A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: We all need something to celebrate. I won't lament the chaos that was 2020, but after a difficult year for our industry, and the world as a whole, it's nice to find people to look up to and appreciate. Last year we awarded our very first Artisan Spirit of the Year — recognition for an individual distiller selected by a committee of distilling peers. Last year the award went to the amazing Nicole Austin. Since that high mark we have been eagerly anticipating who this year’s selection committee would choose to recognize. They did not disappoint. It is with great honor that we announce Chris Montana as the 2021 Artisan Spirit of the Year (see the full article on page 48). I could speak for hours on why Chris is a deserving distiller and an incredible human being, but I’ll let the interview and article speak for itself. While we're on the topic of articles... There is a moment at every tasting event, when a consumer is talking to a distiller and it dawns on them that they are talking to one of the people who actually made the spirit in their hands. A light shines in their eye and sheer joy spreads across their face. It's unexpected and delightful every time I witness it happen. As a publisher, the closest I get to that moment is when I tell someone, often a reader, advertiser, or industry peer, that Artisan Spirit Magazine never allows “native advertising.” That is the fancy name for advertisements formatted to mimic the regular content of a given platform. Sometimes it takes a minute, but a similar light shines from their face as they consider the consequences, and they are thrilled.
Every business owner needs to learn how to adapt to changing markets, emerging trends, and technological innovations without sacrificing their founding values. For us, native advertising is a revenue stream we do not persue. Our hearts are with the artisans and craftspeople of this industry who are dedicated to transparency and building a relationship of mutual support within their community. I want every article in Artisan Spirit Magazine to be written with knowledge transfer in mind, not salesmanship. It is important to note that industry vendors do submit articles, our advertisers are occasionally contacted as resources for interviews on relevant topics, and some independent writers may also be consultants who work with clients they report on. But we separate church and state. No pays us for articles they submit, we maintain editorial control over everything, and we do not offer sleight of hand workarounds. You want to buy an ad and submit an article? Great, but those are two separate conversations with separate teams. We will not take money for an article and advertisers will not get published just because they spend money on advertising. An article is an article, and an ad is an ad. We are leaving money on the table and some readers may not mind if articles are actually ads. However, I know that readers can trust in the integrity of every article they see in Artisan Spirit Magazine. I will not trick you. Selfishly, I want to sleep easy at night. I am proud as hell that when I tell people we only publish transparent content; I get to see their eyes light up.
Brian Christensen (509) 944-5919 /// email@example.com /// PO Box 31494, Spokane, WA 99223
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