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New drinks podcast helps you ‘drink better, not more’

The Thinking Drinkers, Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, together with BBC Saturday Kitchen wine expert Sam Caporn MW, have released a new drinks podcast entitled ‘It’s The Drink Talking,’ with the aim of helping listeners to ‘drink better, not more’.

It’s The Drink Talking launched on 14 July and aims to be ‘fun, informative, enlightening and educational’. Covering BWS current affairs, social history and inspirational drinks-related figures, the podcast provides guidance with the ultimate goal to encourage listeners to ‘drink better, not more’.

The show is divided into three sections: ‘spit or swallow’, a tasting, and ‘legend of liquor.’ A new episode is released each week on Friday.

In the ‘spit or swallow’ section, one of the hosts discusses something that they like and dislike within the world of drinks. In the first four podcasts, the presenters have ‘spat’ at overdoing theatre in cocktails, blue wine, the banker’s ban on lunchtime beer and the duty on spirits. Meanwhile, they have ‘swallowed’ gin being added to the ONS shopping basket, the transformation of rosé, the science behind beer goggles, and liquor-loving rats.

This is followed by a tasting which to date has included sparkling wines, American IPAs, botanical gins and Chardonnay.

The final section, legend of liquor, pays tribute to a figure in drinks, whether historical or currently working in the business. So far, the hosts have mentioned 12th century nun and home-brewer Hildegard of Bingen; vodka swilling and triple distilling pioneer Peter the Great; wine fraud expert Maureen Downey, and 7ft 4in wrestler André René Roussimoff, also known as André the Giant, who holds the world record for the most bottles of beer drunk in one, six-hour session.

The Thinking Drinkers, otherwise known as Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, are drinks writers and comedy performers that regularly contribute to the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator and the Metro. They are currently performing at the Edinburgh Fringe where they debuted The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol, a comedy show, in 2011.

In their own right, McFarland specialises in beer and is the author of World’s Best Beers: 1,000 Unmissable Brews from Portland to Prague and Boutique Beer: 500 of the World’s Finest Craft Brews. Sandham focuses on spirits and lectures on the subject at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust as well as being the author of several books including World’s Best Cocktails.

Sam Caporn MW passed her Master of Wine qualification in 2011, winning the Bollinger Medal for outstanding achievement in the practical paper while doing so. Under the pseudonym of ‘The Mistress of Wine’, she currently works as a wine consultant, judge, educator and a wine expert on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.

Speaking to the drinks business about trio’s plans for the podcast, Caporn said the aim is “for it to roll so that there are no series as such but one a week.”

“We have recorded 12 so far and once the boys are back from performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, we will carry on recording in September”.

As is so often the case in the drinks industry, Caporn was introduced to both McFarland and Sandham through a friend of a friend. One of their mutual connections produces podcasts at 7 Digital.

Caporn added: “He suggested that the three of us, as we covered all of the main booze bases as experts in our respective fields, would make an entertaining combination to both educate and amuse, taking about beer, wine and spirits”.

“So we met up, recorded a pilot with 7 Digital and pushed ahead!”

When asked what was her ultimate goal for the podcast, Caporn said: “I guess to get a lot of people listening and enjoying learning about alcohol. It’s such a fascinating topic and there is so much to talk about so we want to help people learn about it so they can make better choices, drink better wines, beers and spirits, and as the Thinking Drinkers say, drink less but better”.

As for the intended audience, Caporn suggests that the “core demographic will be those aged between 18 and 50 and commuters or people exercising and chilling out at home”.

The podcast can be accessed here.

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