Our Favorite Holiday Gifts From Women-Owned Brands: Women Who Travel Podcast

MC: Lale, what is next on your list?

LA: It’s something I want, need, but I also think—

MC: I like that correction.

LA: Yeah, just a little bit of a hint. But also I think it’s something that’s probably on lots of people’s lists as they start to plan travel again. I really, really, really want a new suitcase. My carry-on, which has gotten me through many, many, many an adventure, and many, many, many a delayed flight really feels like it’s on its last legs. A zip broke off it. It was already sort of tired before the pandemic. And then I didn’t bother replacing it because I had nowhere to go. And suddenly, travel has returned. Life has gotten busier. And now I’m stuffing things in a suitcase that doesn’t actually zip up properly. And suitcases are also investments, and can feel like a lot to spend on yourself—which I fully support and people should gift themselves with a nice new suitcase—but I think if you are willing to splurge on someone who you know loves travel and you want to treat, I think a brand new carry-on would be a fantastic gift. There’s lots of brands that we like at Traveler. Personally, my two favorites are Arlo Skye and Paravel. The latter is definitely women-owned.

MS: I wasn’t a suitcase person until I got first an Arlo Skye carry-on, and then a Paravel Aviator carry-on. It’s like, okay, everyone needs to invest in a nice suitcase for themselves that they feel great rolling through the airport as you run to catch a flight. And yeah, I love that. Paravel also has like, if you want to do smaller things to kind of help someone work up to their suitcase purchase, their packing cubes are amazing. It makes me also feel like I’m finally the organized female traveler that I want to be. So a lot of good stuff on that site.

LA: One other Paravel product that I was just going to shout out, is their collapsible duffel, which I genuinely think is the best piece of luggage that’s ever been designed. And it is so simple. It’s literally just a soft shell, squishy duffel bag with an ingenious zip design. That means that you can fold it up and zip it up into the size of the small… I don’t know what you’d call it, a small parcel? And you can slip it down the side of your carryon or your larger suitcase. And when you’re on your return trip, and have bought too many souvenirs, you have an extra bag that just magics itself out of nowhere.

MC: I have two very different things that I want to talk about. One of them is I would love a third pair of Brother Vellies cloud socks. I love these socks so freaking much. They are designed by Aurora James, who runs Brother Vellies. They come in so many different colors, and they are the softest, most cloud-like, like leg-warmer-meets-socks, that I have ever received. I have two pairs. I have one in gray and one in purple. And I have them on rotation already, even though it’s only mid-fall. And I think I might need another pair. So they’re just absolutely delightful.

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VinePair Podcast: How Airlines Are Making In-Flight Drinking Special

When the airplane drink cart makes its rounds on flights, passengers have a decision to make: order an alcoholic drink, or let the cart roll on by? In this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” co-hosts Adam Teeter, Joanna Sciarrino, and Zach Geballe talk about all things in-flight drinking. They share go-to drink orders, the luxury of first-class wine lists, and what makes drinking on a plane different from drinking on the ground.

Joanna gets to speak with three of the Tip Top Proper Cocktails team members about their journey from developing classic cocktails in cans to partnering with Delta Air Lines. Co-founder Neal Cohen, recipe developer Miles Macquarrie, and chief operating officer Jay Liddell share the story of how Tip Top started and its rise to success in the time since.

For the Friday tasting, the team tries two of Tip Top’s classic cocktails: the Negroni and the Manhattan. Will one be a bigger hit than the other? Tune in to find out.

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Or Check Out the Conversation Here

Adam Teeter: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Adam Teeter.

Joanna Sciarrino: I’m Joanna Sciarrino.

Zach Geballe: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.

A: This is the Friday “VinePair Podcast.” We’re going to talk a little about air travel and drinking. First of all, I will say that I tried the hack on the plane where you’re supposed to shake up a bottle of wine and then pour into your glass because it’s supposed to aggressively aerate it. When you fly, your palate changes. I’d heard about this hack where you dump out a little wine from the tiny wine bottle they give you and then you aggressively shake it for 30 seconds. Then, you pour it in the glass. It’s supposed to aerate it so much that it opens the wine up and causes it to taste better.

J: Interesting.

A: It doesn’t work. I’m a big fan of having a drink or two when you fly, even though they say you will be more likely to have jet lag if you drink when you fly. I don’t care.

J: I’m not a big fan of drinking while I fly for that reason. I feel awful afterwards.

A: You really don’t drink while you fly?

J: No, not really. Not if I can help it. Unless it’s complimentary or it’s time appropriate.

A: If you’re up front, you’ll drink.

J: Right. If the in-flight service has free beer and wine, then I’ll drink.

A: You’re not going to buy it.

J: I’m not going to buy it.

A: Oh, I don’t either. I don’t think I’ll buy a beer.

Z: I’ll buy it. Drinking on planes, if you set aside the cost of being on the plane in the first place, is actually way cheaper than drinking anywhere else.

A: But is it good?

Z: You can get a cocktail for $7. That’s better than you’re going to get in most other places.

A: Yeah, but the cocktail you get is crappy tonic and some gin.

Z: I don’t know, man. Can you get a Bombay Sapphire and tonic in New York City for $7? I sure can’t.

A: That’s actually true. That’s true. I’ll get a double Bombay Sapphire and tonic on the plane.

J: Can’t you bring on your own little nips?

A: Not allowed.

J: Oh, really? I didn’t know that.

A: Totally illegal. Against FAA regulations.

Z: Maybe you could bring on your own tonic water, though? That might be a hack.

A: Yeah, but who’s doing that? Also, is that under the 3-ounce regulation?

J: Gotta have my Fever Tree.

A: It is funny because that is a thing that I think a lot people think they can bring on, but you actually can’t. The liquid can come through. You’re not going to get stopped at security. But if you are caught with it on the plane, it is an FAA violation. I think it’s just a whole game to tell people, “You’ve got to buy the drinks.”

J: Right.

Z: I feel very sad about a few things about the time in history that I’m alive. One of them is that I don’t have the kind of money to fly first class on some of the crazy airlines internationally. The notion that my dad once flew business class to Africa for work in the ’80s, and there was a bar on the airplane is crazy. The notion of being able to walk up to a bar, 35,000 feet in the air and say, “I’ll have a Manhattan” — the plane could crash, and I might die happy.

A: The bars still do exist, but mostly on airlines like Emirates. It’s odd. You can also take showers on those, which I think is a little weird. I don’t think I’d take a shower on the plane.

J: Those are long flights.

A: You might. Get up from your little nap in the pajamas they give you.

