Non-Alcoholic Spirits: Why Not Whisky?

Posted by Julie Niesen on Jan 25, 2023 at 8:20 PM

NA Whiskeys

It’s been six months since I’ve had real whiskey.

Maybe my palate has changed– but the NA spirits being introduced today are shockingly good. None of them quite duplicate bourbon (okay, maybe my palate is just right) but if you’re looking for a substitute, there are some pretty decent options. I’ve recently tried three different “whiskies”, from three different “distillers”.

A quick warning about all NA spirits: they are not meant to be consumed neat. Not a one of them. I assure you, you will not like the results. They are all intended to be mixed either with other NA spirits, as a part of a cocktail, or with mixers.

Lyre American Malt: Made in the UK, this is my favorite of the NA whiskies I’ve tried. It comes in two different forms: a premix (with cola) and “straight”. Admittedly I had some issues getting the “straight” bottle here – their shipping for small quantities is not well padded, so it took three tries to actually get me a bottle that hadn’t shattered either from shipping or from the subzero temperatures we had in December. The flavor on this is a Tennessee whiskey: a little sweet, lots of caramel notes. With a diet Coke (my preferred mixer), it almost feels like I’m drinking the real thing. When made into a Manhattan, my favorite cocktail, it’s not bad – not quite the same as a real Manhattan, but the flavor is right. The issue with using these in cocktails is that you have to use quite a bit more: I’m no scientist, but having the alcohol in an actual cocktail controls the rate the ice melts, and shaking or stirring a cocktail with NA spirits can very easily get watered down. Mixed with ginger ale or a coke, though? Fantastic.

Undone Not Whisky: If you’ve ever wondered what liquid smoke would taste like in a drink, just try Undone. The Germans, while good at dealcoholized wine and creating some great NA beers, seem to slip a little bit in whiskies. The bottle says "This is not whiskey." The warning is not needed: you won't mistake it for your favorite bourbon or scotch. Flavor-wise, I think they were attempting a blended Scotch, but fell pretty short: mixed with a diet Coke, it tastes like.. Barbecue diet Coke? This is a thing that should not exist, and I say that as someone who likes barbecue anything and can also opine at length on why McDonald’s diet Coke is the superior form of diet Coke. Needless to say, I did not try this in a Manhattan because of the heavy, smoky flavor. This might be nice in something like an old fashioned, where the smokiness can be cut with orange peel. And yes, the bottle is mostly gone because I really kept trying to like it.

Ritual Zero Proof Whisky: Ritual is the NA spirit that gets a lot of press– they were one of the first, and they also make a tequila, a rum, and a gin. This one is smack in the middle, flavor-wise: not as sweet as the Lyre and nowhere near as smoky as the Undone. Since it’s a little more balanced, lends itself well to cocktails, but the flavor isn’t really memorable on its own.

Honestly, all of the NA spirits I’ve tried so far are less than ideal if you’re trying to make a drink that is traditionally spirit-forward: think of them as more of a flavoring instead of a feature. Don’t worry: I’ll come back with some ways to use NA spirits as a flavoring in a future column.

For now: if you miss whiskey, go for Lyre’s American Malt. Just try to pick it up at your local bottle shop – at least until they have small package shipping worked out.

What We're Drinking Right Now (Jan. 20, 2023 edition)

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 20, 2023 at 3:10 PM

Once a week (or so), we post a beverage (or two) that we are enjoying right now. These aren't be long reviews analyzing the drinks, just what it is and a sentence or two about why it's our go-to right now. We may even talk about the foods that pair well with those beverages. You never know!

[This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.]

Carla and Tom - We went old school this week. Some times, a diet Cuba Libre just hits the spot. With a tip of the hat to Carla's post earlier this week, this drink comes in at only 2.5 carbs. Our version calls for caffeine-free Diet Coke, 1/3 ounce of lime juice, and 1.5 ounces of Myers's Original Dark Rum.

JR - Stone Ruination IPA. It's not exactly local, but it's one of the first double IPAs I ever tried, and it made me a little sad when they stopped making it regularly. They brought it back for a limited time only, and I was not about to miss the chance to catch up with an old, seriously hoppy friend.

Julie - Ghia soda is a take on an aperitif— notes of lemon balm, rosemary, orange peel and gentian for bitterness. It comes in aperitif that you can use as a mix, or premixed in cans.

