Friday, March 21, 2008

San Francisco Front Page News

My Inbox has been blowing up-- everybody's sending me links to the absinthe article in today's San Francisco Chronicle-- it made the front page of the online edition (need to get a paper paper). With expected local nods to to Lance Winters of St. George Spirits and Absinthe (the restaurant), the article dares to ask, "will consumers continue to lap it up?"

The author Stacey Finz gets some good answers-- the hype will (and should) subside, and we'll be left with... well, pricey absinthe on liquor store shelves (hooray!) and lots of people knowing they don't like real absinthe (as opposed to not liking Czech "absinth"/"absynth"). Best of all, everybody benefits from its presence behind the bar since it opens the door to so many savory old school cocktails-- you can finally get a decent sazerac... [phew!]

I'm hoping this means more-- that it marks the start of a microdistillery revolution the same way microbreweries suddenly appeared 20 years ago and transformed millions of beer drinkers' palates. Imagine choosing between locally-produced spirits-- gins, vodkas, whisk(e)ys, even absinthes-- when you belly up to your local bar? We're there already in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it seems people everywhere are seeking (and paying more for) local, lovingly crafted products-- absinthe is coming back now because people are ready for it. In marketing terms, remember that even though most people say they hate it, many many bars serve lots and lots of Jagermeister: there's room for a few bottles of absinthe behind American bars.

btw the wording of the article's "Absinthe facts, myths and urban legends" section seemed backwards to me at first since the statements are all myths and urban legends. In the end, though, the article gets the facts straight, nailing the worst myths of all: thujone, shots, and fire [shudder].

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