J: You’ve got to be business-ready when you deplane.

A: I can’t get over the fact that Joanna doesn’t drink when she flies, especially because she’s married to a diplomat. I feel like diplomats travel and drink. That’s just what they do.

J: I’m sure he would. I’m nothing.

A: You’ve got to live that diplomat lifestyle, though.

Z: Also, how do they not have White Claw on the planes? Now that I think about that, that’s crazy.

J: Do any airlines have White Claw?

A: I know someone has Truly. I forget which airline has Truly.

J: Wow.

A: I just flew Alaska, and they do not have hard seltzer. I didn’t notice because I wouldn’t have ordered it, but that seems like a huge miss.

A: Some airline made a huge announcement recently about that. Maybe it was Southwest?

J: They need something.

A: They’re not doing well.

Z: No. Adam, you fly Delta a lot. Does Delta have a hard seltzer?

A: Yes, they do, actually. I don’t remember which one, but they do. They’re also Atlanta’s hometown airline, so they’re really big on all the SweetWater beers. Mm-hmm. They’re big on a certain really delicious canned cocktail we’ll talk about later in the show when we taste it. I like the service. The saddest thing to me about flying internationally is when you get on the plane and walk by the lay-flat seats and you see the cart with the amazing bottles of wine on it. You think, “Well, that would be fun.”

Z: My wife flew business class to India for work a couple of years ago, pre-pandemic. Mid-flight, she sent me the wine list and said, “I can have whatever I want.” She told me, “I’m just going to drink the Champagne.” I said, “That’s a good call. Sure.” But the things that you see on these airlines are wild, especially internationally. In the absolute premium classes, they’ve got a cellar on board, which seems wild, but also, sure. Why not?

J: Do they really? That’s amazing.

A: Most of these airlines have full-time sommeliers who are choosing the wines for the flights and also for the clubs, usually. I interviewed a somm for United, but at the time when I interviewed him I think it was still Continental. Continental was bought by United. He talked about how, when he would taste, they would literally fly up and taste in the air to select the wines because your palate changes so much. I thought that was really, really interesting. On a lot of flights, you won’t find a lot of Pinots and no Beaujos, sorry. You won’t find a lot of them because they’re too light-bodied. There’s too much nuance that you’ll miss. You won’t find Barolos. You’re going to find Cabs, Malbecs, and Zinfandels.

J: They’re really going to beat you over the head with it.

A: Yeah. Your palate just can’t pick up all those flavors and you’ll have a lot of people saying, “I just taste acid.”

Z: It’s interesting that you mentioned the lounges. I think that’s a fascinating piece of this. When I interviewed Shiada Drysdale from Virgin Atlantic, she was talking about how, for the beverage people at an airline, those lounges are actually a much bigger part of the business than in-flight.

A: Totally.

Z: In-flight, you’re more limited. Obviously, weight is a huge consideration. Granted, on some of these international flights you’re flying around with full bottles of wine. With a lot of these other things, they’re trying to minimize the weight of everything they’re bringing on board. Also, you have this issue that you don’t want to pay to fly them from one place to another. You want that to be consumed on board. You’re trying to exactly dial into how much product you’re loading in the first place. Lounges are huge, though. People sometimes spend half a day there or more, depending on their layovers. They are such a big part of the hospitality element of airlines these days. It was interesting to hear her talk about how much of her job is about setting things up at these lounges.

A: It’s so interesting. Question for you guys before we get to Joanna’s interview with the founders of Tip Top: When you do drink on the plane, what is your go-to drink? Zach, we’ll start with you.

Z: I would say I get a drink that I almost never have anywhere else, which is whiskey and ginger ale. I like ginger ale on flights. When I was a kid, I always wanted soda, and my parents would usually not let me, but they would somehow let me get ginger ale. I’ve always sort of associated that with flying. Sometimes, I’ll have a gin and tonic, but I would say most of the time it’s a whiskey ginger. It’s not a drink that I would go for very often other times, but on an airplane, it seems right to me.

A: Nice. Joanna?

J: Mostly because I’m having whatever is free to me and not purchasing something, it’s a beer or some bad wine. There’s this airline called Porter, which is a local Canadian airline.

A: I’ve always wanted to fly there. It’s dope.

J: It’s the best. They have in-flight beer and wine as part of their in-flight service. They always do a local brewery. They’ve had Ace Hill and Steam Whistle beer, and that’s what I usually get. What about you?

A: Very cool. If it’s an international flight, I think it is free even in coach —.

Z: It is.

A: Yeah. Spirits are free. I’m trying to get to sleep, so I’ll usually have a double whiskey neat. I like a gin and tonic every once in a while, but my go-to is just a beer. If I’m in the seat where you will serve me, I’ll have a beer.

J: You won’t go for a Red Snapper?

A: No, I will not. Last week, I talked about Bloody Marys, and I asked Joanna if she was going to have a Bloody Mary with gin or vodka. She said, “Wait, gin?” I said, “Yeah.” I received a correction from our resident “Cocktail College” host Tim McKirdy, who let me know that it’s actually not Bloody Mary with gin, it’s a Red Snapper. I stand corrected, Tim.

Z: One last thing. The reason I don’t usually go for beer is that I don’t have to have to get up to pee any more than necessary.

A: True. I hate going to the bathroom on the plane. Let’s go straight into Tip Top’s interview, and then we can drink some Tip Top as well.

A Conversation with the Tip Top Proper Cocktails Team

J: Today on the podcast, I am joined by the team behind Tip Top Proper Cocktails: Neal Cohen, co-founder; Miles Macquarrie, recipe developer; and Jay Liddell, chief operating officer. We are huge fans of Tip Top Proper Cocktails, so I’m thrilled to be chatting with you all. Guys, thank you so much for joining me.

Neal Cohen: Thanks for having us.

J: Thank you. Yeah. So I thought we could, you know, hear a little bit more about Tip Top, how it started, where you’re at now, plus success and challenges over the past 18 months or so and where it’s going. So Neil is co-founder. I thought we could kick things off with how the brand started.

