Telum Talks To… Dannon Har, Managing Editor, Spill

Telum Talks To… Dannon Har, Managing Editor, Spill

Congratulations on launching Spill! Could you tell us how did Spill come about and what you are looking to achieve?
Spill came about because we, the Co-Founders, found the lack of dedicated craft alcohol publications in Asia. There are a number of them in the United States and Australia for instance, but not one in this region. We want to support the burgeoning craft alcohol scene here, and through this publication, we hope to do so. Small, independent producers here are doing so many great things, but too often go unnoticed. We wish to change that.

How does Spill differ from other publications covering alcohol?
Many publications in this region cover the bar scene very well, but not the producers. Several others cover the alcohol beverage producers in general, but not with a craft focus. So, at Spill, we cover everything alcohol-related, both the bars and the producers, with a focus on the small, independent players in Asia. The most interesting thing we are doing, I feel, is that while we are primarily a consumer title, we do cover trade news as well, and are doing so in a way that is interesting to read for a younger audience. We hope to cultivate a new generation of alcohol appreciators and grow the industry this way.

Any challenges or tips you would like to share on launching a new online magazine during a pandemic?
The publishing industry was already having a hard time before COVID-19, and with the pandemic, it only got worse. But for us at Spill, we believe that the craft alcohol scene is one worth supporting, regardless of business viability. As the craft producers grow, we hope to grow with them. The important thing for us is to stay focused on helping get the word out there about the amazing craft alcohol scene happening in our own backyard. 

How has the alcohol industry changed since lockdown and reopening of restaurants?
One thing I've noticed in my coverage is that the industry can be very resilient. Folks who want to, can always find a way to stay viable. I'm seeing many bars opening now with great concepts. Of course, they have to serve food too because of current regulations, but that's been great for consumers. You'll also notice many retailers going online using e-commerce platforms, and to resounding reception from consumers as well.

Do you think there has been a change in attitude among readers in investing in and the enjoyment of alcohol?
The way people drink has definitely changed. Readership of digital content about alcohol has gone up massively, and I think this is because people are drinking more and more at home. So last time, people tended to head to bars and workshops for an experience and to learn more from the bartender. But now, people are educating themselves through resources online, and becoming home bartenders themselves. This is actually a good thing for the industry. Better educated customers are always a good thing.
What are some trends you foresee this year in terms of consumers’ interests in alcohol?
2021 alcohol trends is actually one of the first topics we covered on Spill. Some trends are expected, such as the continued rise in home bartending and e-commerce. But an unexpected rise is the world of non-alcoholic spirits, beers, and wines. Alcohol-free alcoholic beverages were frowned upon, but are now being more and more popular. I think this is primarily because of improvements in the products themselves. This is also in line with the low-alcohol trend.

What are some unique stories or angles you would like to focus on this year for Spill?
We want to tell uniquely human stories first and foremost. And even though we have only just launched, we have had the wonderful opportunity to already showcase folks in the industry that are doing amazing things. We want to continue focusing on that, as well as lay the groundwork of content with evergreen guides and timely news pieces. If you have got a great story to tell, please feel free to reach out!

Can you tell us what was the best drink you have had and what made it special?
This is a tough question to answer. But I'll say that the best drink I've had is the last best drink I've had. The world of alcohol is massive and vast, and I'm always experiencing new things and finding new favourites. Even the time, day, and mood I'm in matters in deciding what's the best drink for me right now. That said, I'm generally a fan of hoppy craft beers, sweet sakes, full-bodied red wines, as well as Old Fashioned’s and Negronis when it comes to cocktails.

If you could be any drink, what would it be and why?
I want to say I get better with age like fine wine, but I'm actually a Mezcal Negroni. Not many people like it, but those who do can't get enough of it.

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