by Eric Ginsburg

Welcome, to what we hope will be the first of many columns about drinking.

Writing about alcohol doesn’t just sound like fun and seem natural — it’s necessary. There is an exploding brewery scene in the Triad, as evidenced by at least two breweries in the works in Greensboro as well as two relatively recent openings in Winston-Salem. Not to mention the birth of a distillery and another one planned in the Camel City.

Like our paper as a whole, part of the mission of this column will be to chronicle the rise of something new — the growth of an industry and scene — but this column isn’t designed to focus on just a few businesses.

The craft-brew industry isn’t new to the Triad — these companies stand on the shoulders of forerunners including Foothills, Liberty and Natty Greene’s. And the Piedmont is home to a solid number of vineyards, an army of homebrewers and countless high and low-brow drinking establishments.

We’ll be covering production, consumption and everything in between. The bottle shops, bartenders, craft cocktails, festivals, competitions… There’s a dizzying array of angles, and our goal will be to provide coverage on the breadth of what’s out there.

We won’t just be talking about what’s new or hip — this is really a column about people. It’s also about culture and the economy and nightlife. It’s about our cities evolving, transforming and growing.

We’ve been talking about launching this column for awhile, and we realized it’s time. We broke two big stories about beer in the course of a week (that Stone Brewing passed on Greensboro and that another local brewery will open in the Gate City — see page 9). We know that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I will be your guide while we get this rolling, so let me introduce myself. My qualifications include an embarrassing period in college in which I gravitated exclusively to the cheap champagne Andre, but I also took (and passed) a class called the Science of Wine. More importantly, I have already drank in every Triad city this week, and the weekend hasn’t started.

In other words, I intend to talk about drinking the way most of you hopefully do — without too much pretention. The goal is to approach it with an inquisitive spirit and a discerning eye, as a journalist and participant but not a cheerleader.

We expect that sometimes this column will warm you like a Hot Toddy and that at others will burn like a cheap shot. We hope you’re as excited as we are.

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