N: Absolutely. Thanks, Joanna. I founded this with Yoni Reisman, who is our CEO. We are childhood friends. We met in elementary school, and our core passion was attending concerts and music festivals. That was really what drove us for the better part of our middle school, high school, and college careers. Then, it actually helped us define our initial careers as we ventured into the workplace. We traveled parallel paths in the music festival industry. Yoni founded the premier festival in New York City, Governors Ball. I went and worked for Superfly, which is the production company behind Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and many of the country’s biggest festivals. I cut my teeth in marketing and branding via those festivals. Yoni had a real eye on the concessions programs at Governor’s Ball and recognized that, as people’s taste for cocktails were developing — very much so in New York City, his market, but also all around the country — you were more accustomed to finding great cocktails wherever you could go. Yet, there were still occasions where that was a challenge and a real opportunity as well to solve that problem. That’s where the Spark started for Yoni. He really wanted to solve the problem of accessing a great cocktail in those high-volume, music festival-type environments. With that, we set on the mission of ensuring that the good things in life are more accessible. That’s how we got on this path.

J: What’s the time period here? When was this?

N: Yoni began developing the concept, around 2016. He started getting in my ear because we were always scheming about how we could have these parallel paths converge and work on some entrepreneurial efforts together. I joined in 2018. Canned cocktails were not exactly in my purview as a music festival marketer, but I did have a knack for the culinary, had been a cheesemonger, and had sold some wine in prior life. Yoni said that he had contacted Miles Macquarrie at the Kimball House and that Miles was interested in being involved. That’s when I realized that my friend Yoni wasn’t just scheming another big idea, but he was actually going to execute something very special here. I left the music industry, and we joined up. From spring 2018 on is where we were off to the races. It was about two years of development of the product before we actually launched it. It got into market at the end of September 2019. That’s when we first ended up on shelves in Georgia.

J: What a time to get in on this. You mentioned that you didn’t really have a lot of canned cocktail experience when you joined the team, but canned cocktails back then really weren’t a big thing, right?

N: That’s correct.

J: We’ve seen a lot of these canned cocktails, RTDs, and things like that over the past 18 months, especially. You got in just ahead of the pandemic and the absolute explosion of canned cocktails.

N: We saw some of that coming. As we were looking at what the offerings out there were beginning to develop into, it really became apparent that the baseline of offering great classic cocktails — the cocktails that have always been in demand — was there, but making them available on demand to the public just hadn’t been actualized. It was important to us to start with that foundation and fulfill the promise of this category to be able to service the cocktails that are known and loved. We could maybe use that as a launchpad to then start to branch out.

J: Right. So, Yoni reached out to Miles. Miles, you worked on developing these drinks. What was that process like? How did you choose which drinks to launch first?

Miles Macquarrie: It was definitely a long process. It’s not quite as easy as just sending a recipe off and hoping that it can get scaled up correctly. We were talking for a long time about which drinks to do. There were some quintessential beverages in the stirred category of drinks, which really nobody was doing in the RTD market. While we were in recipe development, you were starting to see a good number of Moscow Mules, gin and tonics, and that sort of stuff come out. These were highball, refreshing drinks. We would start to see a couple of Margaritas and things like that, but you didn’t see Old Fashioneds. You didn’t see Manhattans. You certainly didn’t see Negronis in a can.

J: Yeah. What was that development process like? How many iterations did you go through before you decided that it was the liquid you wanted to put in the can?

M: Oh my gosh. I lost count. On the last day, before we put the final stamp on the Negroni, we tasted 37 different slight tweaks on the Negroni in one session before we decided it was finished. There have been many different iterations over the course of years until we finally got them to where we all felt happy about putting the Tip Top label on the cans and getting them out there.

J: That seems like a really intense process. In terms of sourcing, how was that experience? For the Negroni, you have red bitters on the can. Are you going to a certain producer, or what is that like?

M: It’s been switched a couple of times, but there’s obviously not Campari in the Negroni. It’s a blend of distillates and lab-grade tinctures and essences to create that flavor that gets as close to Campari as possible. It’s not very dissimilar to other brands coming out with red bitter clones to compete with Campari in the market. We just happened to do it by lots of blending, tasting, and trying to use our palates to steer it as close as we could as a Campari substitute.

J: Gotcha. Well, I think you did a really good job. You launched with the stirred drinks. That’s the Negroni, Manhattan, and Old Fashioned. When did you launch the next round of drinks?

Jay Lidell: Miles, Neal and Yoni wanted to come out with something that would be respected by not only consumers looking for those convenient, classic cocktails, but also something that the trade would recognize and be appreciative of receiving in a can. That’s why they launched with the Negroni, the Manhattan, and the Old Fashioned. The shaken line launched just this past year in April. That was born out of the Margarita, the Bee’s Knees, and the Daiquiri. The thinking there was to establish this third line, get it going, and build some trust and feedback loops with our consumers and our trade. All the while, Miles, Neal, and Yoni were in the background developing iterations of all kinds of classic cocktails.

J: Gotcha. The shaken line is the Margarita, Bee’s Knees, and the Daiquiri. Those all incorporate citrus, which obviously makes the development process a little bit more challenging, Miles, for you. What was that like?

M: We went back and forth for a while. I always really pressed for using real juice. Some lines don’t and some do. We were willing to do whatever it took. The beauty of this project for me is that both Yoni and Neal, the whole time, were assuring me that the most important thing was that it had to taste good. It had to taste good over cutting costs or anything else. The No. 1 goal was that, if we’re going to do this, it has to taste good. I was on the side that, in order to get this shaken line to taste good, we have to use juice in them. We tried some versions quite a few times using extracts and citric acid, and it just never really worked. We finally got to the point where we found a supplier that has fresh juice that’s basically pasteurized in order to be able to make it work and have it be shelf stable in a can for up to a year on shelves. That’s where we ended. The development took a while, just like it did on the first ones, but we’re very happy with the end result.

J: Do we have other drinks on the horizon?

Jay Lidell: Absolutely. We’re still dialing in on some more classics, some of which are very well known, some that are maybe not as well known that are considered cult classics in the cocktail world, but there’s definitely still development happening.

N: You think about what we’ve been able to achieve with the Bee’s Knees. It’s a classic, and it’s a flavor profile that’s super approachable. But for a lot of people outside of the cocktail world, it’s not as prevalent as the Margarita, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or Daiquiri. We’ve been able to create a little bit more of a market for a Bee’s Knees. Some of these cocktails are going to fall into that very familiar side of things. Some of the others could be a bit surprising, but still drawing from this well of classic cocktails with a legacy. That’s what’s really fun about this brand. Each of these cocktails individually have their own legacy, their own associations, and their own emotional triggers and memories associated with them. It’s really fun to be able to play within this world of classic cocktails and all the mythologies and things that come along.

JL: What I love about it is how exciting it is to educate new consumers about it. That’s one of the great things about the RTD category is that there’s so much discovery when it comes to the category itself. With Bee’s Knees, there is a whole wider audience that we’re able to reach and educate through the Tip Top brand, because of some of the trust that Miles, Neal, and Yoni have been able to build up on our Old Fashioned and some of our earlier stirred line. That’s one of the great sub-missions of making the good things of life more accessible by educating people on great classic cocktails.