Ghia soda

Michelle - Currently in an amazing bar in NYC where Ludwig Bemelman did all the art on the walls (author of the children’s Madeleine books).
I ordered a vesper and it literally came with a spare.

Vesper cocktail
Madeline mural from Bemelmans Bar
Dachshund detail in mural from Bemelmans Bar

Monika - For fun, what I'm drinking now is this exotic beer I found at a local hibachi grill.

Ice cream options listed under Domestic Beer

Beer and Being Diabetic

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 18, 2023 at 4:25 PM

I remember parts of the phone call vividly. “We got your test results. You’re diabetic.” I managed to let the medical assistant from my doctor’s office know that I appreciated her calling and I would discuss it more with the doctor at my appointment. I said good-bye and hung up. Then I sat there for a bit and then I told Tom. “My A1C is 7 and I’m officially diabetic.”

I said “officially diabetic” because I had been pre-diabetic for years. My A1C had been hovering in the 6.3-6.5 range for so long that I thought that was just where it was going to be. If you keep doing the same things, you’re going to get the same results, right? (Waves hands in the air, trying to shoo away reality... which doesn't work either.)

This was Tuesday and my doctor's appointment wasn't until Monday so I did what any former academic would do: I threw myself into research. I started with the Mayo Clinic website for a quick overview of treatment possibilities and to refresh my memory on the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (I'm Type 2). Then it was on to the American Diabetes Association website for a deep dive.

Eventually, with my doctor's guidance, I decided to both take the medication she prescribed plus count my carbs. I'm luckily enough to have a close friend who is a dietitian who specializes in diabetes patients (Hi, CJ!). She suggested that I aim for 45 carbs per meal. That was different for me. As a long time dieter, I was used to having so many calories per day. But it made sense. You want your glucose levels to be stable without huge peaks or valleys. That means moderating your carb intake throughout the day.

As luck would have it, my diabetes diagnosis came just a few weeks before I was scheduled to speak on a International Women's Day panel at Yellow Spring Brewery. Crap! Was I going to be able to drink any beer? Their Captain Stardust is one of my favorites and I knew it would be hard to resist.

Back into the research I went. This time, it helped that I am a ServSafe Alcohol instructor and taught classes on the effects of alcohol on the body.

First of all, it is important to remember what a "drink" is considered. It can be one and a half ounces (or a jigger) of 80-proof spirits, five ounces of most wines, or 12-ounces of your standard macro beer (about 3-4 ABV). But, even though those three are considered the same alcohol wise, they are very different in carbs.

Spirits = 0 grams of carbs, wine = 3-5 grams, beer = 11 grams

That doesn't seem too bad, but if you're reading this and consider yourself a Hoperative, you are probably not drinking a standard macro beer. Consider the number of carbs in some of your favorite non-macro beers:

Grams of carbs in popular beers

It's important to remember that these numbers are for 12 ounces. Depending on the style and ABV, the glass you may be served that beer in could be larger or smaller than that. A pint glass in the US holds 16 ounces and an imperial pints holds 20.

The American Diabetes Association points out that alcohol (especially when consumed while taking certain medications for diabetes) can increase your risk of hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar).

Blame it on your liver. This organ stabilizes glucose levels by storing carbohydrates and releasing them into the bloodstream between meals and overnight. It’s also the body’s detoxification center, breaking down toxins like alcohol so the kidneys can easily flush them away.
Trouble is, it’s not great at multitasking. Your liver will choose to metabolize the alcohol over maintaining your blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia. The liver often makes this choice when you drink without eating food—so consider snacking while you sip.

By the way, contrary to popular belief, foods high in carbs are not the best at slowing the absorption of alcohol. Instead, choose foods that are high in protein and fats like cheese. And as we like to point out, alternate a glass of water with any alcoholic beverage. Keeping hydrated is always a good thing.

You can enjoy beer (and other types of alcohol) as a diabetic. You just need to count your carbs and decide which carbs are worth counting. For me, I’d much rather have one truly great beer than numerous bottles of a low carb, low flavor one.

Cheers and here’s to better beer (even if you’re diabetic)!

The Best Part of Waking Up

Posted by JR on Jan 11, 2023 at 9:00 AM

They say the path to Hell is paved with personalized Instagram ads.

Wait, no, it's "good intentions," isn't it? I always get those two things mixed up.

Don't get me wrong though, in general, I 100% do believe that personalized ads on social media are effectively the opening of the rabbit hole that's sooner or later going to lead the Alice in all of us down into a dark, corporately-controlled, advertising Wonderland. But that's a rant for another time (and probably a whole other place).

