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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Brandon Plyler and Jayce McConnell talk booze on their new Pocket Liquor podcast

Omni-imbibious

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 12:30 PM

Episodes coming soon, y’all stay salty...

A post shared by Pocket Liquor (@pocketliquor) on


We all have one. From true crime to current affairs to comedy, there's a podcast on the airwaves that saves us from utter boredom in traffic, serves as the foundation for many a happy hour discussion, and sometimes even rocks us gently to sleep.

We sat down with master mixologist and head Edmund's Oast bartender Jayce McConnell and Edmund's Oast's beer buyer, educator, and advanced cicerone Brandon Plyler to discuss their newest project, a libation-based podcast called Pocket Liquor. Here's what they had to say:

City Paper: So, you're two pretty busy guys — why add a podcast to the mix?
Jayce McConnell: Well Brandon and I are drinkers, we love podcasts, and we like history. We like examining traditions and culture that surrounds the consumption of alcoholic beverages for thousands of years. We've had conversations throughout the years we've known each other and that's what we tend to talk about when we're together anyway. We figured, we like these two things, why not give it a shot, have some fun with it.
Brandon Plyler: We want to take things in the beverage industry that either seem terrifying or are just wrapped up in a lot of industry jargon or confusion, so if you're not in that club of folks you may hear someone say a word and you have no idea what it means. We're into explaining that, just to make this more approachable. We'll definitely go down a nerdy wormhole every once in a while. Both of us are storytellers I feel.


CP: What kind of topics will you cover?

BP: Well in both of our, not just our current jobs, but the entirety of our careers in the alcoholic beverage community there are all these conversations and questions you get from folks and you explain these things to them, like 'oh I don't know what dry hopping is' and we just have a conversation about it, where it makes it seem like 'oh it's not this strange thing, I now get it and understand it.' What is the word, we take credit, you (Jayce) created it: we're omni-imbibious.
JM: We'll also touch on larger topics: from the top down history, where words come from, kind of pick it apart, explore what we think is cool, what the next big thing is. We drink everything. We're into everything. There's nothing beverage-wise that's off limits. We probably won't have an episode about coffee or tea, but I'm not going to say we're not. We're going to focus on booze, the culture, the tradition that surrounds it. Brandon is the only advanced cicerone in the state, he's a very savvy spirits and cocktail guy too, has lots of wine knowledge. And when we record, we'll always have something in front of us. We're not waking up at 9 a.m. and having coffee and talking. We're doing this in the afternoon with a cocktail.
Brandon Plyler wants to tell you about booze - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • Brandon Plyler wants to tell you about booze

The two say they'll also bring in experts "from near and far" to discuss their areas of expertise. "We just want to try to get as many different points of view, to come up with the most complete picture of what we're trying to talk about," says Plyler.

Pocket Liquor isn't the only Charleston-based podcast — in our 2017 Fall Arts issue, we chatted with the voices behind Aural Traditions, The Petty Couch Podcast, We're Just the Messengers, The Southern Fork, and Charleston Time Machine. Covering themes of storytelling, comedy, current affairs and black/rap/urban culture, cuisine, and local history, the local podcast scene has a little bit of everything for any Lowcountry listener.

And of course, there's the quintessential listen for anyone who has ever dipped their toes in the food and bev industry: Effinbradio.

Effinbradio host/creator Lindsay Collins also records her friends Plyler and McConnell with her equipment for Pocket Liquor, and she does the editing. "She sits there and politely laughs when we're trying to be funny," says McConnell.

CP: Sometimes discussions of booze can veer either Pinterest-y (top 10 drinks for fall) or preachy (never drink this on Sundays). Where will Pocket Liquor fall on that spectrum?
JM: Let's say every episode is the history and stories that surround whatever it is — it's very muddy, hard to discern, exaggerated, often these stories are retold drunk. We're going to try to piece that back together as best we can, and make it interesting and fun because we're already talking about something that is really fun already, we want to keep it interesting and engaging and not be too snooty about it. We drank whiskey and High Life on our last episode.
BP: We'll discuss, for instance: 'What's the difference between something you would enjoy as an aperitivo or digestif? What's an Imperial stout, when is it cool to look into those?' Some of those tips and themes I think we take for granted. Being industry professionals, if you to this Italian restaurant, what are you going to start with? Well I'm definitely having a Negroni. What is a Negroni, what goes into, why would you have that before you start your meal, how do you make that at your house, things like that. For us, it's stuff we really take for granted but I think a lot of other people would just be really into knowing about those things. It won't be like top 10 lists, those don't have a lot of information, no depth. And certainly, not that we have all the answers, but a question like, 'when is maybe a flask an appropriate thing for you to have?'
JM: Well, almost always.

CP: At the end of the day, you both have full time careers, social lives. What are you trying to accomplish with Pocket Liquor?

JM: We want to keep it kind of funny, not take ourselves too seriously. We don't want to skirt over the fact that this is why people drink — to have a good time. To enjoy themselves and feel different than they normally feel. It's a mind altering substance. That's why we do it, and there's a right and wrong way to do it [drink alcohol]. We'll talk a little about that. It will go from times I had the best cocktail in my life to the time I had to walk barefoot from a dive bar to my hotel in New Orleans.

BP: There's plenty of preachy stuff out there. A lot of booze journalism, it takes the safe road, and they say 'hey when alcohol is misused it can effect your health.' But if it's 5 o'clock, it's the end of the day you've worked hard, been sober all day, if you're doing that stuff and enjoying yourself and being responsible, there's nothing wrong with that. It's completely legitimate.
JM: Life between the ditches. Yes alcohol is dangerous, it's addictive. We're not going to act like we're counselors, we're not going to say we're experts on that side of things. Booze has a lifestyle around it, we want to talk about the cool things that happen.


click to enlarge Pour one out for a podcast that makes drinking even more fun - FILE
  • File
  • Pour one out for a podcast that makes drinking even more fun
Plyler and McConnell are headed to NoLa to drink responsibly between the ditches this weekend, but they hope to officially launch early September.

"The pilot is up unofficially," says McConnell. "It's up, if you really want it, it's out there. The first one is just me and Brandon having a conversation about the podcast. We're implementing sections and structure, but we still want to start with an organic conversation."

Like all savvy consumers know, once you're hooked on a podcast, Netflix documentary, or reality TV garbage fire, you have to binge. Plyler says they want the podcast to have a few episodes ready to go before they start advertising to the thirsty masses. "We're definitely hesitant, we don't want to open the restaurant without the menu. Hopefully the pilot episode will be the worst one, that will be the beginning and we'll get better and better."

After years of practice talking the talk and drinking the drinks, we don't think they have anything to worry about. Stay tuned, we'll let you know when the time is right to grab that chilled glass, plug in those listening devices, and settle in for some omni-imbibious wisdom.

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