Doing it Right: The Alchemist Magazine

The Alchemist Magazine has arrived in British Columbia. It’s the spirits-focused publication that bartenders and distillers in this province have been waiting for – and it doesn’t disappoint.

On December 6th the Alchemist officially launched at the Clough Club in Gastown. Though not a red carpet affair per se, it was an evening of cocktails & culture with heavyweights from Vancouver’s craft spirit and cocktail scene. The intimate setting made networking easy for the distillers, retailers, bartenders and other industry professionals in attendance.

Issue One of the Alchemist Magazine is an aesthetically pleasing 66 pages of of photography, drink recipes, bartender and distillery profiles, as well as well as original content written about cocktail culture. This beautifully laid out magazine reads like a miniature coffee table book; perfect for perusing when enjoying a solo drink, or as a conversation piece when you’re craving some company.

The Alchemist successfully straddles the line between a true industry publication, that would risk being inaccessible to those not intimately familiar with the mixology mise en scene, and an “introduction to craft spirits” handbook that might be too cursory for the savvy consumer or veteran bartender to appreciate. Fortunately the Alchemist largely gets it right, delivering a variety of content that has broad appeal.

Comparing the Alchemist Magazine to its sister publication the Growler, while tempting, is too easy, and misses the mark. Though the Alchemist does profile 28 of British Columbia’s distilleries, unlike the Growler the profiles serve as more of an appendix to the magazine rather than being front and centre. The focus of the Alchemist is truly on the characters and places driving British Columbia’s vibrant cocktail renaissance and growing spirits industry. For some readers the faces and spaces that fill the pages for will be familiar, for others the Alchemist serves as an introduction to a handful of British Columbia’s more notable characters and establishments.

Like the artfully crafted libations that inhabit its pages, the Alchemist is a combination of substance and form that delivers meaningful liquor-related content. Alcohol & Advocacy encourages readers to seek out a copy wherever fine spirits are distilled or served.

*Full disclosure: Alcohol & Advocacy is a supporter of both the Alchemist Magazine and the Growler and has purchased advertisements in both publications.

Dan Coles
Retired bartender. Young lawyer. From the East, living in the West. Interested in British Columbia's producers and purveyors of wine, beer and spirits.