J: Right. What has the reception been for these drinks? Which are your most popular flavors? I imagine that if you get people in the door with an Old Fashioned that maybe they’re, like you said, more willing to try something that they’ve never heard of before with the Bee’s Knees. Which are your most popular flavors?

JL: Based on our feedback loop from our consumers, with our online business and from the trade, our Old Fashioned is really our most popular. It came out first, and it’s been the definitive Tip Top from day one. However, the Margarita, which just launched this year, is very strong and really well received. Honestly, the Bee’s Knees is the next in line as far as most popular when it comes to our online sales. There’s just something special about that cocktail that’s a little different. From a regional and a seasonal perspective, our Negroni is very well accepted in New York City and on the West Coast, so we have some pockets of higher consumption and sales. Interestingly enough, it’s the Old Fashioned, Margarita, and Bee’s Knees from our online takeaways.

N: One thing that comes with that is that we’re doing a lot of work to understand how this product works in the music venue space, where we initially thought of it.

J: Right. Its reason for being.

N: Yeah. When you think about the timeline, we launched in the fall of 2019, so we didn’t have a lot of time to see how it could work in that space before that space was on pause. Now, as it comes back, we get a chance to really see it. Of course, Old Fashioneds and Margaritas sell well because of the familiarity. People are looking, when they go out, to have something new. They want something that maybe they don’t have for themselves at home. They see the offering and the Bee’s Knees and say, “Oh, I’ve heard of that. Maybe I’ve had that once. That’s gin, lemon. And honey. That sounds pretty good. I’m going to give that a go.” From an education standpoint, I think it’s really exciting to be that starting point for people who are exploring the cocktail space. Of course, we want to be the brand that people who already know and love these cocktails turn to when they’re not in a position to make them for themselves. It’s really exciting to have that opportunity.

J: Neal, you just touched on this a little bit. The pandemic has kind of changed what your business was and what it adapted to be. What was business like over the course of the pandemic, and obviously ongoing still? What were some of the challenges? What was the growth like, if at all? I’d love to hear more about that.

N: Of course, everybody is talking about the supply chain, and that certainly presented challenges. It still continues to present challenges for us. We source our cans overseas. Production at our co-packers is challenging as far as staffing. We’re really managing that, though, and getting to a really good place where we’re humming along with production. As far as consumers, we had about six months to start here in Georgia. The main tool kit in the brand-building world of a beverage is events and sampling. That was taken away almost entirely. We did some fun guerilla neighborhood out-on-your-porch, happy-hour type of stuff. It had to be fluid, and we had to improvise. It helps that we came from the music festival business because there’s always new curveballs in that space. Some of the ways that it bolstered our business is that the press really understood that the ready-to-drink cocktail was already trending and that this would only really accelerate that trend. They were looking for the contenders to talk to. They were looking for the ones that — for the people who were skeptical of the category and the discerning drinkers out there — were going to convince them to have another look, that there is something in this category for you. Time and time again, we saw that, as a little brand from Atlanta that was only distributed in Atlanta at the time, we were getting picked up nationally in The New York Times, Bon Appétit, and those types of publications. We really got some spotlight out of that. Also, consumers began to learn more about classic cocktails because they were making them at home. That we tap into that world allowed us to come on that journey with them. People were also busy doing all the things that they hadn’t had to do prior, like being with your children 24/7. When they finally did get a break, they didn’t want to do the work of making the cocktail, even if it was a simple three-ingredient list. We’ve weathered it, and we continue to weather those challenges.

JL: Neal, talk a little bit about the journey with Garden & Gun, because I think that was something that was really interesting for us as a company and really propelled us forward.

N: Yes. We had pitched Garden & Gun on the product. It was around December 2019, and they were amidst the holidays. They said, “This seems compelling, but you’ll have to come back to us.” A couple of months later, we were visiting Charleston where their offices are, because that’s where our co-packing facility was at the time. We were having breakfast and Yoni pulled up his phone and noticed that the Garden & Gun office was right next door. We got bold and courageous and went and rang the doorbell. We rang it again and again, and no one answered. We were about to give up because we were late for another meeting. Yoni really doesn’t like to be late, because that’s the courteous thing to do. I said, “OK, let me just place a call. We called the office and they said, “Oh, I’m sorry. The person who usually buzzes people in actually isn’t here today. Come on in.” We dropped off the cocktails and they said, “Hold on. The editor sometimes likes to speak to people who come in with products, so let’s see if he’s available.” He comes walking out of his office and says “Gentlemen, your timing is impeccable. We were just talking about you yesterday. Let me go get the writer who was saying that they wanted to pick up on you.” We sat down and they ended up penning an article for us. He said, “Fortune favors the bold. You really came at the right time.” What transpired out of that — tying it back to Miles — was that a man named Joseph Stinchcomb ended up being the judge for the best drink of Garden & Gun Made in the South Award that year. Miles had an event for Brad Thomas Parsons’ book, “Last Call.” We had handed cans to Brad, who was on the book tour. His next stop, sure enough, was Mississippi at Joe Stinchcomb’s Bar. He brought a bunch of cans to him, and when it was Joe’s time to consider what was the best drink of 202, he said, “Well, it’s Tip Top because they’re perfectly suited for the way we drink right now.” It all kind of came together and just goes to show that persistence and planting the seeds can come back around to do something really special. The Made in the South accolade that we received in November 2020 was just massive for us.

J: That’s awesome. What a great story, and good on you guys for taking that initiative. You mentioned music festivals are on the horizon for Tip Top. I know you have some very cool business partnerships currently, too. I’m curious to know what comes next. I’d love to hear more about the Delta partnership, though, because that’s very exciting.

