...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

I'm going to Indy's Whisky & Fine Spirits Expo, are you?

I'm serious.  Are you going?

I just moved to Westerville, Ohio, the birthplace of the Anti-Saloon League and currently under a draconian state control liquor system, thus I will be doing my whisk(e)y buying in other states (or countries) for the foreseeable future.  One neighboring state I have purchased in is Indiana.  (Yes, I drove from Kasich's state to Pence's state, such is the Midwest right now.)  And in The Hoosier State my preferred retailer is Vine & Table.  I've had the opportunity to chat with V&T's Manager & Spirits Buyer, Denis Lynch (an Irishman selling Scotch!), in person and via email.  Unlike certain retailers, his blog and public emails come across modest, straightforward, and low on the carnival barker meter.  One thing Denis does well each year is to rally the troops for his pet project, the annual Indy's Whisky & Fine Spirits Expo.  So far there are over 120 brands attending, a couple master classes, and a lot of catering.

This is my ride.
Yes, an event like this means a lot of ambassadors and reps, also with a few craft whiskey non-distilling distillers.  This sort of company makes some geeks' skin crawl due to very bad experiences with these pitchmen (and pitchwomen).  While I fully understand those feelings -- because I've had plenty of those run-ins myself -- I met a number of brand reps on the West Coast who did know what they were actually hawking and were happy to dish the dirt on or off the record, and I recognize they are often just trying to close a sale.  Having worked in the entertainment industry for half my life, I'm used to being surrounded by salespeople, specifically a breed filled with much sweatier desperation, fueled by too many uppers and not enough downers.  So to me, every rep at a whisky event is innocent until proven guilty (unless the brand itself has proven to be historically consistently guilty).

And here's the thing.  While drinking alone and bloviating about the results online provides me with great joy, writing 100 whisky reviews is nowhere near as fulfilling as meeting one Matt Wunderle or one Eric Burke or any one of you.  I had my crew and I knew the reps in Southern California.  But I'm new to this part of the country.  Meeting humans and sorting out how whisk(e)y works around here is my priority, and an event like this is perfect for that sort of thing.  Plus I might just end up with a new whiskey or two about which I can report back to you.

So if you're local-ish, let me know.  And if you're going to the Expo, please drop me a line.  No, I won't be working a table.  I'll be drinking and geeking.  I'll be the bespectacled dude with the homeless guy beard, dropping countless F-bombs when he's sober and declaring he's THE booth babe when he isn't.  I may share the occasional opinion as well and I'll try not spit when pronouncing it.