The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2012

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FROM THE PUBLISHER Small is the New Big Thing 2013 WILL BE OUR YEAR OF THE ARTISAN BRAND PHOTO: RANDALL MICHELSON W e���ve all seen it coming: Micro-distilleries are popping up like Starbucks across the country; distributors are forming new divisions to market craft brands; adventurous mixologists are seeking out ever more obscure and though-provoking ingredients for their cocktail programs; new categories of spirits are being discovered . . . and even created. It is indeed a new era for the little brand. On our January cover, we are declaring 2013 The Year of the Artisan Brand. From artisanal wines to craft beers, from small-batch spirits to farm-fresh provisions, we���re going to be looking for all food and drink brands that qualify. That they are hand-crafted and made with real passion are the only prerequisites. And, by the way, this doesn���t mean we���re saying ���move over��� to products from larger, long-established players. Indeed, we honor the Meridith May with Scott Beattie, top mixolo- companies that paved the way for this exceptional time in our industry, gist from Napa Valley���s Goose & Gander. a time when luxury can be consumed affordably, when quality is examined before quantity and when the gatekeepers are evolving in their own quest for knowledge of what���s behind the brand. But as both suppliers and their customers know, there���s room on the backbar for the little guys as well as the major leaguers as today���s industry continues to expand at unprecedented rates. During 2013, in celebration of artisanal brands, THE TASTING PANEL will be taking a tour across the U.S. all year long with events including Arizona Cocktail Week, Tales of the Cocktail and our own, big Holiday Buying Show on Sept 9���10 in New York City. Along the way, we���ll introduce our readers to the best and brightest from today���s top hands-on producers and share the passion that drives these labels. Meanwhile, enjoy this super-sized issue, featuring our 2012 Yearbook, which highlights ���Most Likely to Succeed Brands��� that Anthony Dias Blue and I scored 92 and above this past year. Have a happy holiday season and thank you for your continued readership as we grow together. Meridith May Publisher 4 / the tasting panel / december 2012 CONTRIBUTORS Nina Chadha got her start in the world of writing at Blue Lifestyle, home to Anthony Dias Blue. An advocate of avocados, Pinot Noir and all things written, Nina is based in Los Angeles, and writes for The Blue Lifestyle Minute, a James Beard Foundation award���winning radio radio show. Jay Cowle is a commercial photographer based in Sacramento, California who has a passion for capturing images of people and products, speciically food and beverages. He learned the tricks of the trade while working for several food photographers in Los Angeles as an assistant, closely observing their techniques. ���My goal is to stir up the emotion of the viewer of my images,��� he says. James Eaton is a commercial photographer based in Louisville, KY. He has covered various aspects of the bourbon industry, from product photography to corporate events and charity balls.��He is also a soldier in the Kentucky Army National Guard. In his down time, he likes to spend time with his family, and work on his O-Gauge model train layout. Megan Wieczorek is the writer and producer for Blue Lifestyle, the weekly two-hour nationally syndicated radio show hosted by Anthony Dias Blue that covers the food, wine, spirits and travel industries. A devout lover of all things eating, drinking and traveling, Megan is happiest when she is surrounded by good food, great friends and has a cocktail in hand.

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