Rail as I might about personalized ad content though, I have to admit that it's popular with the people who sell stuff because, well, it genuinely sells stuff. Case in point, I give you Crio Bru, a company that produces several versions of roasted ground cacao that you brew and drink just like coffee.

A few months ago, I was mindlessly scrolling my photo feed (or Shorts or Stories or Reels or whatever the kids call them) in the never-ending search for pictures of smoked meats and/or whatever Cincinnati Bengals content I could find when I saw an ad for Crio Bru, and I was immediately intrigued. For years now, I've been into trying to find the perfect expression of coffee for me. I've coarsely ground, finely ground, dripped, French Press-ed, Chemex'd, and cold brewed some of the tastiest coffee beans I could get my hands on, but I never really found the brew that sang to me. In fact, for the past year or so I've mostly been drinking cold brew almost exclusively, because the flavor is less sharp and, to my palate, generally offers more subtle, dark notes of chocolate in the brew. That's important, because over time I've come to realize what I really want is more chocolate flavor, good chocolate flavor. Distinct, dark chocolate flavors.

So when the Holidays began to peek at us around the calendar this year, and my wife asked me the annual dread question, "What do you want for Christmas?" I was excited to have a suggestion. Usually I shrug at her in reply, because the things I want are either expensive enough that I'm waiting for the Powerball to hit $2 Billion again or it's a $10 spherical ice mold I can order at my leisure with two-day shipping.

Yeah, I'm that guy when it comes to gifts, but let's put a pin in that for now. We can dissect my personal failings later.

Anyway, sometime over the fall I sent her a link to a Crio Bru starter pack and forgot all about. Luckily, she did not, and this year there was a box of ground cacao samples packs gift wrapped just for me under the Christmas tree.

Crio Bru brewed cacao

Now, before anyone cocks their head, wags a finger, and clucks, "My guy, you're making hot cocoa," let me assure you that this is not Swiss Miss. There's no sugar, no tiny processed dehydrated "marshmallows", and you can't just mix two teaspoons of this stuff into a mug of water and stir rapidly. What comes in the little bags is pure ground cacao beans (which may or may not officially be nibs, but the roughly 17 seconds of online research I put into the question failed to provide a definitive answer) which, like coffee beans, have been roasted to one of several familiar degrees: light, medium, dark, and French. The lighter roasts tend to be sweeter and slightly floral, while the darker get more earthy and toasty.

There is one potential downside to this stuff, though, if you're used to getting a daily jolt from your java. Brewed cacao is effectively caffeine free (99.9%).

Hey, where are you going? Wait, wait! Just hear me out!

So, yeah, it's basically caffeine free, but it's packed instead with theobromine, a molecular compound from the same family as caffeine. Both are stimulants, but theobromine gives a milder boost without the potential for the jitters or the bouncing-off-the-walls-I-can-smell-purple effect its cousin can deliver. Cacao is also considered a "superfood" and comes with a whole host of health benefits, including the potential to reduce blood pressure (try that caffeine), improve insulin sensitivity, and even enhance one's mood. There's not much to feel guilty about with this stuff, except maybe not sharing it.

Opening the bag and inhaling for the first time reminded me of cracking the wrapper on a bar of 70% dark chocolate. And while I'll admit that brewing does require a little more patience than I'm used to compared to coffee (I love it in my French Press), the resulting elixir is exactly what I've always wanted from coffee but could never previously find, an adult dark chocolate brew.

I still can't believe it came from an Instagram ad. Next thing you know someone will be demanding I admit that maybe, possibly, targeted personalized ads aren't always the Devil's work.

Maybe I'll brew another cup of cacao and think about it.

-- JR

What We’re Drinking Right Now (Jan. 6, 2023 edition)

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 06, 2023 at 2:19 PM

Once a week (or so), we post a beverage (or two) that we are enjoying right now. These aren't be long reviews analyzing the drinks, just what it is and a sentence or two about why it's our go-to right now. We may even talk about the foods that pair well with those beverages. You never know!

[This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.]

Carla - The last few years, we’ve really gotten into coffee. During the pandemic,lan Happ (former UC Bearcat drafted by the Cubs) created a coffee blend with Connect Roasters in one of the suburbs of Chicago. Part of the money goes to area food banks. Since then, they've done a Lockout blend that supported the players' fund during the lockout, an All Star blend in celebration of lan making the AS team, and a Gold Glove blend for his latest honor. Plus a custom Chemex.

