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a mutineer to revere Print
Written by Nikitas Magel   

Alan Kropf AK:  I think you hit it right on the head: we are nomads.  It's pretty cool, it's pretty fun, it's a bit different.  It takes a little getting used to, not being in the same place for more than a period of time.  But, in addition to aiding in our research, we're really trying to build a culture here, by being around the people we're writing about.  All these other magazines supposedly write about a culture, but they're in office buildings somewhere else.  Plus, while we're doing our research, we're also increasing our readers.  We're letting the industry know, "We're here to serve you guys; we're here to tell your stories, so use us as a resource and help us be the best that we can be."  We're all becoming a part of their lives, sharing experiences with them, and really building a solid readership that will hopefully make the Mutineer something bigger than it is now.

NM:  What's behind the magazine's name, Mutineer?

AK:  We struggled with the name for a long time.  We didn't want the typical "Wine (Blank)" name; we wanted something different.  We really did want the name to stand out.  We certainly accomplished that, though I think it's a challenging name to work with in some ways.  It was inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, a writer I admire a lot.  He wasn't always objective but he was always truthful, and his strength was in communicating the reality of a situation.  His work has always inspired me and there's a collection of it coming up called The Mutineer — and that seemed to fit with what I was trying to do.  Now, originally, it was called Wine Mutineer, which made a lot more sense, but when we brought on JJ Bagley — who's done such an outstanding job for us [in the area of beer] — it clearly wasn't a publication for just anymore, it never really was.  So, we changed the name to the Mutineer.

NM:  In broadening your focus in a way that's more inclusive of beverages other than wine, what challenges and what benefits do you face?

AK:  Well, it's been my experience that people are not only into wine.  If someone has taken the time to expose themselves to wine and learn about it, they're typically also into cocktails, brandies, whiskeys, beers, and coffees — and if they aren't into those other things, then in the very least they're probably open to learning more about them.  And with traditional wine magazines, I personally just get bored reading about wine for a hundred pages — there's only so much you can say about it before I start losing interest!  Plus, there are so many stories out there and so many people doing cool things, that I don't see it as a hindrance at all [to cover beverages other than wine]; I like mixing it up.  And I like choosing an all-star lineup of stories.  Instead of choosing, say, fifteen really cool wine stories, I choose the one or two best of the lot, and then I choose the best two beer stories, the best coffee story, etcetera.  I just skim the best off the top and try to put together the most compelling, relevant, and exciting magazine that we possibly can.

NM:  A lot of great wine writing, and perhaps beverage writing in general, is not in print; it's online.  Concurrently, there is some speculation that people are increasingly seeking out the internet as the main source of that information.  What are your thoughts on that, and how do you think of it all in the context of your magazine which is, in fact, a print publication?

AK:  I firmly support blogs as an avenue for writing.  In Issue 3, we highlighted twelve wine blogs that we feel our readers should be checking out.  In this next issue, we're doing twelve beer blogs.  In the next issue, we're doing twelve spirits blogs.  We want to share what these writers are doing with their blogs.  I think that bloggers are the purest, most exciting segment of writers on the planet right now, because they don't have a boss and they're not getting paid; they're just writing because they love it.  They're doing it purely out of passion, and there's something to be said for that.

But I think that blogs can never capture what a magazine can, because with a blog, you can write whenever you want — you can do ten posts a day, one post a day — whereas with a magazine you have a limited amount of page real estate, so you choose the best of the best.  Plus, I think a magazine carries a weight and a credibility with it that most blogs just don't have, because they haven't been around long enough, they don't have the readership to support that, and there's something to be said about a tangible product that you can hold in your hand, behind which there's money and resources and a lot of investment.  There's something that backs up what you're saying in a print format that I don't think that blogs have quite achieved.  But working synergistically, I think there's a lot of opportunities for blogs to grow and to continue to grow and be a presence in the communication scene.



 

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