Archive for December, 2013

A Merry Christmas to all!

Posted by on Wednesday, 25 December, 2013

photo 4It may not sound like the ideal way to celebrate, but I am enjoying my Christmas day out at the distillery running my first batch of a 50/50 malted barley and rye mash. I’m guessing most people wouldn’t see this as a great way to spend a holiday (alone and working), but truly it is the best present I could have received.

Most of you know by now that my business partner Corey and I have been working on getting a small micro-distillery up and running over the past year. We started in August 2012 by running some numbers to check the viability of the prospect, and got our LLC set up December 12, 2012. Since then we have been working on obtaining equipment and the right licenses from the city, State, and Federal levels. As of December 9th, 2013, we now have all the permits and licenses in place and are able to finally begin production.

So, while I sit here typing waiting on my first mash to heat up and start running my first distillation, I am also looking back on the past year with a sense of amazement and awe. The support Corey and I have received to help get us to this point has been inspiring. We owe a debt of gratitude to our wives for believing in us and our ideas. And, of course we also owe the same gratitude to Ted of Big Bottom Whiskey for believing in us so much that he opened his business to us so we could co-locate and startup without the normal heavy expenses associated with distillery properties. Along with the industry knowledge we’ve been absorbing from him, I can honestly say we couldn’t have done it without him.

Here’s to the end of a pretty crazy year of changes, and the start of a truly amazing time in my life thanks to the support of you all as well. 2014 is going to be a wild ride, and I count myself the luckiest person in the world to be able to share it with and because of you all!

Slainte’ mhaith!

 

Just yes or no, thank you.

Posted by on Friday, 20 December, 2013

binary_mcclanahoochieIs social media reducing our critical thinking skills to mere binary this-or-that type choices?

Whether it is gender roles, politics, or any other topic of human conversation, it seems to me that the way in which social media allows us to share our views has relegated the conversation into two buckets: I agree, or I disagree. Through the binary “likes”, we are encouraged to think in simple terms; a single click if I agree, or a comment to explain why I don’t. What is discouraged by virtue of the tooling features is deeper or more complex thought. While many of us retain the desire to engage in this complex discussion, the single threaded nature of commenting serves to drive conversation down a single path which encourages one-dimensional thinking. Lateral thought or more critical thinking processes are being diminished in importance to the deference of group-think and soundbites.

I don’t know if I’m right, wrong, or in-between on this, but what I sense in the social spaces is a growing frustration and chasm split between us and them.

We are in an epidemic of one-dimensionalism and binary thought. That is to say, our society is being torn asunder by our inability to attribute more than a black/white view of each other within conversational contexts. Too often have I seen conversations in social channels quickly veer into a this-or-that discussion: you’re either for or against, pigeon-holed with no grey areas regardless of how deeply we try to clarify. These social conversations only serving to strengthen an us versus them mentality, widening any small divide from mere cracks to broad chasms of perceived ideological differences between people.

Mark Judge touches on this singularity, this one-dimensionalism perfectly in his call to boycott the next Star Wars Film in his blog post here: http://acculturated.com/2013/11/14/boycott-star-wars-episode-vii/ , (with my own hat tip to Mrs.Campbell for the share on Google+). In his post, Mark discusses how geeks are falling into this trap of only being interested in one thing; that we have lost our broader scopes of interest to the deeper focus on one.

Similarly, Matt Walsh blogged about the power hierarchy fallacy in the way people talk about their spouses (with another hat tip, this time to Suzi Meiger for her share on Facebook): http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/11/18/no-my-wife-isnt-my-boss/

While I don’t fully agree with Matt in his post (I don’t think he takes it far enough and falls down a bit when basing his post from an assumption of male leadership and two-gender marriages) I think his ideas and intent is closer to being palatable by the majority than most other posts I’ve read on similar topics; that treating people as people, as equals in a partnership where power dynamics can shift and sway, where respect for the individual is tantamount to any societal pressure to behave in a certain way is critical to our future success as a culture.

Like I said, I don’t know if I’m right, wrong, or otherwise, and I don’t know what the answer is to the question at the beginning of this post, but what I do know is that more complex thought and conversations are necessary in order to save ourselves from the pigeon holes and land mines of conversation and interaction via social media. And, if it wasn’t already evident, let’s drop the name-calling, shaming, and dehumanizing words when disagreeing with others. It serves no other purpose than to diminish ideas without actually addressing the problems with the ideas presented.

 

image credit:  Some rights reserved by mcclanahoochie

 

Advertising gone wrong – sexism exemplified

Posted by on Wednesday, 11 December, 2013

Dewars-Baron-commercialI was going to post this week about how Dewar’s completely screwed up their latest ad with some appalling sexism. But it seems the larger whiskies community really beat me to the punch, and with far more effect! So, instead, I’ll just touch on the problem and highlight some of the better blog articles posted as well as the results:

Fred Minnick’s post went viral in our small community of whisky geeks on Twitter and Facebook, and was even picked up by some larger media houses while the Whiskylassie also had some very choice words. Quoted from her Facebook page post:

Whiskylassie:
Honestly I am not a feminist, when I saw this today I gasped!
Jumping the grenade, definition (urban dictionary) – to swoop in and remove the fat ugly chick.
Dewar’s latest campaign called Meet the Baron uses “the grenade” in this ad. A large blond is led away and in the end the Swedish bikini models are the reward.
When Dewar’s was questioned by someone on twitter their reply was: the blond is the villain…
THIS IS WRONG on every level.
Please sign, share this petition. The only way this type of horrible sexists advertisement will end is if we say so. Thanks  (link to petition redacted)

Yup, you read that right. The Dewar’s ad spot used the sexist trope of an overweight and homely looking woman to play the role of the undesirable from whom the Baron as wingman saves his drinking pal. For even better explanations and discussions on this I implore you to read Fred’s post above, as well as Media Bistro’s….

Media Bistro even picked up Fred’s post and then Business Insider reported the same…. all of which lent pressure against Dewar’s whom actually responded to Media Bistro and simultaneously pulled the ad spot. While Dewar’s response was quite tepid at best, pulling the ad was absolutely the right thing to do.

dewars_removed

I just hope all this kerfuffle sends them back to their drawing boards to re-imagine what a proper and respectful campaign should look like. If they need help remembering, I may just have to point them to the recent Chivas Regal spot that won my heart for doing it right: The measure of a man:
.