Ian Happ signed Chemex

Chris - I am currently exploring the exciting world of the MobCraft Advent Beer Box my sister gave to me. I am clearly not on schedule since I have only drank about 9 of the 24 beers and it is January 5th but have been pleasantly surprised by most of the beers in the variety pack. My favorite so far is probably the Vanilla Wafer Porter.

Mobcraft Advent Calendar beers

Jared - So far during my planned dry/damp January, I'm enjoing Twinings Orange and Cinnamon Spice herbal tea and LaCroix Mure Pepino (plum cucumber).

Twinings Orange-Cinnamon Spice Herbal Tea and LaCroix Mure Pepino

JR - In the lamest, most half-assed fractional Dry January attempt ever, I'm not drinking beer at home this month (and possibly longer, but we'll see). It's bourbon for me now, either neat or on a ball of ice and with a splash of soda (I heart my SodaStream). I made my first (delightful!) Manhattan over the weekend and have grown up barware on order, so we'll see what kind of cocktail shenanigans I get up to in the coming month. The other exciting thing I've been drinking is brewed cacao instead of coffee, and I think this could be a permanent switch for me.

Julie - I picked up some Lyre’s Dark Cane and made a Dark & Stormy – they also sell this as a premix. I prefer diet Gosling’s (the premix is too sweet for me). This is darn close to an actual Dark & Stormy– Lyre’s does a great job with these spirits.

Lyre's Dark and Stormy

Monika - I'm drinking Bota Box Breeze Pinot Grigio - it's my go-to during the week so that I can have a glass (or two) of wine while binging some HGTV show to get inspiration for our upcoming reno, but can't afford a headache in the morning.

Tom - I'm coding a website (this one!) so I'm drinking anything I can get my hands on at the end of the day.

2023: (Not Just) Dry January

Posted by Julie Niesen on Jan 04, 2023 at 7:09 PM

Happy 2023!

If you’re someone who’s doing a Dry January– you’ve come to the right place.

Yes, I know this is Hoperatives.

Yes, I know we focus on better beer.

But in 2023, those of us who are sober, sober-curious, reducing our alcohol consumption or just want to have some other options? Well, we finally have them.

The last time I went dry was in 2017. And honestly, there just weren’t many options, and the ones we had were pretty bad: sparkling cider tastes nothing like Champagne. Mocktails were mostly sour mix and Sprite. O’Doul’s: well, let’s just not talk about it.

Now, the options are endless. Fewer Americans drink: in 2021, 60% of those 21 and up reported to Gallup that they drink, down from 65% in 2019. According to NielsenIQ, in 2022, non-alcoholic beverages (including beer, wine, and spirits) sales increased 20.6% and alcoholic beverage sales went down 6.7%. Craft beer sales have gone down 7.2% but hop water– often produced by craft breweries– was up 43%.

This isn’t just because people are going completely dry: 78% of non-alcoholic beverage buyers also bought alcoholic beverages. There is a move toward more moderation and healthier beverages– without sacrificing flavor.

Most telling, to me, was sitting at a local bar and music venue one nice summer evening. Of the eight or so people I was with, only one of them was drinking alcohol. The rest were drinking soda or one of a couple of varieties of Athletic non-alcoholic beer– including a beer rep!

I stopped drinking on July 16, 2023– I’ve almost hit six months without drinking alcohol. The first couple of weeks were hard– some of my favorite places are bars!-- but it’s gradually become easier. It’s helpful that my partner and I are doing it together, and that we both like to discover new non-alcoholic beverages, too.

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past few months:

  • No one really cares that you’re not drinking. Seriously. We actually were mildly concerned that our favorite bartenders would be disappointed that we weren’t spending on alcohol like we used to. Our friends definitely don't care, and many of them have told us that they are also cutting back or don't drink.
  • When they do care, it’s usually because they’re sober or sober curious themselves. The number of times we’ve had people say “Oh, I’m taking a break too!” or “Oh, I drink a lot of NA stuff!” was a pleasant surprise. And people who are drinking craft NA beverages remind me a little bit of craft beer people when the movement first started: willing to share tastes of NA drinks and share tips on where to get them. I thought it would be hard, being someone who socializes a lot in the restaurant and bar industry, but I know so many sober chefs and bartenders, which I think is driving part of the surge of NA options. Even Grant Achatz has an entire book dedicated to the NA cocktail program at Aviary.
  • If you’re out and about, ask if a restaurant or bar has NA beverages. Sure, sometimes you’ll be stuck with club soda, but the more businesses hear that there’s a demand, the more they’ll be likely to carry NA beverages. Or, you might be surprised– we’ve had many bartenders make us impromptu mocktails (that were imaginative and delicious!) and several places had NA beverages that hadn’t made it to the menu yet. Just on New Year’s Eve, we went to dinner and didn’t see anything NA– so we asked. Turns out they’d just brought in some Athletic, and the owner was recently sober, so they had Einz Zwei Zero NA sparkling wine. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.
  • One day at a time. I am not in any formal program, and I don’t know if I will continue to be completely sober (I haven’t found a great NA red wine to pair with cheese, which is what I really miss). And that’s okay! It doesn’t always need to be either/or. At first, I just wanted to see how long I could go, and I said oh– I’ll definitely drink on Thanksgiving. I didn’t. Christmas? Nah. New Year’s Eve? I was too excited about the NA spirit’s I’d purchased and wanted to experiment. If you try to do Dry January and end up having a drink? It’s okay. Start over the next day.

The stories you’ll see from me at Hoperatives will focus on craft, non-alcoholic beverages– everything from NA spirits, to dealcoholized wine, to craft beer. It’s an exciting time in the industry to try them!

If you have suggestions on some great NA beverages to try, email me at

Hoperatives: the 2023 Edition

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Jan 01, 2023 at 12:00 AM

Exactly fourteen years ago, a brand new bouncing baby blog was born. And though there was a test post before it, that was indeed the title of the first post on Hoperatives. It started like this:

Welcome to Hoperatives, a place for believers in better beer. What's better beer? It's not just the beer you like, it's the beer you love. It's the beer you'll search for far and wide, the one you'll drive long distances to sample and buy, the one you'll hoard for yourself or grudgingly share, but only with friends who get it. That's what this site is about. It's about the beer, the places that make the beer, the places that sell the beer, and the places that serve the beer. Most importantly, it's about the people. The people who make the beer, and the people who love the beer.

Hoperatives v1.0
Hoperatives design 1.0

So much has changed in those thirteen years. Things that we were told would never happen actually did (like Samuel Adams opening a tap room in Cincinnati). Things that we thought were going to be flash in the pans took hold (good on you, Hanson Brothers Beer Company, and your Mmmhops IPA). And things that would get better often took one step forward and two steps back every year (like the relationship between women and beer plus the need for diversity in the brewing industry).

I vividly remember the day we decided to stop publishing Hoperatives. It was June of 2021, and we were driving home from a night at the BrewDog Hotel after attending the quarterly meeting of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. Tom had been approached about a new job, and that possibility made us spend the time driving back, assessing what we were both doing with our lives at the time.

As we discussed the pros and cons of Tom taking the job, I finally said out loud what I had been thinking about for several months: it was time to shut down Hoperatives. It just didn’t make sense to have a blog when we weren’t creating content for it. And I just didn’t have to energy to scour Facebook and websites for beer events anymore. With the boom of breweries and better beer locations, it wasn’t as simple or easy as it had once been. And, more importantly, it was no longer fun. And so one day in the summer of 2021, Tom put the website into "maintenance mode," sort of a zombie state where there's only one page that said ‘thanks and goodbye.’ He said it made him feel like he shot Old Yeller.

You see, that was the thing that kept Hoperatives going those first ten years or so. It was fun! We went to better beer locations that enthralled us. We had beers that we would dream about later. And we met people who became dear friends. And many of those friends became contributors to Hoperatives or stronger supporters of the work we were doing.

Alas, to paraphrase the old saying, for every hill, there is a valley. As we got older, so did our bodies. Health issues meant changing our beer intake. We also moved my dad to NKY in the fall of 2017, and we were busy helping him as best we could. And there was the pandemic which had an impact on everyone, but especially the hospitality industries like brewing.

We started to reassess our decision to shut down Hoperatives in late 2022. Since 2015, we’ve been involved in the U.S. Open Beer Championships, and this past year, we took over the US Open College Beer Championship portion of the organization. On a beautiful October day, we met with Aaron Ross of Kalamazoo Valley Community College to present KVCC with their 2022 Grand National Champion plaque. As we sat in their tasting room enjoying some of their students’ beers, we talked about all things brewing: breweries in Kalamazoo that we should visit, breweries in Cincinnati that he should visit, what trends we saw in the industry, and more. It was like being back on a Hoperatives research trip, as we used to call them. It was great.

