenges that are faced equally by producers of craft beverages.
I also want to draw the readers attention to the fact that Spirited is published in print form. Yes, you remember that thing. You can get some of the content at www.spiritedbiz.com, but the stuffing is in the print publication. They didn’t have to go the print route. They could have forgone the ink and binding and stayed with ones and zeros. But as the publishers understand and as so many have mentioned to me recently, there is something very comforting and necessary with print and the publishers of Spirited are supporting that notion.
I get excited when I see a new, professionally produced magazine focusing on my industry. For the past few years, we’ve seen lots of publications that covered wine fall away, replaced by blogs, amateurs, Thrillist-like coverage of beverages, or with no replacement at all. Now there is Spirited to step into the space and with an attitude and focus that perfectly matches the evolution of the American craft beverage revolution. It’s good news for everyone who cares about the industry and cares for good coverage of the world of craft beer, spirits, wine and cider.