The drinks genre remains somewhat unrepresented in podcasting, despite rising consumer interest in locally made craft beer; gin, whisky and other spirits; and contemporary styles of Australian wine.
Beer loving podcast fans are certainly the best served, with stalwart Radio Brews News this year celebrating its 200th episode. Meanwhile, other Australian beer shows such as Ale Of A Time and Sessionable continue to go from strength to strength.
The Vincast is the benchmark podcast for Aussie wine, but it’s a dry argument otherwise for wine lovers. Spirits fans largely need to look abroad for relevant programs. The WhiskyCast is an American program but has done a fine job of covering whisk(e)y with a global perspective.
It was pleasing to see Glenmorangie dip its toe in the water with the branded Australian podcast, We Are The World We Create. But retailer Dan Murphy’s did not persist with its 2017 experiment, The Drinks Review For Dan Murphy’s podcast. Gourmet Traveller’s Set Menu podcast included episodes on gin, whisky and prosecco, but has not released a new episode since April.
The year 2018 has nevertheless seen the emergence of several new programs worth listening to over the festive season, with a glass of something nice in your hand. Here are some of my favourites.
Halliday Wine Companion Podcast
Wine magazine Halliday this year made its first foray into podcasts with the launch of a six-part exploration of cellaring, the Halliday Wine Companion Podcast. Hosted by editor Amelia Ball, the season kicked off with an aural tour of James Halliday’s private cellar, guided by the legendary critic himself. The discussion takes a somewhat macabre and moving turn as the 79-year-old Halliday admits his line of work regularly forces him to confront his own mortality. “When I’m just doing tasting notes for the Companion, and I find myself writing, ‘this will be an absolutely wonderful wine in ten years’ time and drink to 2034’… then I take a breath and say, ‘well, I’m not going to be around to see it’.” Subsequent episodes featuring leading wine pundits including Campbell Mattinson and Jane Faulkner offer valuable cellaring insights for novices and aficionados alike. Here’s hoping for season two.
The Beer Healer Interviews
Former beer sales representative Chris Lukianenko AKA The Beer Healer continues to amass a solid audience for his articles and videos on his blog, BeerHealer.com. In August 2018 he began podcasting with The Beer Healer Interviews, with each episode consisting of a half hour discussion with a different beer industry personality. His relaxed style of interviews conducted over a beer shows his guests in a different light, with episodes to date featuring Ross Jurisich, co-founder of Stone & Wood Brewing Company; dancer turned beer loving chef Paul Mercurio and Greg Koch, the outspoken founder of San Diego, USA outfit Stone Brewing.
The Brewbound Podcast
Brewbound has long been one of the key industry news authorities for American craft beer. In September it announced a new podcast hosted by editors Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall, which is released every Thursday. The Brewbound Podcast enters a crowded landscape of American beer podcasts, but the publication’s access to top talent such as Dogfish Head Brewing founder Sam Calagione and Brooklyn Brewery owner Eric Ottaway makes it essential listening for brewing industry folk, along with beer drinkers whose enthusiasm runs deep.
The Hospopreneurs Podcast
James Henderson’s The Hospopreneurs is not strictly a drinks podcast, and it actually began in 2017. But the podcast earns a mention in this list after coming to prominence as a 2018 finalist in the Career & Industry category of the Australian Podcast Awards. Drinks-related episodes this year have included some cracking chats with Starward Whisky founder David Vitale, James Irvine of leading Sydney bar group Swillhouse, and Colonial Brewing ambassador Jez Spencer. Henderson meanwhile brings solid insights to the program from his own career working in the Brisbane bar scene.
Sake On Air
We touched on sake in Season One of the Drinks Adventures podcast. If you’d like to dive much, much deeper, check out Sake On Air. Launched in 2018, the show is a bi-weekly exploration into the stories, people, lifestyle, and what’s really happening in the world of sake and shochu. Recorded at the Japanese Sake & Shochu Brewers Association in Tokyo and with sake experts such as John Gauntner making a regular appearance, it’s well worth a listen. Kanpai!
If any of these podcasts have piqued your interest, you may enjoy my own show Drinks Adventures. Listen via the links below and look out for more episodes in the new year.