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September’s Best Reads on Drinks and Drinking

This month: the hunt for rare cocktail books, the persistent problem of wine counterfeiting, the death of the sports bar and more.

Longreads Wine glass

Anne Fadiman, daughter of writer Clifton Fadiman, who penned The Joys of Wine, has spent much of her adult life pretending to enjoy the sole subject of her father’s eight-pound book. At age 40, she finally admitted that she might never love wine, and turned to science to find out why. [The New Yorker]

Over the past decade, craft breweries have emerged as anchors of their communities—an American extension of the British pub, which offers an essential space for people to congregate. As the trend only continues to grow, Jim Morrison evaluates the importance of these new meeting places to the economic and social development of their neighborhoods. [Smithsonian]

According to Bloomberg, no wine crime is more extensive than counterfeiting. What once only afflicted the world of rare wines has since become a more common phenomenon even among less remarkable bottles. Mark Oldman reports on the inability of the wine world to stymy the issue. [Bloomberg]

Growing up in Oklahoma City, the Original Varsity Sports Grill was Aaron Goldfarb’s favorite restaurant. A smoky joint defined by autographed jerseys and memorabilia that doubled as decor, the Varsity represents a dying breed of sports bar, one which has largely been undone by the demand for quality food and drink and the ubiquity of smartphones. Here, the author remembers the sports bar of the past and ponders its future. [October]

While many historic cocktail books have become widely available in reprints or digitizations, there are a number that remain elusive. In the Daily Beast, Wayne Curtis speaks to several industry experts about the rare cocktail books they still hope to track down (if they ever even existed at all). [The Daily Beast]

In Mendoza, Argentina’s primary wine-growing region, there has been a shift away from the “international style of winemaking”—a homogenous output defined by overripe fruit, over extraction and oak-aging—towards a more terroir-driven approach over the last two decades. In The Washington Post, Dave McIntyre reports on the wineries adopting so-called “precision viticulture” to bring distinctive flavors to their wine. [The Washington Post]

At Vesper, a cocktail bar in Amsterdam, Julian Bayuni has launched an initiative aimed at reducing cocktail bar waste—not just at his own bar, but elsewhere across the city too. Trash the Place invites bartenders to turn their bar’s waste into a cocktail to be spotlighted on Vesper’s menu for a month. Alex Krancher reports on the growing sustainability movement in Amsterdam’s cocktail scene. [Munchies]

According to Bart Watson, the chief economist at the Brewer’s Association, 75 percent of American breweries account for only one percent of the beer produced. In other words, there are a ton of very small breweries. Aaron Schachter reports on the explosion of small taprooms across the country. [NPR]

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