When Punch launched nearly 10 years ago, we had almost no marketing budget. We figured, perhaps naively, that if we made content we liked, other people might like it, too, and those people might tell their friends, and those friends might tell their friends, and so on. Luckily, many of these friends were members of the trade. Dozens of bartenders, sommeliers, restaurant owners and chefs lent us their spaces for photo shoots, their expertise for our storytelling, their ears for advice. As a result, the trade perspective on drinking culture has, from the beginning, been part of Punch’s DNA, and faithfully telling the stories of the people who are actively moving drink culture ahead, every night, is central to our mission.
For the past four years, we’ve been quietly thinking about how we can speak more directly to our friends in the trade and offer something valuable that they may not find on Punch. Internally, we called this project Boomerang. Over the years, the idea shape-shifted from occupying its own section of the site to a newsletter and, finally, to a newsletter collaboration with Eater. The worlds of food and drink are more entwined than ever before, borrowing from each other in ways that are novel, meaningful, sometimes bewildering. To understand it all, we felt we needed to go at it holistically—to call on a single expert each week to decode a trend or effort, but also zoom out to try to understand how that trend is playing out across hospitality. The result is Pre Shift, a biweekly look at what matters in hospitality right now, from the perspective of the people who are embracing, grappling with or reimagining it in real time.
What’s it like to lead the dining program at a working farm? Work a shift as a bouncer at a Detroit dive? What does a labor-intensive cocktail cost to make? How are bars and restaurants tackling delivery apps and AI? We’ll cover all of it. And while it’s meant for the pro, it’s also a worthy behind-the-scenes look at the industry for anyone who is restaurant- or bar-obsessed. The first send lands on August 14, and we’d love for you to come along for the ride. Sign up now.