JL: To piggyback off of the comment that Joe stated about Tip Top being the perfect drink, what we need now is that these are classic cocktails that are contactless. We all know that the travel and air industry took a massive hit over the pandemic. For many different reasons, most of the airlines took beverage and service off the plane. Delta Air Lines, for years, has really been a champion for local business and for a diverse set of businesses. They’ve really been excited about bringing value to their customers. That’s not unlike a lot of the other major airlines, but they have a special place in their heart for companies like Tip Top. They saw it as something that would enhance their customer experience by adding classic cocktails in-flight. This is not news, to be able to provide a cocktail experience up 30,000 feet in the air. However, the contactless part and the operational ease was something that was absolutely paramount and essential. Also, to have the three local guys — Miles, Neal, and Yoni, — who really embody the culture of Atlanta and are the producers of this brand was really the icing on the cake. The story goes that Delta Air Lines loves the Old Fashioned but thought they needed something a little bit more citrus-based. When Neal, Miles, and Yoni tasted the Delta Air Line team on the Margarita, from that point on it was off to the races. What was fascinating is that it was about Thanksgiving of last year when we got the word from the supply chain director, Sam, who really championed this along with Justin and a lot of the other key players over at Delta Air Lines, and then we waited. We had to wait. From a supply chain perspective, we knew we had the business. We had a verbal commitment from Delta, but we had no idea how much inventory they would need. They had no idea how much inventory they needed because their forecasts were off by a huge percent. It was a bit of a forecasting nightmare. We all sort of danced our way through the holidays with the Garden & Gun drink award. We were just high on everything. We were excited. We thought, “Let’s go. We can’t believe we’re working with Delta Air Lines in any capacity. “On Jan. 6, we finally got a forecast. It was a good forecast, but we just didn’t know what to think. We said, “OK, let’s go do this.” Then we had to set up 15 markets as far as compliance, registration, and distribution. That’s my background, so I knew whose job that was. I dialed everybody I knew from the last 15 years of being in spirits and told the story, provided the forecasts, and landed with the perfect folks that we do work with to get this done. By April 1, from having a forecast in January to launching the Margarita globally on the first flight out of Atlanta on Delta Air Lines was crazy. That was the first Margarita ever consumed by a consumer. That all happened within three months. Around that time, once they did their validation, they took brands and they tasted it with the fliers to get the feedback on what consumption might be. Then, we got another email from their demand department saying, “Oh, by the way, It’s March 25. We’re about to go live in a week and a half. We’re going to need eight times the volume.”

J: Eight times?

JL: Eight times. A month later, after being out there in the world, it then doubled again. From the original forecast we received in January to the end of April, we were dealing with an almost 18 times forecast. Talk about a supply chain quagmire. I’ll tell you one quick story from the supply chain side. We’ve got a fantastic head of supply chain, Rachal Jordan. She’s got 10 years of experience with some blue chip companies, and she is very experienced in procurement and logistics. She, the team, Neal, Yoni, and I, basically said, “We need to order a lot more cans.” So, we started doing that. To give you guys context, the cans that we ordered in April just arrived in September. One of the most interesting challenges that we face as an industry for RTDs and for supply chain is that we’re always thinking, “How can you stay ahead of the demand?” What Neal alluded to earlier is that we’re still unsure of what our true demand is because we’ve been catching up on supply since the brand launched in 2019. It’s a great problem to have, but I think we’re kind of getting out of the woods here in the next six to 12 months. The Delta Air Lines business has really changed Tip Top’s present and future because, not only do they love the founders, brand, and product, but they also are seeing their customers really appreciate having an Old Fashioned and a Margarita right on their flights.

J: They’re responding really well to it.

JL: There’s a huge amount of social impact for them. It’s really a win-win. They’ve been a tremendous partner. They’ve gone out of their way to tweet, post, and help support with awareness and give us access to their flight attendants. It’s been fantastic and we couldn’t have been happier and luckier to partner up with Delta Airlines. So, what’s next for us? If you ask Yoni, I think he had on his list a couple of years ago: “Sometime in the future, I’d love to be with Delta Air LInes.” That’s already done. Where do you go now? I guess you try to get Tip Top served on Bezos’ Starship.

J: Yes, that’s it. Well, that’s all very exciting. I suppose the last question I have for you all is, I’d love to hear a little bit more about the logo and the name.

N: Absolutely. As we said, it’s all about classic, familiar, comfort drinks. Tip Top has that sing-songy, alliterative feel. There’s a lot of brands in history that have used the name Tip Top as well, so it’s an interesting way to play on it. None have really had massive prominence, but you can find Tip Top mechanics, Tip Top poultry, Tip Top yard surfaces, and all of that. It all just speaks to the fact that you’re saying that you’re of a certain quality. Then, you don’t have to say it again. Tip Top as a phrase is also something that one of your grandparents might say when you ask them how they’re doing in the morning. That all fits with the fact that these are classic cocktails. While they’ve seen a resurgence in recent years and you’ve got 25-year-olds drinking Negronis, you’ve also got older generations and all the associations I was speaking about before. Uncle Phil always makes the Manhattans at Thanksgiving and all of that fun stuff. Tip Top really feels comfortable in that world. For the logo, we have a giraffe with a top hat and a monocle. We were exploring our brand identity with the designer, and he threw out a flamingo. Our designer is Bart Sasso, who is hugely talented and we couldn’t possibly be where we are today without the sharp, really clean, vintage design that he’s so good at. It feels really familiar and classic, yet modern and updated. It strikes a beautiful balance. We went back to him and said, “Look. It’s not a flamingo, but the idea of having an animal mascot has served a lot of brands quite well. If we were Tip Top, what would be the appropriate animal?” Of course, the tallest animal is the giraffe. We said, “OK, let’s try out the giraffe.” It also fits because we are all about convenience and quality. The giraffe has the easiest access to the top. That’s a fun way to work it all in. It’s just easy on the consumer. If you have a name that’s easy to remember —Tip Top — and you have an icon that when you walk in the store and say, “I can’t remember the name, but it’s the one with the giraffe on it,” all of that is just some of that magic that allows a brand to really click with people.

J: Very smart. We love it, and we love what you guys are doing at Tip Top. I’m so thrilled you were able to join me and I finally got a chance to chat with you all. Neal, Miles, Jay, thank you so much. This was a great chat.

All: Thank you!

The VinePair Team Tries Tip Top Proper Cocktails

A: They’re awesome.

J: I love them.

A: I think they make really interesting products. The reason they were a great guest for today is because they are the official cocktails for Delta. Delta’s really big about supporting hometown products, and Tip Top is made in Atlanta. We actually don’t have the two they have on those planes. They’ve got the Margarita and Old Fashioned. We’re tasting the Negroni and the Manhattan. I’ve never had the Manhattan before, so I’m really interested. I think that these are amazing. What you were saying earlier, Zach, is that this solves that problem where you can ensure a much higher quality cocktail in the air than just their bad tonic.

J: Right. I would buy this.

A: Agreed. You will now fly Delta all the time. Let’s try these.

Z: The cans are adorable, by the way.

A: Oh, they’re great. They did a great job.

J: They’re the best.

