On iTunes it is the uncontested star amongst the drinks and eno-gastronomy bestsellers: his podcast, ‘Expert Drinking’, is at number one in the food and beverage top ten, and at number 100 in the general chart for its sector.
Expert Drinking, the podcast by Dr. Bill, the hops expert, has just reached its 20th weekly edition. In one single day it can be downloaded up to 15,000 times. There are some good reasons behind its success: in just a few minutes Bill Sysak can charm the listener, talking about little-known curiosities from the worlds of beer and alcoholic drinks in general.
From the obscure traditions of the production of Lambic, a drink somewhere between beer and wine, to the worst-ever beers, to learning how to recognize the so called 'off flavors’ before making the mistake of drinking a bad beer, to the sweet beers of the Portuguese island of Madeira, to the best Irish whiskies, to dishes best accompanied by vodka, to the secrets of sherry. Listening to him really does make you want to sip at an ice-cold beer.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.