Monthly Archives: July 2011

Ten thousand fists

Disturbed is a band I’ve been aware of for a long time, since they hit in the late 90’s really. I liked some of their songs and knew of their bigger hits but didn’t have any of their albums nor had I seen them live. I really didn’t know a great deal about them until in April I got an email from the touring company that was bringing them out to Australia requesting if they could come out to the winery and take a tour and try our wines. The guys from the touring company knew I was a big metal fan so they thought it would be cool for all concerned. Through several emails and phone calls with the band’s manager I met up with David Draiman and Dan Donegan, plus David’s fiancee and others for a lunch at a local restaurant and we then went on to the winery for tastings. David is real wine lover and also quite a foodie from what I could gather and the band obviously enjoyed seeing what the place they were touring in had to offer. The guys very kindly invited me to come to the show the next night and hang out, which I definitely said yes to.

I arrived at the arena a little earlier than the band, but was warmly welcomed by Jason their head of security who’d also come out to the winery the day before. I had full access to the arena and just hung out and watched the support bands. On a side note, the main support act was Trivium who I’ve been a big fan of since their Crusade album and I was really stoked to meet Corey and Mat and have a quick chat. Mat has a great food blog as well, it’s worth checking out.

Disturbed put on a great show, lots of pyro, lots of energy, the crowd was really into it and the band sounded great live. Here is a pretty good quality video from the show that also happens to be my favourite Disturbed song.

Afterwards I got to hang out with the guys in the dressing room area, drink some wine and hear some road stories. I’m not certain why but I had decided to bring along a couple of bottles of one of my home-brewed beers as well as some wine. Dan was particularly curious about it and even though it’s a good beer, one that I was pretty proud of, I was a little sheepish for him to try it. He polished off both bottles and loved it! The beer itself was a pretty simple English style summer ale, brewed with all Maris Otter malt and Kent Goldings hops and he kept giving it to everyone to try and told me several times how much he liked it. Imagine my surprise when a couple of weeks later I get a text message from Dan, saying he wants to get in touch and talk about doing something with the beer. He was so impressed by it that he is keen to work together on producing and releasing a beer sometime in the future. It still blows my mind to think about that, I’m this unknown guy from the Barossa Valley, not a professional brewer, but I guess I’m smart enough to say “Yeah, sure we can do that, it’ll be awesome!”. On reflection I guess my passion for it and my knowledge gained from the wine industry came across to Dan and to be quite honest he was the one guy of all the band that I felt an instant connection to. Sometimes you just meet people and you know that person will be a friend for life.

So, watch this space. I predict exciting and big things to come from this, hopefully in the not to distant future. If you have any suggestions or ideas for a beer that would best represent Disturbed or if you think you have the perfect name for the beer please let me know in the comment section.


Don’t mention Slayer on the first date

Getting a product to market is quite a difficult process really, everybody thinks that once you have made your new product that creating interest and then getting it to those people is easy. Throughout the creation process we have gone through with our Slayer wine, foremost in my mind was not branding or actually having the wine made, that to me was the easy part relatively speaking. The biggest challenge is in actually getting a wine made in Australia to Europe and the USA and then making that wine available so people will hopefully buy it. America is a great place, home to some of my favourite bands but they do make it rather difficult to distribute alcoholic beverages. Wine cannot be sold directly to consumers, there is the three tier system that is in place to allow for control of alcoholic beverage sales. Our business model is based on selling direct to the consumer, which in Australia is a straight forward process but requires a bit of outside the box thinking in the USA. Enter wine fulfilment companies. They allow wine producers and retailers to get their products to end consumers through mail order or online sales.

Just like on a first date where you don’t want your date to think your the guy in this video, I’ve discovered that mentiong the band on first contact produces some interesting results. Over the past few weeks I have been sending emails to several companies that seem to offer the services we require and I have had mixed results. I’ve been listening to metal for so long, going to shows and now that I’ve met a number of my metal heroes it is just “normal” to me. I sometimes forget that there is a good possibility that not everyone else thinks the same way and that some people may have a rather negative view toward this band and indeed heavy metal and rock music and its so called evil lyrics and imagery. I’m still surprised when people I know have never heard of Slayer, that it is so far outside their own experiences that they truly have no comprehension of what they are or represent. It should be no real suprise to me then that some companies will look at our project as crazy and want nothing to do with it, but I think the smart ones, the right ones will recognise the opportunity as we do. It is just another aspect of this whole journey that makes it fascinating and exciting.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks because hopefully I will have an new company logo to show everyone or at least a good prototype. i’ll be posting it and I encourage everyone to give their feedback and opinions. Till then, stay metal and horns up!

Luke

Chief Distortion Officer


Stone brewing collaboration for Japanese tsunami victims

The New School Brew blogspot has reported on Stone Brewings latest collaboration, this time in support of victims of the Japanese Tsunami. Stone has long been one of my favourite US craft brewers, ever since I got my first taste of Arrogant Bastard. They have done many collaborations over the past few years with small like-minded brewers across the globe, but this particular collaboration is close to my heart. Having lived in Japan for just over three years it is like my second home and with my wife also being Japanese the devastating tsunami affected us greatly. If you can drink a great beer and also aid in helping people recover from disaster then that is what I call a win win.

