A newsletter for the industry pro (or aspiring pro).

April’s Best Reads on Drinks and Drinking

Welcome to The PUNCHbowl, a monthly installment where we share our favorite long reads on all things drinks and nightlife. This month: craft beer's nomadic canning operations, the true story of the Sazerac cocktail, the revival of Soviet Champagne and more.

sazerac cocktail

Occupying three million square feet of underground tunnels in a former Ukrainian mine, Artwinery is the largest producer of sparkling wine in eastern Europe. Founded by Joseph Stalin in 1950, it once represented the height of Soviet industrial prowess. Now, despite its proximity to the Ukrainian conflict, the winery is experiencing something of a nostalgia-fueled revival. Ian Bateson on the rising and falling fortunes of so-called Soviet Champagne. [Roads & Kingdoms]

Beer is the preferred alcoholic beverage of 54 percent of men, but only 23 percent of women. Despite efforts by beer brands to market directly to this overlooked demographic in recent years, the gender gap persists. Morgan Childs explores the complicated issue of gendered beer branding and what it means for a beer to be feminine. [Eater]

Years prior to Prohibition, unlicensed saloons and illegal drinking dens were dotted throughout Pittsburgh’s cityscape. Andrew Small investigates the Steel City’s proto-speakeasies and their role in sparking a national trend. [City Lab]

Craft beer has steadily been carving out a space for itself in an industry long-dominated by a select group of macro brands. But much of its success is owed to a few dozen nomadic canning operations, like Iron Heart, which help connect startup brewers to customers without the overhead cost of machinery—an expense which can run upwards of $300,000. Kyle Stock on the role of mobile canning operations in the survival and success of the craft beer industry. [Bloomberg]

Agave grown at higher elevations produces a more viscous tequila with more tropical flavors than those grown in the lowlands. As the taste for tequila continues to surge, agave origin—the distinction between highlands and lowlands—is becoming an important consideration for consumers. Natalie Compton on the notion of tequila terroir. [Munchies]

According to David Wondrich, of the hundreds of cocktails that exist in the common drinker’s lexicon, only a few dozen can be considered true classics. Within this rarefied group, it’s an even smaller number that boasts their own mythology and unique origin stories. And of these, it is perhaps the Sazerac—the state cocktail of Louisiana—that is the most storied of all. [The Daily Beast]

Related Articles