If a month’s worth of cargo waiting at U.S. ports tells us anything, it’s that the country is facing serious issues with the supply chain. This not only affects consumers, but also small craft brewers who rely on products to keep themselves running.

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” hosts Adam Teeter, Joanna Sciarrino, and Zach Geballe learn about how America’s supply chain crisis is affecting the beer industry. They are joined by VinePair writer at large Dave Infante, whose recent piece “Unpacking the Supply Chain Issues Facing Craft Brewers Today” explores just that. The four discuss the industry’s increasing shortage of aluminum cans, low barley stocks, and the supply chain’s effect on imported beer.

Tune in to learn more.

Listen Online

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Or Check Out The Conversation Here

Adam Teeter: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Adam Teeter.

Joanna Sciarrino: And I’m Joanna Sciarrino.

Zach Geballe: In Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.

A: And this is the “VinePair Podcast.” Zach, what have you been drinking, man?

Z: For my wife’s birthday, she really wanted to make chili, which is one of her favorite things to make.

A: In a crockpot?

Z: Just in a regular pot.

A: I feel like chili goes in a crock pot.

Z: She’s got a methodology that she is very attached to that she’s been making for a long time. And so she does that, and that’s cool. I decided that instead of having wine, she really likes dark beer. We had a few older bottles of some winter imperial winter ales, so I opened two bottles, one from 2018 and one from 2020 from Freemont Brewing here in Seattle of their B-Bomb, which is their imperial winter ale. We did a little side by side, which is cool because I really haven’t drunk a lot of aged beer. It’s just not been a thing that I’ve done.

A: What was that like?

Z: Well, I don’t know if there’s a difference in the base beer that goes in both cases. I don’t know if they changed the recipe up in between. But the main difference is 2018 — the three-year-old beer — was noticeably more wine-like in terms of being fruit-driven and having more spice notes. The 2020 one was much more malty, chocolaty, and rich. But you can tell that they were obviously related to one another, which was really cool and enjoyable. Recently, I also had a really beautiful Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, which is a category of wine that I really enjoy. Those Southern Rhone white blends that I feel like, for whatever reason, don’t get thought of as great white wines. In part because the red wines overshadow them and in part because they just don’t make a lot of the whites in that region. But they’re really good. How about you, Joanna? How are you doing?

J: I’m doing well, thank you. In terms of what I’ve drank lately, I’ve had a lot of wonderful wine, which is exciting for me. I had a really lovely Chardonnay from Brewer Clifton recently and a really amazing 2015 Cab from Freemark Abbey, which was awesome. And then I had some really amazing Barolo from one of Adam’s favorite producers, Cogno. So that was really exciting for me.

A: It’s dopest sh*t ever.

Z: Was Adam responsible for this?

J: Partially.

A: I just mentioned it on the podcast a few times.

J: It’s one of his favorites, so that was awesome. What about you, Adam?

A: Last night was the third part of our dinner series with a bunch of really cool luxury Scotches. So I got to have a 30-year-old Talisker, which was pretty awesome, as well as a 25-year-old Talisker. So those are pretty cool. It was really weird how different they were. The 25-year-old still had a lot of that smoke and peat. And then five years later, in the 30-year-old, it had all gone into the background. There were a lot of fruity notes, and it was much less in-your-face peat. It’s really weird how that happened only in five years. But I guess there must be something where it just gets a little bit older, and it all disappeared. They swore that they were not different whiskies. That was a pretty fun experience. Then last weekend, I went down to Transmitter since my brother-in-law was in town. Transmitter is a brewery in the Navy Yard in Brooklyn. I hadn’t been in a while, and they were doing a cool holiday pop-up down there. I had their saison, which was really good. So that was a lot of fun. That’s me. Speaking of beer, we thought it would be fun today to talk to VinePair writer Dave Infante, who also loves natural wine. Right, Dave?

Dave Infante: Love natural wine. Sulfites? Get them out of here.

J: Welcome to the show, Dave.

D: Thank you.

A: It’s also worth mentioning, you’re a two-time James Beard Award-winning author.

D: Gas me up. When I was a wee 25-year-old Talisker myself, I won the award in 2016 and 2017 in the beer, wine, and spirits category.

A: It doesn’t exist anymore.

