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Thursday, December 31, 2020

With Drink314, Jordan Palmer Aims to Distill St. Louis' Craft Beer and Spirits Scene

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 7:10 AM

click to enlarge Cheers! - VIA DIVYA THAKUR/FLICKR

Jordan Palmer vividly remembers the moment he realized his passion for craft beer. It was the late 1990s, and a high school friend introduced him to the now-defunct Six Row Brewing Company in which he was an investor. Until that point, Palmer admits his beer experience centered mostly on drinking Bud Light as a college kid, but once his palate was opened to the world of craft brewing, there was no going back.

"I thought, 'Craft beer, what's that?'" Palmer recalls. "I'd always known Schlafly was there, but I hadn't really thought much about it. Then my wife moved to St. Louis, we started going out more, and I started to fall in love with this act of craft beer being created in the city that Anheuser-Busch built. As much as I was tempted to go into brewing, something else came into my head: I'd rather just write about it."

Palmer's idea to turn his passion for beer and spirits into a writing project has developed into Drink314, a St. Louis-centric blog that he's been running since 2015. The site serves as a celebration of all things beer and spirits — even dabbling in wine, coffee, tea and soda — with the aim of being the definitive resource for all happenings in the region's craft beverage scene.

The idea first came to him about twenty years ago — not long after the craft beer bug bit him. A television professional by trade, Palmer had just come off a training program in Tennessee to learn how to produce television (a project that would give him the skills needed to start Show Me St. Louis for KSDK) and envisioned the precursor to Drink314 as a satellite television channel called DrinkTV. His plan was to produce drinking content to be broadcast on a dedicated satellite channel in bars and breweries across the country.

click to enlarge Jordan Palmer sees Drink314 as a resource for craft beer lovers of all levels. - COMPLIMENTS OF DRINK314
  • Jordan Palmer sees Drink314 as a resource for craft beer lovers of all levels.
Though that idea failed to pan out, he couldn't let go of the notion that he was being called to create some sort of content related to the field he loved. It took him about fifteen years to turn that dream into a reality, but in 2015, he bought a URL, created social media handles and launched the Drink314 site, unsure of where it would go.

Palmer was thrilled with the response. Over the past few years, he's developed a significant following, cultivated relationships with brewers and other beverage producers in the region, and has come to be seen as an authority on all matters beer.

"It's been really fun," Palmer says. "The reason it became such a passion project is because, as I grew at Channel 5, I became a manager, and when you manage, you are creating less. This became my outlet for creation."

After leaving KSDK a few months ago, Palmer has gone all-in with Drink314, viewing it as a way for him to express himself creatively while figuring out how far he can take it. One way he's hoping to expand his reach is by partnering with San Diego Beer News in a way that would use that site as a template for different branded Beer News sites around the country. Already he's established social media handles under the name St. Louis Beer News in the hopes that he can develop a complementary brand to Drink314.

Ultimately, though, Palmer is just happy that he has been able to create a community for beer lovers while pushing back against the intimidation that some feel when they get into craft beer. Adamant that he will never fight about beer, Palmer hopes to bring out others' passion for craft beverages by arming them with the knowledge they need to find what they love — a calling he feels is his unique place in the industry.

"I'm really impressed with the art these men and women do," Palmer says. "I've always seen them as artists. I think I have never been an artist or have a skill that could match up, except possibly writing. After the TV production thing didn’t work with DrinkTV, I turned to writing and found that I've always had a knack for words. My voice is my voice, and this is my contribution to this art form of beer. I just want to be a part of it."

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