The hot new magazine – Spirited – has a rare voice; it’s smart and edgy, but most of all, it’s panoptic. It speaks to wine, spirits, beer and cider as it chronicles the revolution — the comingling of drink.

To get a sense of this pervasive magazine, what follows is a Q/A with Ethan Simon, co-founder and associate publisher. The national magazine, with two issues under its belt, is published by Sonoma Media Investments.

Q: What motivated you to co-found Spirited? What is it about this region that seemed ripe for a trade publication like this at this time?

A: The magazine is national, but regarding the need in the region, we in the North Bay, including San Francisco, have some of the world’s best craft spirits and beer in the world. Our restaurants and bars feature them in original drinks. This is not exclusive to our area, as many cities across the country could argue the same point for their craft producers. As for the timing, interest in craft beverages has reached the mainstream and more people are interested in local producers. This magazine is a bit of a hybrid between trade and consumer, as it has trade content but is presented with the look and feel of a consumer publication. We focus on people and ideas and present it in an artistic and compelling way.

Q: What is the magic behind creating an all-encompassing magazine that speaks to all industries — wine, beer, spirits and cider? What are the opportunities here?

A: All total beverage alcohol companies are related to each other, as many wineries are producing spirits, cider, and/or beer—and the same is true across all parts of the industry. If not, now they will be soon. Also, each industry borrows and learns from each other, and partakes in each other’s craft. On the supplier end, most suppliers service the whole industry, wine, beer, cider and spirits, and we provide the best use of their advertising dollar.

Q: In developing this magazine, have you encountered any “Aha” moments? Or any surprises?

A: I’ve been most surprised by the interest of winemakers in learning about the other beverage types, both as curious consumers and as potential producers.

Q: Where do you want take this publication? What are your long range goals with it?

A: I would like this publication to be the “go to” magazine for everything in the total beverage alcohol industry. People will look to Spirited for “what’s next.”

Q: How are your readers benefiting from a publication that puts wine, spirits, beer and cider under one umbrella? What feedback are you getting?

A: Everyone is interested in all spirits now. You no longer have just wine-, beer- or spirit-people—many drink across categories. There is so much crossover in production and operations as well. For example, spirits are aged in beer and wine barrels for taste and the options are only limited by the creativity of the producer. The feedback has been great, across all aisles, with many commenting on “what an easy read” Spirited is—and that’s the greatest compliment.

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