D: I think they were worried that I was sandbagging and they just got rid of it.

A: We all consider you as one of the best journalists in this space. You do really amazing, deep reporting. So we wanted to bring you on to talk about a piece you just published for us recently on the supply chain. Specifically about how it’s affecting beer, but based on what you’ve learned, you can talk a lot about the entire industry. So you wanna give us a quick summary of what’s happening in the industry, and then we can go into a discussion from there?

D: For sure. The tl;dr here is that the supply chain is certainly f*cked in ways that no one really fully understands. So it’s important, as a grain of salt here, logistics experts that I talked to who have been in this business for 30 years are saying that it’s really difficult to even say how f*cked it is because we don’t really have any comparisons for what’s going on now. So just keep that in mind as a frame of reference. People know that they can’t get things and that things are getting more expensive. But the impact of globalization of trade over the course of the past 30 to 40 years has been that these systems are massive and opaque, and even people with a really good finger on the pulse of their little corner of the supply chain have a very difficult time wrapping their heads around what’s happening, even a couple of links up the chain. Keep that in mind as we talk about these things, there are tons of caveats. There are tons of contradictions and instances where things are actually getting cheaper because a bottleneck somewhere in Mexico affects a product in California that’s now able to get access to trucks or whatever. So there are a bunch of wrinkles to this. But generally speaking, things are f*cked. Everything is getting more expensive and trending upwards. The way I approach this is, like you said, I cover the beer industry a lot. I’ve been focusing on that for over a decade. I find that beer is a really good prism to get into broader cultural-political issues. This one’s an economic issue, right? No one really wants to read about logistics. It’s not interesting. That’s a tough sell for a mainstream audience. But when you put it in terms of how these beers are or are not getting brewed, it gets a little bit more tangible. So the goal was to just go around and talk to brewers from across the country, talk to economists, talk to people who work at the wholesalers, who work at the logistics firms that are dealing with the port backups and dealing with the trucking bottlenecks. And to understand where the inputs are for brewers and which ones are getting to market, and as best as possible to figure out why.

Z: Interesting. Obviously this is a complicated and complex issue as you outlined, and there’s no one simple answer to this. But the thing that I found interesting in reading the piece was that I think for some people, the conception or notion that we had to this point was that the issue was basically not production. It was getting sh*t from point A to point B to C to D to whatever. The things that are needed are out there in the world, but shipping containers are stuck in places and all that stuff. Is that accurate, or are we also facing actual shortages of the raw materials or the goods that people want?

D: Chief economist of the Brewers Association, Bart Watson, is always pretty good in terms of thinking about how the craft beer industry in the United States is growing and developing from an economic sense. That makes sense, it’s his expertise. The way he framed it for me, which I thought was really helpful when I spoke to him for this story, is that it breaks out into three buckets that are all interrelated and have compounding effects on one another, but are somewhat distinct. The first two are the two sides of the coin that you’re asking about. One is disruptions, and one is shortages, right? So he was making the point that in the case of aluminum, for example, there is plenty of aluminum being produced in the world, right. The shortage is not about getting the metal made in the smelting facilities. Do you smelt aluminum?

J: Yeah, definitely.

A: For sure, you smelt it.

D: Yeah, you smelt it. Very confident in the smelting. So the aluminum is out there. The reason that we’re not getting cans to market and brewers are having so much trouble getting those empty can brigs to be able to fill is actually not because we’re not producing enough aluminum. It’s because either it’s stuck in a port and unable to move to where it can be processed, or it’s the capacity of the facilities that turn raw aluminum into aluminum cans is already maxed out. Both of those things are actually happening in the case of the aluminum can marketplace that U.S. brewers have access to today. Europe is producing plenty of aluminum; so is Mexico. Limited U.S. facilities are also producing aluminum. The problem is that the major can corporations — Ball, Crown Holdings, and Ardagh — have no more capacity. Their facilities are completely maxed out. They’re running extra shifts. They just can’t move more aluminum through their system to get it out the door.

A: Is this just because they stopped making aluminum for a while during the pandemic and now there’s huge demand?

J: Well, also think about the uptick in demand with all the RTDs that came out over the past 18 months.

A: So they weren’t prepared? They didn’t forecast?