Escondido, CA | July 11, 2011 Stone Brewing Co. is proud to announce the release of its latest collaboration beer, Baird / Ishii / Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA, hitting shelves today.
Toshi Ishii—former Stone Brewing intern cum brewer (’98-’01) and now owner of Ishii Brewing Co. in Guam—got in touch with Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele shortly after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster with a proposal to make a beer that could help with recovery efforts. Bryan Baird of Baird Brewing Company in Numazu, Japan was brought on board and ideas were soon flying.
“We wanted the beer to have a Japanese spirit, so we decided early on that we would be using green tea in the recipe,” explains Baird.
“We decided to brew an IPA to accentuate the tea’s herbal character,” adds Steele. “But this won’t be the typical, citrusy West Coast IPA flavor. We’re using Sorachi Ace, a variety of hops originally developed in Japan, as well as Pacifica, Crystal, Warrior, and Aramis, a brand new cultivar from the Alsace region of France.”
All proceeds (minimum $50,000) will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society. “We hope that Japan and its people will bounce back from the tsunami tragedy stronger than ever!” exclaims Ishii.
“A collaboration beer like this is a great way to demonstrate to Japan that they’re not alone,” Baird asserts. “They have friends, supporters, and empathizers all around the world.”

Slayer and Metallica Sonisphere 2011 Review

Check out this great review for the mighty Slayer and Metallica at Knebworth this past weekend. If you were there leave a comment and let us know what it was like.

http://www.metalhammer.co.uk/news/sonisphere-review-2011-metallica-and-slayer/


Some history is required Part 2

Slayer and Megadeth were touring together in October of 2009, it was the must see show for any self-respecting metalhead. However, the day of the show I hear that Tom Araya has voice problems and that Slayer won’t be playing, this is confirmed at the venue, so we get a local metal band and an extended Megadeth set, which I still really enjoyed. The next day at work this guy comes into our tasting room, turns out it’s Slayer’s manager, Rick Sales. We get talking I show him around, talk about the show and the bands he manages, he has a good time and leaves. A few weeks later I get a package from him with some CD’s and t-shirts and I think what a great guy! Fast forward almost a year and Rick comes back to Adelaide with Bullet For My Valentine, we catch up again at their show, hang out, have some drinks and are fast becoming friends. Closer to Christmas of 2010 Rick calls me and he has this idea of making a Slayer wine, he wants to know if it can be done and would I help him out in putting it together. Of course I say yes, we talk for a while and I suggest that we can do a lot more than just a one-off vanity product for one of the greatest metal bands in history.

This, right here, is the start.

From there as time goes on over a few months and we talk more exchange emails and information we start to form this concept of what I call Distorted Beverages. But, there is another side of this story. Whilst all the preceding events are going on over an 18 month period, I’m fast becoming very into home brewing and craft beer. I’ve won a few awards at local, state and even a national second place for the beer I’ve made and I’m dreaming of a way to tie together my experience in the wine industry and new passion for good, craft beer and my love of all things heavy metal.

Where this all ties together is Soundwaves festival in March 2011. Rick arrange passes for my friends Christian and I and we take down some good wine and a also a few bottles of my home-brew, which I had made specially for BFMV and Slayer. The lads from Bullet really like the beer and are dead excited about the possibility of having their own brand of beer, I also meet Rob Zombie and all his band, a great guy, very approachable. His manager Andy Gould is a close friend of Rick’s and he introduces me to Rob and we talk about the Slayer wine concept and expresses interest as well, I suggest beer too, and he says “Yeah, definitely. That would work!” It is really at this point that I start to realise that my dream has a very real chance of actually coming together.

This brings us to the present day….. almost. There is the Disturbed angle which I’ll go over next time, oh and I met Metallica.


Some history is required

To get a good handle on what this blog is about it is important that I provide some backgorund to my new venture. I’ve been involved in the wine industry since 1996 in both Tasmania and South Australia and for the last 6 years in the Barossa Valley. Over the past 3-4 years I have also been an active homebrewer and craft beer lover. I have reviewed over 340 beers at ratebeer.com and enjoyed countless great wines from around Australia and the world. When I was a teenager, around 14-15 I discovered Guns N Roses, this changed my life forever. Suddenly music evoked a lot of emotion in me and I found that I could turn to music to find solace in my teenage angst.

From then on it was a constant rollercoaster of musical discovery, I found bands like REM and Aerosmith then the heavier bands like Metallica and Pantera.It was also at this time that Grunge really took off and I fell in love with Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. Grunge was my new musical taste and I couldn’t get enough of it. However, my heavier side never went away and I was discovering Slayer, Machine Head and others at the same time. Fast forward about 10 years from then andn I was attending every metals show that was touring Adelaide; from Mastodon and Slayer to Machine Head, Trivium, Slipknot and Arch Enemy. One day whilst working at Rockford Wines in the Barossa Valley I met a guy who changed everything.

To be continued…..


Introduce yourself, right on….

As the great Faith No More said, Introduce Yourself! This blog will cover my thoughts, experiences, trials and triumphs as I set out on my new venture into the world of business; allow me to introduce, Distorted Beverages. Distorted Beverages is my new company that will create loud wine and beer products with attitude for the hard rock/metal fan. This is an idea that I have had kicking around for sometime and now I have the right people and the motivation and excitement to create this company. My aim is to have our products available around the globe to horn raising metalheads everywhere, create a new and fun brand and most importantly a community of individuals whose common purpose is the love and passion for loud, heavy music and good beer and wine.

Through the course of this blog I will share my experiences, write about beers I’m drinking, wine that excites me, what I’m listening too and most importantly I will share each step of the creation and growth of Distorted Beverages. Strap yourself in for the ride, let me know your thoughts and opinions and let’s start this journey together!

 

Luke

Chief Distortion Officer


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