Z: This is clearly what Geoffrey, the Toys “R” Us giraffe, grew up to be. You guys know what I’m talking about. Toys “R” Us has a giraffe, and now Tip Top has a much more elegant giraffe on it. I assume Geoffrey grew up and got into cocktails.

A: Are we going to try the Negroni first or the Manhattan?

Z: I think the Negroni. I want to point out that the Manhattan is interestingly very dark in color. At least mine is.

A: We tasted their Old Fashioned for our canned cocktail roundup. I was not part of the tasting, but I walked out while they actually happened to be tasting this one. One of the things that two of our writers said was that they do color really well. Their Old Fashioned very clearly had a good amount of Angostura in it. It didn’t just look like whiskey. The Negroni has a nice color. It looks like a Negroni.

Z: It does. It doesn’t have quite the vivid red. They clearly are not using Campari in this. I don’t think it has that vivid hue, but it definitely looks like a Negroni. The other thing I wasn’t even thinking about until you mentioned the idea of the colors is that it says on the can, “Either enjoy straight from the can,” which I do not do — I poured mine into a glass — “or over ice,” which I also did not do. I just poured it out.

A: We didn’t pour it over ice, either.

Z: You can see how, especially with something like the Manhattan where you’re getting some dilution from the ice, you would want a little deeper color, so it still looks Manhattan-esque even with some dilution as opposed to looking too thin and tan, not brown.

A: This is a good Negroni.

J: Yeah. It’s really herbal.

A: It tastes like a very solid Negroni out of a can. I would drink this if it was on Delta. Delta, please stock the Negronis, at least when you fly out of New York.

Z: That’s a good idea. Serve them to or from New York. It’s a very tasty Negroni.

J: You can bring it to the park.

A: It’s great. All right, let’s try the Manhattan.

Z: For those of you who don’t have these in front of you, which presumably is all of you, this is made with rye, not with bourbon.

J: Yeah. I love this. I think they do a really good job.

A: It’s really good.

Z: My only qualm with it is maybe this is where drinking it from the can would be better. There’s an interesting aroma to it that I can’t quite place. It smells kind of like wood shavings, which isn’t an inherently bad thing, but it’s a little pronounced.

A: I got that. I wonder if that’s because it’s coming out of the can. Like, canned wine smells really weird when it first jumps into a glass.

Z: Yes, for sure.

J: I feel like if you dress these up or if there’s some garnish or something, it works.

A: They’re great.

Z: The Negroni, to me, is more of a standout, in part because if I’m thinking about a thing on an airplane, that’s something that I would never be able to recreate. Not that I would be able to recreate a Manhattan, either, but whiskey on an airplane, which is most of what’s in a Manhattan, I can do. You would never get something like the Negroni outside of this kind of context. It’s really cool to be able to have a cocktail that I love and that I think is well rendered on a plane would be very cool. Not that the Manhattan’s not good. I think it’s sort of the reason why they stock the Margarita, too. It’s another drink that you would never be able to get on an airplane in another format.

A: True. Well, guys, this was awesome. Thanks again, Joanna, for talking to the Tip Top crew.

J: Yes. Thank you, Tip Top.

A: I’ll talk to you guys on Monday.

J: Thanks.

Z: Sounds great.

Thanks so much for listening to the “VinePair Podcast.” If you love this show as much as we love making it, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show.

Now, for the credits, VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and Seattle, Washington, by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit. Also, I would love to give a special shout-out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all this possible and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you again.

Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.

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Answering Your Fall Travel Questions: Women Who Travel Podcast

MC: So moving onto Christmas and December holidays, if you’re trying to plan something a little more proactively, McKayla in the group says she is looking for something special Hallmark-y, somewhere that feels distinctly Christmas-y, somewhere with a nice main street, maybe a Christmas market, but she was looking specifically for domestic locations because I think if we were talking international, we’d have some pretty solid ideas, Germany or a river cruise being main ones. But as far as U.S. Christmas-y destinations go, does anyone have big suggestions for McKayla?

LA: This is incredibly obvious and I’m not sure if she is as interested in a big city or she’s thinking of a small town, but obviously I’m going to suggest New York. I also think that after last year’s very strange, sad, half-closed winter, this Christmas in New York is, I think, going to be really, really special and it’s beautiful and it hits all the spots and there are so many cozy bars and there are so many small businesses which need your support more than ever right now. And New York winters are rough, but I will say that I think New York in December is still really beautiful. It’s before the cold has really got bitterly cold. And I just think there’s going to be a really great feel in the air this year.

MC: If you’re looking for something a little smaller, I would suggest Charlotte, North Carolina. They have a relatively new Christmas market—I think this year will be the sixth year—but it really brings that kind of European Christmas market feel to Charlotte, there’s lots of Austrian food, Polish souvenirs, and you can get mugs of spiced glühwein. And you really can get in that Christmas spirit at their Christmas market, which is in uptown Charlotte. So if you want somewhere, it’s not going to be that cold, but somewhere…

MS: Which might be what you’re looking for.

MC: Exactly. I would suggest Charlotte and their christmas market goes for like the whole month from Thanksgiving to Christmas, so you have plenty of time.

LA: I’m also in full support of the glühwein. Because I cannot express my devastation when I moved to America and discovered that hot cider is not in fact alcoholic. I was just,

MS: Oh wait, it should be.

LA: Not the ones I’ve had.

MC: It’s just hot apple juice.

MS: I would also say my favorite affordable way to do a trip right at Christmas time is just like find, instead of trying to, if you’re trying to meet up with family or friends, see if you can go where someone already lives, just because like I know accommodations can get so expensive at that time. And I also feel like most small cities usually have some things going on that are nice for the holidays. So it can be a way to do it affordably too.

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TravelPulse Podcast: Fall Travel Outlook

In this World Tourism Day episode, TravelPulse Executive Editor Eric Bowman discusses the latest trending news in the travel industry, including updates on popular tourism destinations, the resumption of cruising at big ports and more.

Later in the show, Bowman interviews Greg Schulze, a Senior Vice President with Expedia Group. Schulze shares his insights into the fall travel season on what travelers can expect, which destinations are trending and more.

Be sure to subscribe to the TravelPulse Podcast at Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify and Stitcher.

Have any feedback or questions? Be sure to contact us at [email protected].

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What It Actually Takes to Become a Van Lifer: Women Who Travel Podcast

Erin McGrady: Thanks for having me.

Noami Grevemberg: Thank you so much for having me on.

MC: So to just set a baseline for everyone, about how much you both know, what got you into traveling and living in vans in the first place?