D: Joanna is right, this is another one of those compounding issues. We talked a little bit about disruptions and how that can look like a shortage, but it isn’t a shortage. But there’s also just a matter of spiking demand. There are new products coming online and market shifts that are pointing away from plastic for sure, but mostly towards aluminum. Glass has its own ecological problems, and it’s heavier to ship, so aluminum is becoming increasingly attractive to corporations both within the alcohol space and in the broader beverage landscape. Because they have corporate sustainability goals, they also want to cut down their margins on shipping. Furthermore, when the aluminum recycling system is running well, it’s one of the best material recovery rates possible. Aluminum is kind of the gold standard in terms of material that can be recycled. So there’s a lot of reasons that producers, even prior to the pandemic, were turning to aluminum cans for more of their product mix. The pandemic came along and disrupted production for a couple of months, but the plants never shut down. But demand dips, so they react to that to try to pull back a little bit, and then demand actually spikes. So if you can imagine a tow rope going slack and then all of a sudden the truck that’s pulling the trailer accelerates really fast. The rope is going to be stretched really taut to the point where it’s overstretched and could potentially snap. That’s what happened at the beginning of the pandemic and ever since they’ve been playing catch up. But the pandemic made the turn to cans an existential matter for producers because they had to get access to the off-premise market. Every single one of them did all at once. So the spike was just enormous. As is the case with anything in capitalism, the biggest buyers are going to have the most access to cans or any other raw material. Which is why, as you start getting further down the chain from the ABIs and the Constellations and the Molson Coors of the world, they are going to be fine. They have their own packaging companies. They had trouble lining up materials, but they were ultimately able to overcome that. But those aren’t the producers that we’re talking about. We’re talking about the 95 percent of U.S. breweries that make less than 10,000 barrels a year. These are tiny, tiny breweries, and therefore, they’re at the end of the line because they buy so little compared to the bigger guys. So they are in trouble.

J: Dave, you mentioned in your piece that some of them had the foresight to stockpile cans. But at that point, it’s really an issue of storage. You can’t buy so many cans.

D: One of the things that came up in my reporting is this concept called Just-In-Time Inventory Management. Just-In-Time is a popular philosophy surrounding inventory management and logistic efficiencies, which has been the reigning philosophy.

A: At every major business school, you have to take a supply chain class and they basically teach Just-In-Time.

D: My dumb ass didn’t go to business school. I was on the Wikipedia page being like, “Oh yeah, this is pretty important.” But for newcomers to the idea of logistics management, the concept is that you don’t buy it until right before you need it. And that way, you keep very little inventory on hand. You keep your overhead low, and you prioritize your cash flow and low inventory spend over long-term stability. That works fine if you’re operating in a predictable ecosystem. Kevin Magee, who’s the president and CEO of Anderson Valley Brewing Company out in Northern California, took over a few years ago with his family. I think he bought out the original owners. He likened it to running your business logistics chain as though it’s Amazon Prime. If you can always get something from Amazon Prime three hours after you order it, why would you order a bunch of it and put it in your apartment? That doesn’t make any sense. You don’t need it until you want it. So you wait until you want it, and then you hit the button on Amazon Prime, and it shows up a couple of hours later. That works in normal times, and it works for personal consumption habits. Breweries obviously have to operate a little bit differently, and it’s not quite that simple. I mean, no one’s buying hops on Amazon. But the point is that brewers were benefiting from this system because it allows them to keep their overhead low. There’s a tendency to make a moral judgment on this, assuming people are cutting corners. You’re running fast and loose, and you got caught with your-hand-in-the-cookie-jar type of thing. I don’t think that’s the case, I didn’t come across any instances of breweries willingly taking on additional risk in order to take cash out of their business prior to the pandemic. That’s that. I’m sure there are individual instances. But by and large, that’s not why people engage in Just-In-Time. They engage in it because it works. As long as the supply chain is running normally, it’s a better way to run your business because you can move more cash through the business without tying a bunch of it up in, for example, empty cans in a warehouse on the back of your property. But to your point, Joanna, some brewers that were lucky enough to have warehouses — as soon as the pandemic hit and they started being able to understand, “Oh sh*t, like everyone’s going to need cans” — they placed bigger orders to warehouse them again. No moral judgment here. I don’t view this as hoarding. They bought them and tied up a bunch of capital in empty cans. They took a risk, and they’re not doing it to gouge someone on can prices later. They’re doing it just because they don’t want to run a big batch of beer and then, “Holy sh*t, we only have three-quarters the amount of empties that we need. So we have to dump 25 percent of this batch.” That’s why they’re doing it, as a hedge, not as a speculative gouge.

