Monday, May 15, 2017

Rant: Drink Writers, Burst Your Bubble

Drink writers, especially if they have a narrow focus in their writing, can easily find themselves isolated within a bubble. They might write only about something specific like Italian wine, Sparkling wines, Rum, or Bourbon. Or maybe they write about a more general category of drinks, such as wine, beer, or whiskey.

In addition to the limits of what they write, they might also surround themselves with others who share their interest, who they meet to share their chosen libations. On social media, they will follow others who share their chosen interest. In addition, they will likely read books, magazines and articles about their chosen interest. They immerse themselves in their chosen speciality, excluding anything outside of that circle.

They probably don't even realize that they've created a bubble around themselves, limiting their exposure to outside views and experiences. They feel safe and secure inside their bubble, buoyed up by their friends who share similar interests. Everything they experience is presented through the same lens, the same filters. As such, they miss out on information and experiences which are outside this narrow lens, yet they never realize that they're missing anything. In essence, they may be blissfully ignorant.

By existing within a bubble, they can miss out on the greater context of their chosen drink, failing to understand how it compares and contrasts to other beverages. They need to take off their blinders, which keep them walking down a narrow path, and look out at a greater world. They can look at their chosen interest with new eyes, potentially finding new approaches to their interest, realizing new ideas which will broaden their knowledge. It's a great way to improve their writing, to make it fresher and more relevant.

For example, I write about both Wine and Sake, and it has been enlightening to compare and contrast the two beverages. They possess interesting similarities and differences and similarities which cause me to think more critically about each, seeing them in a greater context than if I concentrated on only one of them. For example, when pairing food and Sake, umami is an important consideration. However, most people rarely consider umami when pairing wine and food, unless they have had experiences with Sake. Though Wine possesses less umami than Sake, it still can play a role in food pairings.

Beer and wine have their significant differences too, and by learning more about each, you can break out of your bubble and view matters in a larger context. Consider how beer consumers view pricing, how $15 a bottle can seem like such a high price, yet in the wine world, $15 a bottle is often considered a value price. Each type of spirit also brings with it a unique framework, well worth exploring.

The drinks industry is wide and wonderful, a myriad of experiences which bring new knowledge and allow you to view old knowledge through different lenses. Don't box yourself in to a specific alcohol but allow yourself to be more open, to have an adventurous palate.  Break out of your bubble and welcome the new.

I should note that I'm not advocating that you have to write about all of these different types of alcohol. What I'm trying to get across is that you should learn more about these other beverages, reading and researching, so you better understand them. That knowledge should help you better understand your chosen beverages and should lead to better articles. There is no downside to learning more about other drinks.

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