Alexandra Russell, editor-in-chief

I’m feeling inspired.

In March, I attended the Women of the Vine & Spirits Global Symposium. Now in its third year, this gathering of executives, makers, marketers, distributors, sellers, and storytellers was equal parts inspiration and information. Each keynote speech and panel discussion offered valuable take-aways, while lunches and mixers provided casual networking opportunities. An impressive lineup of internationally renowned speakers included innovators and pioneers, such as Susana Balbo (Susana Balbo Wines, Argentina), Maggie Henriquez (Krug Maison de Champagne, France), and Dr. Makaziwe Mandela (House of Mandela, South Africa). Just sharing the air with these accomplished women—with all those in attendance, really—was a rarefied moment.

Perhaps most inspiring, though, was a simple-yet-stirring element: Across from the check-in table was a tall wooden panel with horizontal rows of string, clothespins and blank notecards. Attendees were encouraged to anonymously answer the question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” and hang their response for all to see. The sentiments expressed ranged fro
m determined (“Publish my novel”) to aspirational (“Start my own company”), and inspirational (“I would focus on social justice around the world”). Wow.

Me? Well, in January this year, I left a company I’d been with for more than a decade to join the Spirited team, and I’m loving every minute. Response to our first issue has been enthusiastic and positive—thanks everyone!

We seem to have hit the right note with our mix of trade content and consumer presentation. Some of my favorite comments so far include: “Much more inviting than many trade pubs I get” (from a well-known industry reporter); “…a very good new product on the market” (a national publicist); and, my favorite, from an industry supplier, “Huge kudos for bringing a trade publication into the 21st century.”

We must be doing something right.

This issue, we turn our attention to marketing and the many forms it can take, from social media, mobile devices, and the sought-after millennial demographic to what it takes to introduce a new product to market and how packaging can influence a consumer. Just for fun, we also tracked down wine industry scion August Sebastiani, who’s forging his own path in the spirits world. I hope we’ve provided information you’ll find useful and applicable to your business.

The Crawl takes us to New York City, so if you’re in town for USA Trade Tasting (May 16-17), BevNET Live (June 13-14), BrewBound Session (June 15), or even just for fun, let us guide you on where to go after the show. You’re sure to discover at least a few new favorites.

Speaking of new favorites, please let me know what you think of this issue—the good, the bad, and the beautiful (because who says trade magazines can’t look good?).

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this sentiment, stolen from the eloquent Maki Mandela: “Without wine, there is no great love. Without passion, there is no great wine.”

Here’s hoping you face your fears and embrace inspiration wherever you find it.