Z: Did you get any sense that some of these intense supply chain issues are going to push back against that trend towards cans? At some point, if you’re a craft brewer, especially on a smaller scale, you might prefer to can a lot of your beverages. Either because you like that model and it gives you access to off-premise accounts or it’s more environmentally friendly. But if the cost of cans is so high or they’re just flat-out inaccessible to you, is there some pushback against that trend just from the logistical headaches that it is at this point? Or are you just seeing people saying, “If we have to charge more, we have to charge more?”

D: Good question. The specter that kind of hangs over this conversation, and it’s important to acknowledge it, former Beer Institute chief economist Michael Eric mentioned it to me in my interview. Basically, the sad reality is we’re going to see a lot of breweries close in 2022. And it’s not going to be because of pandemic lockdowns. It’s going to be because they simply can’t source the inputs. At some point, that business becomes insolvent. No matter how strong your branding is, no matter how much the community loves you or how good your liquid is. You just don’t have a business if you don’t have inputs, and that’s really scary, and it sucks. Zach, that trend will push up again. Brewers will get squeezed, and some of them will fail as a result. I think many more of them will innovate. I’m loath to celebrate the industry as a cheerleader, but one thing that’s important to remember is that craft brewers are a fairly creative sector of a small business. They are agile, and they have an interesting product mix that can be relatively nimble when it needs to be. So I think we’ll see some innovation. What’s funny is that, prior to the pandemic, there were a couple of things happening that made the entire industry basically force them to turn on a dime once the pandemic hit. The energy was very much in favor of on-premise sales. Everyone was moving towards a taproom model to maintain a low overhead. Maybe even doing all of your sales on-premise to avoid even plugging into the set near to the middle tier and trying to get to off-premise sales that way. You capture more margin, obviously, and you have more control of your product. That was one trend. The other was a trend away from glass and towards cans. Away from growlers and towards crowlers. Glass growlers have fallen out of favor. In the back half of the last decade, growlers went from “you live in like a cool neighborhood in Brooklyn, you know about glass growlers and you go to the Whole Foods and you fill up with whatever 64 ounces that you’re interested in.” That went from being a cool totem of the community to being fairly stigmatized by the brewers themselves because they didn’t like the fact that they would be pouring beer into vessels that may not be cleaned properly. They’re a pain in the ass to fill. So if it’s a busy taproom, no one’s stoked to fill a 64-ounce growler. So there were friction points around glass growlers that had people moving more towards crowlers and more towards cans generally. So the pandemic hits. Taprooms shut down entirely, so on-premise is gone. That trend kind of gets blown out of the water. And it’s still, I would say, in a suspended state. No one’s quite sure what’s going to happen with taprooms ongoing. I don’t think that they will have the bellwether position that they did in the craft beer ecosystem prior to the pandemic. You’re also seeing everyone going to cans. Now you’re seeing the downside of that, and everyone is going to start running out of cans. I did a Twitter Spaces discussion last night with a couple of fellow journalists in the beer space, and we had a guy who was a brewer who was like, “I just really want to remind people to, if you can, bring your growlers because that’s better for breweries.” That’s crazy. I mean, you wouldn’t have heard a brewer say that two years ago. Two years ago, it was “Oh, we hate growlers, we don’t want to do growlers anymore.”

A: Especially growlers that are from a brewery that’s not ours.

