Welcome to PUNCH. We’re a James Beard Award-winning online magazine in collaboration with Ten Speed Press focused on narrative journalism—both written and visual—about wine, spirits, beer and cocktails.
We fell in love with drinks because they weren’t just another way to catch a buzz, but a means to discover the sense of “place” psychologically ingrained into a region over centuries—or a peek into a specific era and its ambitions. In America, our invention of the cocktail may not have the sanction of ages that Europe’s history with wine has, but guess what: Our early penchant for mixing wines and spirits, tossing them in a glass and turning it into entertainment—it’s ours. Some might call it adulteration; we’d call it the very spirit of reinvention and experimentation that has come to define America itself.
Our goal is to capture the ethos that’s driving drinks forward: the connection of beverage to tradition and place, the passion to innovate and yes—fun. We also believe that the wine, cocktail, beer and spirits worlds share more in common than they probably realize. We want to bring them together and shine a light on the many places where their values are entwined. We hope you dig it.
EDITOR IN CHIEF | Talia Baiocchi
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR | Matt Rodbard
SENIOR EDITOR | Chloe Frechette
FEATURES EDITOR | Leslie Pariseau
ASSISTANT EDITOR | Tatiana Bautista
ART DIRECTOR | Lizzie Munro
PHOTO EDITOR | Liina Paavonpera
PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER | Allison Hamlin
DIRECTOR OF AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT | Kaitlin Bray
SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR | Jon Bonné
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR | Robert Simonson
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR | Megan Krigbaum
Stories We Are Looking For
We’re interested in exploring drinking culture from all angles including its connection to tradition, place, people and innovation. We have a great fondness for unusual characters, fringe movements, unsung traditions and overlooked haunts reported from the farthest flung corners of the world. Stories should be narrative-driven and thoroughly reported.
Some of our favorite stories from the past few years include The Last Pulque Dons of Apan about the revival of Mexico’s once-prized alcoholic beverage, The Quiet Defiance of Decibel about New York’s pioneering punk-rock sake bar and Let Us Now Retire the Whiskey Woman. These are our most popular stories from 2018 and 2017.
We are open to pitches for existing rubrics, too, such as A Night at the Door, Drunk Food, Masters of X, Drinking With, Hack Your Drink and Dead Bars. (Note: We do not take pitches for Bar Review, Dive, OGs or City Guides.)
A Night at the Door: A Q&A with three bouncers from a specific city, neighborhood or sector of nightlife, e.g. Three Hollywood Bouncers, Three Memphis Bouncers, etc.
Drunk Food: Short profiles of an iconic late-night food vendor centered on a reported scene from an evening spent there. The profile should contextualize its appeal and role in its particular corner of the world. These are meant to be told from a personal angle, i.e. you should have a connection to this place.
Masters of X: Profiles of bartenders seeking perfection in a single cocktail. These should feature bartenders that have a genuine affinity for a particular classic cocktail and have dedicated significant time and thought to their interpretation of it.
Notable: Short-form coverage of current and critical moments from across the drinks space. While each installment focuses on a single product, technique or bar opening, they should reflect a larger trend or movement.
Drinking With: Profiles of cultural figures (writer, musician, restaurateur, artist) that transcend the drinks world, told through the lens of an hour or two spent drinking together. We are not looking for profiles of distillers, brand ambassadors, bartenders, winemakers, etc.
Hack Your Drink: A short-form look at clever bartending techniques that make the process of drink-making easier. These should originate at professional bars, but can be applied by home bartenders.
Dead Bars: Profiles of once-beloved watering holes that have gone by the wayside told from a personal angle. These essays are meant to shed light on the kinds of places that attained immortality through a collective consciousness rather than the brick-and-mortar buildings that weren’t able to contain them. Please try to avoid the gentrification angle, and focus more on what was fabulous about the bar and its community to begin with.
Stories We Are Not Looking For
New product launches or reviews (unless they have a tie-in to a relevant trend), listicles (“Five Reasons the Negroni Is Overrated”) and stories in which the angle is that a woman/women is/are distilling/making wine/brewing. We love that women are occupying these positions in greater numbers, but this is not an angle for us. However, if someone is doing something particularly innovative and that someone happens to be a woman, we’d love to hear about it. Other stories to avoid: Holiday-centric content (“Five Cocktails Your Valentine Is Sure to Say Yes To,” “10 Whiskey Drinks for Father’s Day”), stories drawn from press trips, single producer profiles (unless their work is groundbreaking or otherwise of particular note) and personal essays that do not have a peg or angle.
What Does a PUNCH Pitch Look Like?
A well-written paragraph or two that conveys your point of view and why you are the right person to write this story. Please tell us what your angle is, who you plan to talk to and where you plan to go. We appreciate reporters who report. Pre-reporting is important too; tell us what the thing is about before you pitch. If you’re new to us, please send clips that best illustrate the kind of writing you want to do for PUNCH.
Where to Send Pitches
The best way to reach us is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This will ensure your pitch reaches the entirety of our editorial team. Please include “pitch” in the subject line so we don’t miss it. No attachments please.
Check to make sure PUNCH (or another publication) has not already covered the topic. While we always try to respond to outside pitches, it’s not always possible.
Thanks so much, and happy pitching,