JABBING FORWARD Oh great, here comes another of those “things are opening up, I’m so glad I get to do [fill in the blank] again” posts that have been saturating the media, both traditional and social (not that being social isn’t a tradition!) But as I write this, I’m still coming down off of the high of attending my first in-person industry event in nearly a year and a half. When I received the invite to sample some spirits brands from India—Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin and Raimpur Indian Single Malt Whisky, including the latter’s many creative barrel finishes—I thought it was a mirage. I scoured the email for the words “virtual,” “Zoom” or “home tasting kit” and could not find them anywhere. Yep, this was the real deal, a gathering at a genuine, honest-to-goodness brick-and-mortar restaurant—in this case, the wonderful Punjab Grill in Washington, D.C. It was surreal, but a much-welcome surreality.* Another sign that we could be approaching some semblance of normalcy: By the time the next issue of CRAFT SPIRITS magazine arrives in your inbox, I likely will have been at the first spirits industry trade show since the first quarter of 2020. I say “likely” because there needs to be a heaping tablespoon of trepidation served with all of the optimism. Back in the spring, everyone seemed to be tearing up at a certain Extra Sugar Free Gum viral ad. You know the one; it was one huge makeout fest choreographed to Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (written by the legendary Jim Steinman, R.I.P.) While everyone was busy sharing the video and attaching little heart emojis to it, I was trying to caution everyone to slow their roll. It was premature to be spiking the ball because the game wasn’t close to being over (and they were jinxing it). And it still isn’t. We aren’t out of the woods (let’s see how many cliched metaphors I can cram into this column). Yes, I’m double-vaxxed and dining indoors again and I’m looking forward to going to Bar Convent Brooklyn in August (if you are too, make sure you stop by the ACSA Pavilion and meet some of the country’s finest craft spirits producers!) Same for the O.G. trade fair, Bar Convent Berlin in October. And of course, I can’t wait for the ACSA Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, this December 4-6 (register now!). And further out, I’m itching to get back to Texas for San Antonio Cocktail Conference, as well as New Orleans for Tales of
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the Cocktail, roughly a year after you read this. But the Delta variant, as well as the variant’s variants, is no joke! As we wrapped up this issue, we were about to fall short of President Biden’s goal to have 70% of the U.S. population vaccinated by July 4 because the number of people getting their jabs has slowed dramatically since spring. It was only a couple of months ago that we were all getting up at the crack of dawn, trying to score a vax appointment online before they were all filled up by about 6:05 a.m. Now, the frontline workers who are administering the shots practically have to chase people down the street with syringes. And I don’t want to get political on you here. A pandemic never should have been politicized in the first place. Science does not care which side of the aisle you sit on. Remember how last year we were saying, “We’re all in this together?” That still holds true. All of us who are eligible (which is most of us older than a tween) must get our vaccinations—not for ourselves, but for everyone else. For society. For the ability to go to restaurants, conventions, conferences and trade shows so we can finally get back to business—and back to life. I very much plan to be clinking glasses with as many of you as possible at all of the aforementioned events—and many more to come! ■ *Not so welcome was the fact that a few people were so eager to get back to the Before Times, that they assertively shook my hand before I had the chance to insist on an alternate form of greeting. Fist or elbow bump? Bow? Vulcan Live Long and Prosper hand signal? Wakanda Forever chest cross? I’m still workshopping some options. But I was really hoping that we’d retire the handshake once and for all. I really like not catching colds!
Jeff Cioletti Editor in Chief
C R AF T S PI R I T S MAG .CO M