D: I think that brewers will adapt. I think it’s going to be really gnarly. Ball put out price advisories right before Thanksgiving. Credit to Brewbound‘s Jess Infante — we’re not related — but she’s also a beer journalist and also from northern New Jersey, which is bizarre. But Jess Infante obtained a price sheet that Ball issued to some of its smaller customers that have new guidelines that will go into effect on Jan. 2, 2022. The number of cans in a minimum order that a brewer has to place with Ball is going up fivefold. So before you had to order about 200,000 cans now you have to order a million cans. If you want to make IPA and you want to make a pale ale and you want the labels printed at the factory, which is much cheaper, you have to order a million of each. That’s an insane number. Anyone outside the top 10 craft brewers in this country are not going to realistically be able to confidently go through a million cans in a single SKU in one year. It’s just not realistic. It is effectively a “get lost, we don’t want your business anymore, we don’t need it.” The other thing is, they are jacking up the price on 12-ounce aluminum cans by about 28 percent. So not only do you have to order five times more just to get service by Ball, you also have to pay them 28 percent more per can. When this hits January, three weeks from now, it is going to have a dramatic and immediate effect on the level of panic and chaos that you see in what brewers are putting out. I think we’re going to see a lot more calls for growlers. I think we’re going to see a lot more calls for coming to the taproom and drinking there. Because we can’t effectively move stuff through our system and it’s going to be very difficult.

A: Dave, I know you look mostly into craft beer, but I’m curious if you spent any time looking at imported beers like Belgian. The reason I’m asking about that is because, when anything like this happens, there’s a lot of stuff that’s really annoying. But then you also have a playground for people to do potentially shady sh*t. Someone was saying to me a few nights ago that they were aware of a brand that has a very well-known spirit that people like to gift, and they didn’t have enough in the market. And so they were paying off a shipyard to get their container unloaded first. The brand wasn’t; the distributor was. The distributor was just like, this is where we’ll make all our big sales. Have you heard of that at all? Is that happening? Especially with all these high-end Belgians people also like to gift, I’m wondering if that has been an issue or if you knew about it.

D: I had an importer who I was going to talk to, and we just weren’t able to connect before the piece needed to be filed. But I’m actually going to do a follow-up with him because he had alluded in his emails, not to paying people off, but for this story, I spoke with the head of strategy at an Uber for cargo containers, basically, Cargomatic. They’re one of these startups that looks to make the a la carte-like booking of chassis to move cargo containers a little bit more effectively for people who aren’t doing massive shipping. If you’re moving a small quantity of containers that’s bigger than just a single one, you might contract with a firm like Cargomatic to line up transportation for your containers. Prior to working at Cargomatic, where he’s been for eight years, he was previously working for the Port of Long Beach for about a decade. So you’re talking about a guy who has a very good bird’s eye view of what’s going on at one of the largest ports. I think that’s actually the largest port in the U.S. And his point was very simple. I’m paraphrasing here, but this is in many ways very complicated. But in some ways, it is exactly as simple as you think it is. There are ships coming in, and they can’t get in until other ships come out. Since they can’t clear the containers out, everything’s sitting. The point that he really wanted to drive home to me is that it doesn’t matter what is in those containers. It all comes through the same border. Whether it’s tap handles or it’s new Toyotas or it’s Gameboys or whatever the case, it’s all coming over on the same ships. If your crate full of rare Belgian beer, is on the same boat as a bunch of f*cking lawnmowers, it doesn’t matter. You’re not getting it any faster or slower. To your point, I didn’t come across anything like that. Is it hard for me to believe that someone’s flashing cash around the ports and trying to get better treatment from longshoremen? Yeah, I can definitely believe that.

Z: I can’t believe you would insinuate that anything untoward has ever happened in America’s borders.

D: As a proud Italian-American from New Jersey, this is basically defamation of my own people.

J: I have maybe a stupid question. So the ships aren’t being unloaded because it’s a labor thing, right? There aren’t people to do it?

D: Sort of, yeah. So there’s certainly labor issues, not so much that there’s not labor available more than it’s not available. More that it’s not available when it needs to be or there’s just a lot of unpredictability about when the boats are coming in. There’s too many people one day and not enough people the next day. This is also being compounded by a lack of trucks to move the actual physical containers out of the port property once they’re off the ship. The New York Times did a big piece about the port of Savannah. It’s very complex, but it’s also kind of simple. They literally just can’t move because there’s too many f*cking containers everywhere. So the trucks can’t get in and out. There’s also a lack of truck drivers, again, not necessarily a shortage, but truck drivers aren’t there. The trucking industry is infamously exploitative and predatory in its current form. And truckers are very poorly paid. And so the country actually has an excess of trained commercial drivers. But those trained drivers are not taking those jobs because the trucking firms haven’t raised their wages to reflect the demand in the labor market. So all of those things are compounding, and what it basically comes down to is like, all right, maybe we have enough longshoremen to get the crates off the boat, but they have nowhere to put them because we don’t have enough truckers to take the crates out of the port. And we don’t have enough truckers because the trucking firms won’t raise their wages, but they don’t really have to right now because they’re making as much money as they can, even with the number of trucks that they have on the road because of so much demand elsewhere in the system. It’s a tough problem to overcome. And again, economies of scale apply, no one is worried about craft brewers getting screwed here because you’re talking about major firms like Walmart and Target, and those firms are first in line.

