As publisher and editor-in-chief of Mutineer Magazine, Alan Kropf of Napa is leading nothing less than a beverage-based revolution.
Kropf, whose publication puts the spotlight on all types of refreshments, said it’s time people realize that becoming a fine beverage connoisseur is not complicated. One only needs an open mind and willing palate to become an aficionado. Enjoying a nice glass of pinot noir, for example, isn’t just for enthusiasts with extensive wine educations.
“If you want to learn about wine, just drink wine and seek out wine-related experiences,” Kropf said in an email. “(It’s as) simple as that.”
Why the fascination with refreshments? Kropf, 28, said his love of all things drinkable started with some lighthearted bartending for friends. Later, he became a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and earned several industry certifications including a bartending certificate through the National Bartenders Bartending School.
“I’ve always connected with the artistic elements of beverages,” Kropf said. “They aren’t all that different than music or film, and it’s always been something that just came naturally for me.”
Billed as a “celebration of the world’s fine beverages and the cultures that surround them,” Mutineer Magazine is the latest incarnation of Kropf’s efforts. Offered in print and online, the publication has an overwhelmingly young readership, with a nationwide circulation of about 75,000, according to a media release. The average subscriber is about 30 years old, with most readers living on the nation’s East and West coasts.
Kropf’s past professional gigs include working as a sommelier at upscale properties like the Beverly Hills Hotel, and pitching in to help renowned chef Gordon Ramsay launch his restaurant in 2008 in the London West Hollywood, according to a media release. Before starting his own magazine, Kropf was a contributing writer for leading beverage industry magazines, and he continues writing for several web publications. He also speaks at industry-related events and judges beverage competitions. Most recently, he judged southern Oregon wines at the World of Wine competition.
Hailing originally from tiny Waterville, Wash., Kropf moved to Napa in April, some three years after launching the magazine’s first bimonthly issue in Los Angeles.
“Since then, we’ve moved the company approximately once a year in an effort to build relationships with the beverage culture in different areas,” Kropf said, adding that the publication’s headquarters touched down in Seattle and Calaveras County before its recent landing in Napa.
Kropf is also using Mutineer as a platform to spread awareness about another of his passions: bringing access to clean drinking water to developing countries. Working with an organization called “A Child’s Right,” Kropf and his team’s fundraising efforts are aiding a drive to build five water filtration systems in Kathmandu, Nepal, he said.
Closer to home, tracking changes in the business is proving interesting for Kropf, whose finger is on the pulse of the beverage industry.
“The major trend is to move away from industrially produced beverages, (and) craft beer is leading the charge, no doubt about it,” he said. “Craft spirits and craft cocktails have been huge with millennial drinkers. … Wine struggles the most with millennials because the industry, as a whole, has yet to connect with young drinkers, though eventually the industry will figure it out.”
And Kropf’s favorite cocktail?
“I always love an old-school, hand-shaken daiquiri,” he said. “Just rum, fresh lime juice and sugar. Daiquiris have gotten a bad name through decades of spring break vacations in Cancun, but if done right, they can be mind-blowing.”
You can find Mutineer Magazine online at mutineermagazine.com. Its print version is available at select Barnes & Noble booksellers, Safeway stores, college campus bookstores and other venues.