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a mutineer to revere Print
Written by Nikitas Magel   

alan_kropf3_smallNM:  What do you hope your readers will learn from their experience in reading Mutineer?  What are you hoping to leave with them?

AK:  I hope that it affects their own experiences with food and beverage.  I hope that it makes them a smarter and more fulfilled consumer, which in turn helps our advertisers, helps the industry, helps the people that we're writing about.  I want people to read our magazine and then be able to go a store or a bar and have a better idea of how to enjoy the thing that really is one of life's great pleasures.  I want them to feel a part of it, I want them to be excited to read it, and I want the magazine to be a part of their food and beverage experience.

NM:  What broader changes are you seeing in the beverage industry as a whole, and the wine industry in particular?

AK:  I think that blogging has a long way to go in terms of its potential; it's still getting its feet wet and exploring what it can do — blogs have only been around for a few years.  In terms of change, I see publications like the Wine Spectator simply losing relevance, because no one cares what they think; [a magazine like that] is as boring to me as reading a VCR manual.  I just don't get it!  I think the industry in general has gotten away from that 'Here's the Answer' approach.  [As an example,] you've got the folks over at Wine 2.0 putting on these great events — they've got like 25 events, it's crazy how many events they're doing — and what they do is bring people in and they expose them to these beverages themselves.  I'm also a fan of Imbibe, another magazine similar to us.  We're seeing other businesses take an approach of just forgetting the reviews and instead talking about what's actually going on [in the industry].  It's pretty exciting!  You also see this with the wine bars popping up in the cities.  I see a growing trend of wine being returned to the people, and through that, lots of new ideas and lot of new projects are being born.

NM:  Would you say that you're part of a movement to democratize beverage media?

AK:  Certainly.  The internet definitely does that by default.  And if in the industry that isn't happening naturally — though I think it is — then we're forcing it, we're trying to be a catalyst for that to occur.  Information is free now.  If you want to be heard, you can; it just takes time, energy, a little willpower, and passion.  You can really do anything that you want.

NM:  Given what you see as their decreasing relevance, especially among the up-and-coming generation who are accessing their information about fine beverages  very differently than the generation before them, where do you see some of these more traditional beverage, and specifically wine, publications going?

AK:  I see them not doing too hot.  I don't think they have a great relationship with the industry.  I think wineries, in general, fear them more than they embrace them, because these people are coming to their wineries or they're soliciting for their bottles, and they're judging them!  This beautiful beverage that someone takes years to make and invest they're whole life savings into creating, and someone's going to take it and put a number on after trying it once?!  Maybe it's not ready, maybe it's not mature, and maybe it's not made for the 100-point scale!  That 100-point scale caters to big, bold, juicy, high-alcohol reds of Napa Valley — not the Albariño from Spain, not New Zealand Pinot Noir.  And then the ad prices that some of these magazines charge?  I know it's not a huge concern to consumers, but I don't see how they expect to build any kind of relationship with the industry that they're serving when they're fleecing them!  It costs over $30k for a one-page ad in the Wine Spectator, and as a result these smaller, but really cool wineries out there can't advertise — it's just silly, it's just stupid money.  And one of the things we do is we give out ads in every issue, and we're going to continue to do that.  We offer ads for free to people who just email us and tell us why they deserve a free ad; we want to give them the opportunity to advertise in a print format.  I see these other magazines frankly just losing relevance!

NM:  I think you've come full-circle on the meaning behind the title of your magazine.  It sounds like you're representing what really, in essence, is a mutiny among the newer generation of both consumers and writers of beverage journalism — a mutiny against the more traditional model which has basically been strong-arming the industry.

AK:  I think that you hit it on the head.  I don't think that I have the answer but I'm trying to create a publication that can cater to the answer, which is what people are thinking at the time.  That's all you can really ever hope for: sharing the present moment, sharing what's happening, and relaying the ideas, the passions, and the drives of all these incredible people who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of the ultimate fine beverage.



 

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