Last week while I was in Hawaii getting all educated on the makings of rum (more to come on that in another post!), I was also learning just how strong some of the negative judgments on the alcohol industry are. Not from Hawaii per se, but just from talking to folks about this blog project of mine. I get a lot of raised eyebrows at first when I say I write about drinking, and then plenty of surprised people after I start getting into some of the history I've been learning about where different cocktails come from or the evolution of some spirits, wines, beers, etc.
Here in Calgary, there are people working hard behind the scenes to bring a little style and class back to our drinks scene.
On Tuesday evening I found myself at the media night for National 10th. I had a few minutes to chat with Stephen Phipps. I was telling him how much I was looking forward to the sign I saw for... wait for it... The Bourbon Room. And excited to hear his vision – to bring back the intimate atmosphere that once came with enjoying a quality spirit or a well crafted cocktail.
Christina Mah, Franz Swinton, Nathan Head, Jimmy Nguyen, Rebecca Davis and other local bartenders are also doing their part with The Canadian Bartenders Association - Calgary Chapter by hosting and competing in local and international cocktail competitions, information sessions for public and industry, and engaging and educating Calgarians on any level they can.
Village Brewery is sporting local ingredients for its craft beer, a passion for community building with events like an occasional humpday mixer – and though it's not directly drink related, Village also produces its own podcast called Village Radio providing interviews with some of their favourite Villagers.
If you've ever walked into Vine Arts, you're likely familiar with the knowledge and expertise of its staff... whether it be wine, spirits or beer. And if you're aiming to learn a little more yourself, it hosts plenty of different tastings where you come away appreciating everything behind the liquid your consuming.
And then there's the everyday person like you and I. The ones on the ground shaping the future of Calgary's drinking scene, and sharing what we know in an effort to support an evolving market in YYC... and bring in even more choice!
Exploration and appreciation – two of the reasons I began this blog. Prost!