A New Kind of Safety - The Pin Project
In professional wine circles, wearing an oval-shaped lapel pin during service has become an indicator synonymous with an advanced level of wine knowledge.
But musician turned bartender, and spirits industry professional Mark Goodwin has given the adornment a twist with his new project - The Pin.
The website defines The Pin as a simple, identifiable symbol that when worn expresses the intention to not drink. What started as a permanent pen mark as daily abstinence reminder on Goodwin’s forearm, has become a silver icon of intent and support for a sector of the industry constantly faced with a life surrounded by alcohol.
Excess in the alcohol industry is often normalized, and on the hospitality podcast “You’re 86”, hosted by Justyn Myers, Goodwin shared the challenges of the normalization of excess alcohol consumption during working hours.
In Episode 12, titled: our complicated relationship with booze, Goodwin spoke about the constant opportunities that can make moderation or abstinence very difficult. “In the liquor industry, if you work an 8-hour shift it’s pretty normalized to have four to five shots – that seems extreme but it’s not that extreme. It adds up so much.”
For those who want to change, the project is a step in the right direction.
Hospitality strategist Jayne Portnoy, has developed wine and bar programs for more than 20 years, and sees the pin as a positive move to help move the conversation forward.
“The pins of our early hospitality years had a really strong celebratory element to them. At TGI Fridays, the status of wearing a pin was huge. Bartenders were king and pins were godly. The pin is now making a comeback in street culture, and the idea to have an outward symbol that allows a sensitive conversation to be had without words, is a great step.”
Charles Joly, the Founder of CraftHouse Cocktails and award-winning bartender, is seeing an increasing number of sober bartenders. Some are outspoken about not drinking, while others are acting as points of outreach for people that are looking to follow a path of sobriety. “Maybe the pin is a sign of solidarity,” he stated.
What I love about the Pin project is the power of a nonverbal cue to share what professionals may feel unable to say openly. Thus making it easier for bartenders and professionals to make decisions for their wellbeing without fear of judgment for their actions.
To Joly’s point, it offers bartenders the opportunity to communicate a message of abstinence without speaking a word, and opens up dialogue for patrons or other professionals to start a positive conversation around alcohol. Rather than being a mark of achievement, the pin can act as a sign of desired behavior change.
So can this small non-verbal tool also be welcomed by wine industry?
Is it necessary?
Would it be embraced?
We’d love to know your thoughts.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Pin, visit their website. The project will officially launch at Tales of the Cocktail Conference in New Orleans this weekend and has attracted media coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle and VinePair.
Best wishes to Mark Goodwin and team, and may it help people in the community feel empowered to make decisions toward health and wellbeing.
What We're Reading:
There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.
The Heart of a Swimmer vs. the Heart of a Runner – The New York Times.com
Regular exercise changes the look and workings of the human heart. And researchers are discovering that different sports affect the heart differently.
Direct-to-Consumer is coming to the Alcohol Industry – Digiday.com
For e-commerce alcohol brands, the hurdle lies in getting people to buy a drink online that they’ve never tried before. Irresistibly, DTC-style branding can help.
Meet the Tribe!
Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.
Luke Jolliffe, Chief Winemaker at Stella Bella Wines, Margaret River, Western Australia (Australia)
Years In Industry:
I have spent 20 years in the Wine Industry. The first 9 years of my career in Viticulture in McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. The last 11 years winemaking at Stella Bella Wines in the south of Margaret River, Western Australia.
My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:
For me, there are 3 main challenges I am conscious of for my own ‘wellness’ to help me feel good physically, mentally and ensuring general health.
Living three hours from the most isolated capital city in the world, albeit in an incredibly beautiful coastal, regional town in Western Australia, you can easily get caught in your own bubble and feel the day to day wearing on you.
Clearing my head of an ever expanding to do list is a constant challenge, the workload never seems to reduce and the ‘small things’ can really catch up on you . The third battle is with the punishment on my body with many hours spent in cars, planes and being hands-on in the winery.
How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:
Ensuring I have the ability to stop, experience and enjoy the visceral pleasure of the incredible industry I am a part of by socialising, eating and enjoying delicious food and wine without overdoing it. This is the inspiration I need to continually improve professionally and feel happy.
The best way to clear my mind is either a quick swim in the ocean (in all seasons apart from Winter – I’m not psychotic!) or mountain biking in the forest around Margaret River. Both bring me the balanced mental state that I need. The smell and taste of sea along with the immediate cleansing of your mind the instant you go under water is incredible, and important. The physical exhaustion of exercise when you have no choice but to clear your mind is a great way to force myself to switch off.
Finally, massage, Osteopathy and ensuring my body is strong through body weight exercise such as chin-ups & core stability is my go-to for physical wellness. This gives back to my body to say thank you for taking the punishment, while getting me up and about and ready to go again.
Let's Meet Up!
As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you.
Attendee at TEXSOM Sommelier Conference in Dallas, August 18 to 20 (Beck)
Attendee at Australian Women in Wine Awards in New York, Sept. 17 (Beck)
Speaker at Dream Big Darling in Paso Robles, September 15 to 17 (Cathy)
Emcee at Australia Decanted in Lake Tahoe, Oct. 6 to 9 (Cathy)
Presenter at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, February 25 to 29 (Cathy)
Presenter at the Future Wine Expo in Santa Rosa, May 12 and 13 (Cathy)