EM: My story starts with a romance. I’d been doing a solo adventure trip, and I had driven my car to Asheville, North Carolina, just on a whim. And I started swiping through a dating app and I matched up with my soon-to-be wife, partner, but we actually didn’t meet in real life that evening after matching, we didn’t meet until three months later, we just wrote long love letters back and forth to one another over the winter. And then we finally brought it into real time and then life just really took off from there. We both just quit our jobs. I was a teacher, she had a donut shop here in Asheville, and we decided we were just going to go for broke and travel. We bought an RV and the rest is kind of history.

MC: And Noami, how about you?

NG: Yeah, mine is a little bit of a romance as well. I actually love that story Erin. My husband, Dustin and I were living in New Orleans. We both had our full-time, nine-to-five corporate jobs. I was an environmental biologist and he worked in construction management and we were there just living our nine-to-five gigs and it just started getting really redundant and we started questioning ourselves, is this what we were going to do for the rest of our lives? Are we just going to work nine-to-five careers, come home, party, drink and repeat. And we started to take a step back and reevaluate our life’s trajectory. But when we met, it was probably five years prior to that on the day we met on an LSU football tailgate, I shared with him my dream of traveling the country in a van and visiting all the national parks and exploring America the beautiful, and he shared a similar feeling that he always wanted to do that.

So we decided at the same time to dig up an old dream of traveling the country in a van. And three months later, we were on the road in our van traveling. We kind of jumped head first into the idea because we knew we were going to talk ourselves out of it. I don’t recommend it to anyone, because I’m a headfirst-in kind of person, but it’s the best decision we ever made. And five years later here we are. It was supposed to be a one-year journey from New Orleans to Alaska and back.

MC: You’ve got a lot more places, I’m sure, than just along that original route.

NG: I mean six months in we were like, “Ah, I don’t think we want to stop doing this.”

LA: It must’ve felt quite scary to take that leap and quit your jobs. Were there any moments where either of you got cold feet or sort of took a beat and was like, “What are we doing right now? Is this totally irresponsible?”

NG: Well, all our friends were telling us that. All our family members were like, “This is pretty out there, guys.” And we’re like, “Yeah, it’s a radical shift.” Honestly, we did. All the noise of everyone else’s opinions and suggestions about what we’re doing with our lives affected the decision. But we decided to put the blinders on and just stay focused because deep down inside, it was a calling, we had a calling and we had to see it through, we both felt the same way. So we looked at each other, the morning after we decided to do it and we’re like, “Well, are we doing this? Yeah, we’re doing this. Okay. Let’s go.” So it was hard, but I’m glad we did it.

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TravelPulse Podcast: On location in Cancun for WTTC 2021 Global Summit

On a special Monday edition of the podcast, host Eric Bowman is live in Cancun, Mexico at Moon Palace Resort for the 2021 World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit.

Mark Chesnut, travel writer and owner of LatinFlyer.com, joins Bowman this week and the two discuss the latest trending topics in the world of travel, including some great news for travel to Europe as well as the latest big news in the cruise industry.

After that, Bowman and Chesnut share their experiences so far at the WTTC Global Summit, the first in-person global travel event since the pandemic.

Be sure to subscribe to the TravelPulse Podcast at Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify and Stitcher.

Have any feedback or questions? Be sure to contact us at [email protected].

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Preview, tips, predictions, Fox Footy commentators, podcast

Collingwood faces yet another defining ANZAC Day battle with rivals Essendon.

The Dees, meanwhile, may have a joker in the pack to curb the influence of Dustin Martin.

Every club’s burning question ahead of Round 6, as well as the Fox Footy Podcast ‘Cups’, tips and commentators for every Fox Footy game in our ultimate weekly preview: The Blowtorch.

Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >



Friday April 23, 7.50pm at Manuka Oval

How to watch on Fox Footy: Channel 504 from 7pm, hosted by Garry Lyon with Nick Riewoldt, Jonathan Brown, Nick Dal Santo and Jon Ralph.

Giants’ burning question: Will the Giants target Bont?

There’s no Matt de Boer this time around, but the spitefulness in these contests means there’ll be no shortage of attention for the Bulldogs’ midfield brigade and more specifically their leader. On paper, the injuries the Giants have sustained make this look like a gross mismatch, but there’s always something different in this matchup that brings out the best in both sides. The issue for the Giants is that combating the Dogs’ midfield is like a game of whack-a-mole; keep one down, two others bob up.

Bulldogs’ burning question: Are the Bulldogs prepared for a spiteful contest?

Yes, they were tested mightily by the Eagles, but that was an engrossing contest from a pure footy standpoint. Against the Giants, there is so much more than just the in-play battle. Even Collingwood in Round 1, after all the build-up about Adam Treloar against his old side, was underwhelming given the lack of spitefulness between both sides. The Dogs and the Giants never fail to deliver in this department and this is likely to be the first genuine ‘grit’ test Luke Beveridge’s men face after an impressive start to the year.


Saturday April 24, 1.45pm at GMHBA Stadium

How to watch on Fox Footy: Channel 504 from 12pm with the Saturday Countdown team of Anthony Hudson, Dermott Brereton and David King before Sarah Jones hosts the call from Mark Howard, Jonathan Brown and Jordan Lewis.

Cats’ burning question: How will Jeremy Cameron go in new colours?

Geelong coach Chris Scott was brimming with confidence when he declared Cameron a certain starter in his post-game press conference, allowing footy fans to see the formation of what looms as a deadly forward line with Tom Hawkins and the club’s prized recruit. The Cats sold the farm to get Cameron – for very good reason – and after recovering from a pre-Round 1 hamstring strain, he is ready to go and dominate for the club. It might take some time to click, so the Cats will be hopeful it comes sooner rather than later after their slow start in 2021. But after dominating for the Giants, there’s no reason why Cameron can’t begin his stint at Geelong with a bang.

Eagles’ burning question: Can the Eagles finally win on the road?

West Coast has not won away from home in 2021 and greater consistency is required for Adam Simpson’s team if they want to compete against the big clubs outside of Optus Stadium. The last time the Eagles were in Victoria, they coughed up a 33-point lead to lose by 20-points at the hands of St Kilda. They travel down the highway to a venue that has been a fortress for the Cats in the past decade, upping the task for West Coast. If the Eagles want to make a statement, there’s no better place to do it as the Cats are down on form and struggling to put together a perfect four-quarter effort. Win against Geelong and West Coast might find themselves back in the conversation as one of the first seeded teams after Round 6. Here’s the issue for West Coast: Geelong has beaten the Eagles in the two teams’ past eight clashes in Victoria by an average margin of almost nine goals. And when you consider the Eagles have a 19-3 record in Perth but an 11-11 ratio outside WA since the start of 2019, you can understand why there are question marks on Adam Simpson’s men.


