When the PrimeTime executive team sat down to talk about our 2011 editorial calendar, January presented its usual dilemma. Everyone is thinking about New Year's resolutions, but it's been done by everyone, including us. We try to encourage our readers to live life to the fullest every month, not just when it's a go-to topic.
Scratching our heads, we thought of other traditions that many people use to ring in the New Year. The one that kept coming up was the annual New Year's toast.
And thus, we present "the booze issue."
Now, before you get all high and mighty on us and scoff at our juvenile theme, let us point out that this isn't a niche industry. Americans spend more than $90 billion on alcohol each year. Lumping all consumption figures together, the average person consumes around 25 gallons of beer, two gallons of wine and 1.5 gallons of distilled spirits annually.
That's a lot of booze.
Some people take it to a whole new level. Elliott Fishbein is the owner of Town Wine and Spirits in Rumford, and over the years has developed a reputation as being one of the country's largest retailers of single malt scotch. It's not a particularly popular drink, but for the people who rank it at the top, it's an art. Elliott walked us through the store, pointing out his favorite bottles and explaining the distilling process, and then snuck into the back with a mischievous grin on his face.
He emerged with a bottle that was not unlike the others. I wondered what made it so special.
It's the price tag. The bottle sells for $10,000 and Fishbein had already sold six!
On the other end of the spectrum, Susan Samson, who owns Sakonnet Vineyards with her husband, believes that wine should be a more accessible drink. It has a reputation for being uppity, and it's one that she thinks is undeserved. "I drink wine with hot dogs," she says, sipping the Vidal that is made on the premises.
Another wine buff featured in this issue is Vincenzo Iemma, the owner of popular Providence restaurant Capriccio. His immigrant roots make the restaurant a true American success story.
If you're not into wine or the hard stuff, check out our list of some of the best beer joints in the state. The Ocean State has a surprising number of craft beer bars, and you can find out how to get to 10 of them this month.
We also paid a visit to Newport Storm, our hometown beer guys. Rather than focus on the brews that made them famous here in Rhode Island, though, we talked about a relatively new endeavor for them - rum. They make it the old school way, and we highly recommend paying a visit to their Newport distillery, which is open daily for tours.
We know that alcohol addiction is a serious issue, so amidst our fun toasting different Rhode Island haunts, we made sure to check in with the folks at AA to be sure we're not taking good care of ourselves.
If you've had your fill of spirits, don't miss Don Fowler's breakdown of theater in 2011 in this month's installment of That's Entertainment, or head down a new direction in Rhode Island history with Don D'Amato.
No matter what your resolution is this New Year, or how you plan to celebrate, be sure to have a drink for us and toast to a healthy, happy 2011!
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, our February issue will have a lot of heart, as we focus on relationships of all shapes and sizes.