J: It’s interesting, you mentioned the person from Cargomatic, Weston LaBar, in the piece. In the piece he says, “This doesn’t right itself until people stop buying stuff.”

D: When he said that to me, I thought he was going to laugh afterward, and he just didn’t at all.

A: You’ve heard a bunch of people recently say, “Yeah, man, we need a recession.” No, we don’t. But people think that might be the only way that a lot of this gets solved. How are we going to solve the employment crisis and things like that? We need a recession, and it’s just like, sh*t, so we really are going to have to have a correction, and it probably is coming. That’s a scary thing to think about.

D: I don’t think anyone besides maybe central bank economists think about this stuff very clinically. Average rank- and-file American drinkers and small-business craft brewers and people of that nature; no one is rooting for a recession. But LaBar’s point was very similar, in that unless there’s a major downturn, there’s really nothing that’s going to clear the slate and get these boats out of the port. When I talked to him, there were 77 ships off the coast of the Port of Long Beach. So if no more ships ever showed up, it would still have taken a month at the current rate to clear through those 77 ships. There are a dozen new ships showing up every day. I’m sure you guys are seeing the pictures on Instagram or Twitter or whatever. If you’re on a commercial airline and you’re flying near Long Beach, you can see them on the horizon there. It’s dozens and dozens of massive container ships just waiting at anchor to get into the port, and they’ll be there for weeks. It’s a very difficult situation because there’s no easy solution, and the ingredients that are coming in, the inputs that are coming from there, the merchandise that’s coming from there, the things that small brewers need aren’t easily sourced domestically. That’s the other point that is important to keep a frame of reference on. We think of craft beer as a very local product, and it is. I don’t think that’s a lie, I buy that for the most part, that tracks. But even deeply local products are not insulated from the global supply chain. The supply chain is in every minute aspect of our economy, and craft beer is not exempt. We will continue to see it appear in strange ways. Some of them will be predictable, like cardboard and aluminum. Some of these like inputs that we’ve already heard a lot about like barley, because the barley crop was down in North America this past year by about 30 percent. Some would be totally bizarre and unexpected. And brewers are just going to have to continue to roll with the punches. That’s really difficult because they’ve already been doing that for 20 months.

J: We hope that you’ll continue to see how this story evolves and maybe follow up on it on the site, and we’ll have you back on the pod to discuss.

D: No one asked me what I was drinking.

J/A: What are you drinking?

D: All right. I went to a liquor store, and South Carolina has some of the worst spirits taxes in the country. I was picking up Baileys Irish Cream for a holiday thing, and we were going to make spiked hot chocolate. The handle of Baileys Irish Cream is like $64, which is a lot of money, right? It was for the party. So instead, I picked up Saint Brendan’s Irish cream. I didn’t know there was a broad variety of Irish creams on the market. Did you guys?

A: Not at all.

D: I think of it as Baileys. That’s it. So I got a handle of Saint Brendan’s. We used it for the party. The punchline is that, Adam, you’re kind of right. I overestimated how much Irish cream people would drink. People put a splash of it in their hot chocolate. Now, I’ve been finding ways to incorporate Irish cream into various beverages. It’s remarkably versatile as a base.

A: Who knew? Dave, thank you so much. We’ll definitely have you on again sometime soon. Joanna and Zach, I’ll talk to you guys on Friday.

J: See you then.

Z: Sounds great.

Thanks so much for listening to the “VinePair Podcast.” If you love this show as much as we love making it, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show.

Now for the credits. VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and Seattle, Washington, by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit. Also, I would love to give a special shout-out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all of this possible, and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team, who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you again.

Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.

This story is a part of VP Pro, our free platform and newsletter for drinks industry professionals, covering wine, beer, liquor, and beyond. Sign up for VP Pro now!