Happy New Year Tippler Nation! As we kick off another year of fun tippling travels, craft producer stories and engaging content to expand your sipping spectrum I thought it might be nice to get to know each other a bit. So first things first – this is a two-way street! I’m going to tell you all about myself and how I came to be the founder of The Crafty Cask, but I want to get to know all of you as well. So leave a comment here or on Facebook or Instagram and tell me why you’re here, what you’re favorite drink currently is, what drinks you’re curious about and anything else you’d like me to know. Seriously, I’d love to hear from you.
Ok, so for me I’m Suzanne Henricksen…a market researcher and storyteller by trade. Most core to my soul, however, I’m an explorer. I live life with the sole purpose of feeding my curiosity and discovering new experiences…whether that’s through travel or food or alcohol or simply how I choose to spend my free time on weekends. I am obsessed with trying something new, learning something new and sharing what I find and love with others.
You see, from a very young age craft and tradition has always been important to me. My French grandmother meticulously making the most incredible homemade melt-in-your-mouth croissants the very same way her mother made them back in France. Spending an immersive, delicious and inspiring day one-on-one with a multi-generational Parmigiano Reggiano family and then with a longstanding Parma ham family while in Parma, Italy. Convincing my study abroad program to let me, a woman, into an all male gastronomic society so I could truly learn the traditional methods and recipes for the unique Basque foods I was enjoying so much. Venturing to an authentic Sagardotegi in Spain and experiencing the deep traditions of catching cider in your cup straight out of the cask from halfway across the room and eating the same meal of almost still-mooing steak, manchego cheese, marcona almonds and membrillo that they’ve been eating for generations. All while standing among friends new and old on piles of cider and blood soaked wood chips. Sitting under a tiny slice of shade in Zanzibar and drinking homemade banana beer with the locals as they tell you their story. Standing in dark, oak-scented wine cellars all over the world and listening to the winemaker talk about his passion and process and then pulling a sneak-preview taste for me directly from a barrel.
Happy in my Soul
These memories and the many others just like them make me happy in my soul (you can check out my TEDx talk all about this here). It’s as simple as that. Whenever I find myself in these moments…steeped in true craftsmanship and generations of tradition, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. As I grew older and had the opportunity to intern at a winery in Napa I jumped at my chance…a summer of being surrounded by artisans doing what they love? Yes! And it didn’t disappoint. I fell in love with the industry, the people and the traditions. But what did disappoint was the fact that some of my favorite, lesser-known spots were really struggling to stay in business. Some, selling out to larger companies to avoid going under entirely. To be fair…selling out to big booze is a choice – and I respect that choice. What I don’t love is when I see it happening to people as their only option when I truly believe they have amazing products and just not enough, awareness, people or money to tell the world about those products and their story.
As I’ve continued to live in the Bay Area and learn more about this, my passion has grown exponentially. Expanding from wine to all craft spirits, alcohols and libations (and food, let’s be honest. My foodie alter ego is Savory_Girl on Instagram if you’re curious to see what I’m eating when I’m doing all of this drinking!)…and I’ve become slightly obsessed with the artisan, craft side of this world.
Enter, The Crafty Cask
So a while back I decided there should be a place to celebrate the best craft spirits, craft cider, craft beer, craft wine, craft wine and all other craft alcohol producers around the world. A place that’s dedicated to just that…the craft, the history, the unique, lesser known drinks, the innovations taking place and, of course, the incredible people behind it all. We’re committed to helping them succeed by helping all of you discover their stories and their incredible products. This is their story. The story of what’s inside each and every Crafty Cask.
I also felt that this was a great place to support all of you. Those of you who love a good, hand-crafted drink as much as I do and want some help continuing to learn and explore. So while a big part of what I do is shouting all about my favorite producers from The Crafty Cask rooftops in support of them, I’m also dedicated to providing all of you with as much education, entertainment and inspiration in this space as possible. So if you’re currently someone who thinks they hate IPAs…we have some things for you to consider here. Or if you think cider is too sweet and kind of girly, well we are super excited to bust that myth and introduce you to one of your new favorite drinks. And we’re partnering with other great companies to bring you innovative new wine clubs, monthly samples of craft spirits, and more to keep you experimenting and learning right along with us. Which is why it’s so important that I get to know all of you…so I know your likes, perceptions, curiosities and what you want to learn most about while you’re here!
Are you an experience-obsessed, craft and tradition loving soul yourself? If so, I’d love to hear some of your most lasting memories and impressions. And of course I’d love to hear all about you and what you’d love to see here in the future. You never know, your story might give me some inspiration for my own next adventure to be featured here!
Oh, and the picture at the top there? Yeah, I’m a MAsshole through and through, so you’ll have to forgive the occasional swearing and NE sports references 😉