Whatever you expect to find between the covers of a trade magazine, it’s probably not classical poetry. But in his story about whiskey clubs in this issue, journalist Scott Thomas Anderson quotes Roman poet Horace to capture that special lubricating role alcohol plays in human friendship. “Whom will Venus pick to be judge of the drinking?” asks Horace. “To me it’s sweet to lose my mind ­— my friend is back.”

Horace is talking about sharing wine with a friend after a civil war. But for me, the verse brought to mind those joyful reunions of 2021 after the worst of the lockdowns had passed — reunions that took place, more often than not, over a drink.

Through their products, craft distillers get to be there for their customers’ most memorable life experiences. And when, like many craft producers, you operate at a human scale, you might even participate in them firsthand. Anderson explores that notion from a marketing perspective, but I think it goes deeper than that. I think it’s why most distillers get into the industry in the first place, and it’s certainly part of why I’m so excited to be the new editor of Distiller Magazine.

If my name sounds familiar, it might be because I’ve interviewed you in the past. I’ve been writing about spirits from consumer and trade perspectives for nearly a decade. I’m also married to a craft distiller, which has given me a unique appreciation for distillers’ incredible work ethic, scrappy attitude, fanatical attention to detail, and astounding caloric needs.

The American Distilling Institute has been a part of the craft spirits world for much longer than I have. It’s a privilege to be part of an organization that has played a formative role not just in the individual trajectories of so many distillers working today but the industry as a whole.

It’s daunting to take the helm of a magazine, and doubly so when stepping into shoes that have been so well filled. My goal is that every issue will offer you the chance to learn something new, to be inspired, to stay informed, and to get to know some of the people and businesses that make this industry so unique. As I get situated, I’d love to hear from you. What kinds of stories do you want more of? Less of? Want to meet up for a drink? Tell me what’s on your mind at margarett@distilling.com.


Margarett Waterbury, Editor, Distiller Magazine

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Margarett Waterbury is the editor of Distiller Magazine. Based in Portland, Oregon, she covers drinks, food, and culture for national and international press. She is the former managing editor of Edible Portland, as well as the cofounder and former managing editor of The Whiskey Wash, an award-winning whiskey website twice recognized as Website of the Year by the International Whisky Competition. In 2017, Margarett won the Alan Lodge Young Drinks Writer of the Year award from the Spirits Journal. She received fellowships for the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in 2017 and 2019. Her first book, Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland’s Whiskies (Sterling), came out in 2020.