Afterward, we stopped for lunch at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe. While enjoying fresh Two Hearted and burgers, I broached the subject: what if we brought Hoperatives back? What would need to change? What would need to stay the same? We had a long drive home the next day, and we spent most of it discussing different possibilities. And we decided to do it.

So what is the new Hoperatives going to be like? The new tagline of “Believers in Better Beer (and Beverages)” hints at some of it. First of all, we will no longer be concentrating on just beer and the brewing industry. Bring on the wine, spirits, cocktails, and more! Basically, if you can drink it, there is a strong possibility that we will be writing about it.

Second, while we are still based in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, we are not limiting ourselves to that area. We’ve always had Traveling Tuesday posts, but this change will be expanding our focus to where our writers are.

As we mentioned on Cincy Brewcast, we are pivoting from a newspaper model to more of a magazine model. Expect one in-depth article from us every Wednesday. Consider it our cover story. There may be shorter ones on other days of the week (like this one), but the focus is on that weekly Wednesday article.

We will not be chasing down breaking beer news in order to be the first to publish it. We will cover news but in a more analytical way. We will take our time.

In addition, we will not be concentrating on beer events as we did in the past. We’re not saying that we won’t ever write about them, but no more “This Week in Beer” or “Tastings and Tappings Report” posts. If you are looking for that kind of beer news, we highly recommend you follow the Gnarly Gnome.

As we mentioned in that very first blog post, Hoperatives is about the people. We’ve been lucky enough to have some great people who make Hoperatives better (and more fun) by writing for the website. Jared Whalen, Chris McGreevy, J.R. Andrews (a.k.a. Pud’n), and John Lavelle are returning as core contributors. In addition, Michelle Lentz (of The Grape Gatsby newsletter and My Wine Education blog), Julie Niesen (WineMeDineMe), and Monika Royal-Fischer (RedKatBlonde) are joining the writing staff to help with the expanded coverage.

In order to make Hoperatives simple, we’re kicking WordPress to the curb. Instead, Tom is building a custom blogging platform for Hoperatives that is called CrankybearPress. As you can see, it gives Hoperatives a clean design that loads quickly. No extraneous WordPress plug-ins that slow down your viewing while they suck up your data. And we promise no popup ads at all. We might consider sponsors, but that would just mean a logo or such in the sidebar to acknowledge their support. We want to keep things fun for all of you too.

At first, we’re going to try out a lot of different topics and types of articles. We are going to play around with different social networks like Mastodon, TikTok, and YouTube plus old standbys like Facebook and Instagram. We will keep what works for us (and you) and drop what doesn’t.

We had our first Hoperatives staff meeting this past week, and the question came up about Hoperatives Happenings. We may try setting up another one, but not for a while. We want to get our feet underneath us first.

Another question was about the old Hoperatives posts and pages. They will be coming back at some point and will be marked as archive posts. We originally thought about deleting all of the “This Week in Beer” and other dated posts, but we know enough historians, librarians, and archivists to release that wasn’t a wise idea. Among those pages coming back will be the Hoperatives Numbers page, but it may take a while to recreate.

Something old that is coming back as new is the Hoperatives Guides to Beer at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the Disney Cruise Line. These were always some of our most popular pages. With Hoperatives’ new focus, we may branch out to guides for wine and spirits too. We’ll just have to see.

So that’s where we stand on this first day of 2023 and the first day of the Hoperatives relaunch. In Monique Judge’s The Verge article “Bring Back Personal Blogging,” she points out that:

At the end of the day, we don’t know what is going to happen next with Twitter or any of these platforms. We don’t know what changes Web 3.0 is going to bring to the internet. We do know that we will all still be here, wanting to share our thoughts, talk about anything and everything, and commune with our people. Personal blogging is the simplest and fastest way to do all of that.

There was a time when blogging was considered a bad word. Tech journalist Mike Elgan once referred to bloggers as “floggers”. Of course, the flogger type of bloggers would now be called influencers (and I know some of you felt your skin crawl just reading that word).

It’s time to take back blogging (either individually or with people you enjoy). And it’s time to get back to what Merlin Mann and John Gruber at SXSW Interactive described as the three things a successful blog needed: “obsession + topic + voice.”

Blogging is back. And so is Hoperatives.