Saturday April 24, 1.45pm at Metricon Stadium

How to watch on Fox Footy: Channel 503 from 1.30pm, with Brenton Speed, Gerard Healy, Alastair Lynch and Ben Dixon.

Suns’ burning question: Can Stuart Dew prove the Suns have a soul?

Questions have rightly been asked about the Gold Coast Suns after the Queensland team was tipped to take big strides up the ladder in 2021. Fox Footy’s On The Couch panel believes the onus is on the coach to get the best out of his team, that is largely at full strength bar young star Matt Rowell and ruck Jarrod Witts. Dew has coached just 13 wins in his 66 games leading the club, with Jonathan Brown wanting more from the side that has often copped flack for being stuck at the bottom of the ladder. With 2021 a year that was supposed to bring success, a game like Saturday’s is a non-negotiable for the club to take out.

Swans’ burning question: Will the young Swans begin to run out of gas?

Sydney coach John Longmire put it firmly on the agenda this week when he mentioned the possibility of resting a number of the club’s young stars. It has been first-year players Logan McDonald, Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden that have caught the eye of the competition, alongside other youngsters like Sam Wicks and Chad Warner. With experienced heads Dane Rampe, Isaac Heeney, Lance Franklin and Tom Hickey out of the side, extra pressure will be placed on a number of Sydney second-tier players. All eyes are on the Swans team and whether they begin to slump down the ladder after suffering their first loss of the year in Round 5.


Saturday April 24, 4.35pm at Marvel Stadium

How to watch on Fox Footy: Channel 504 from 4.30pm, with Dwayne Russell, Jason Dunstall, Nick Riewoldt and Cameron Mooney.

Blues’ burning question: Will the Blues stand up for something on Saturday night?

Carlton have been smashed from pillar to post after slumping to 2-3 after the opening five games, with club legend Mark Maclure calling for the team to set some standards and hold their teammates accountable. The Blues head into the game as heavy underdogs and while a win is seemingly more unlikely than likely, David Teague’s team need to show something to sell the dream. Effort isn’t negotiable and questions will again come on the club if the margin blows out at Marvel Stadium.

Lions’ burning question: Is Lachie Neale back to his best?

The reigning Brownlow Medal winner had an under-par start to the season after nursing a back injury. But it seems those concerns have been put behind him with the midfielder producing his best game of the year. The 27-year-old had 38 disposals, eight clearances, six inside 50s and two goals in the big win over Essendon, moving freely in the middle. A head-to-head battle looms with Blues gun Patrick Cripps on Saturday and with Neale appearing to be at near 100 per cent fitness, it could be a battle for the ages and go a long way to deciding who takes the three Brownlow votes.


Saturday April 24, 7.25pm at the MCG

How to watch on Fox Footy: Channel 504 from 7.10pm with the Saturday Stretch team of Kath Loughnan, Jordan Lewis, Brad Johnson and Tom Morris.

Demons’ burning question: How do they handle Dustin Martin?

It should be the burning question for every team that comes up against Richmond every week, such is the superstar’s ability to turn a game. But as Leigh Montagna pointed out on Sunday night, the Saints didn’t seem to have a plan during their Round 5 loss as Martin accumulated 34 disposals, while the Tiger has also beaten up on the Hawks and Blues. However the Demons might have the ideal match-up for Martin for Saturday night’s blockbuster clash, with Michael Hibberd, who returned to the senior team for the win over Hawthorn, a good chance man up on Martin at both centre bounces and inside the Tigers’ forward 50. David King told First Crack: “That’s the plan that is the most likely to bring success.”

Tigers’ burning question: Will there be reason to panic if the Tigers lose?

Fresh off a huge win over St Kilda, Richmond has another big test after a far from perfect start to 2021. Damien Hardwick’s side was shocked by Sydney and then lost to premiership contenders Port Adelaide, leaving them at 2-2 before the Saints clash. With a largely one-way game for three quarters, it will be up to the Tigers to ensure they can avoid any slip up and begin to be questioned over their capabilities to collect a three-peat. The Tigers face the Western Bulldogs and Geelong in the next month, so will be looking to avoid any slip ups.


Saturday April 24, 8.15pm at the Optus Stadium

How to watch on Fox Footy: Channel 503 from 8pm, with Adam Papalia, Dermott Brereton, David King and Matthew Pavlich.

Dockers’ burning question: Where do they sit?

The win over Adelaide last week could prove a turning point for the Dockers, who had struggled to get into a good run of form over the opening few rounds. They’ve got a chance to notch three straight wins if they get over North Melbourne, but the opponents they’ve defeated leave questions. Hawthorn are expected to finish in the bottom four and yet the (wayward) Dockers only won by 15 points on their home deck, while the Crows remain a relative unknown despite their fast start to the season. Their performance against North Melbourne should give us a clearer picture of how far above the bottom rung they are. Needless to say, a win is a non-negotiable for them if they’re to push for finals.

Kangaroos’ burning question: Did we undersell their effort last week?

It was virtually a given North Melbourne were going to lose to Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, but they well and truly pushed the Cats for much of the contest. Geelong aren’t going all that well at the moment, granted, but the Roos deserve credit for how they’ve rebounded from their shellacking at the hands of the Bulldogs a couple of weeks ago. They fell away in the final term against Adelaide and again against the Cats, but their resolve in the past couple of weeks suggests a road trip to Perth to face the Dockers isn’t as daunting as it may’ve seemed a fortnight ago.


Sunday April 25, 12.30pm at UTAS Stadium

How to watch on Fox Footy: Channel 504 from 12pm, hosted by Garry Lyon, Jonathan Brown and Nick Riewoldt before Dwayne Russell, Jason Dunstall, David King and Nick Dal Santo take up the call.

Hawks’ burning question: Would a loss to Adelaide kick-start a Clarko rebuild?

Hawthorn is in a precarious position at 17th on the ladder with a single win for the year. But just where are the Hawks out? With a lack of top draft talent coming into the club, Alastair Clarkson’s side is somewhat stuck in the middle as they go through a development phase. Finals is certain off the agenda this year, but do they need to play the kids and find out where they sit? Kane Cornes explained another win against a so-so side would change Hawthorn’s plans and think they aren’t far off – given they were right in the game against Melbourne in Round 5 – compared to realising their actual status in the competition. Ollie Hanrahan was one of Hawthorn’s best on Sunday and there’s hope for a number of other young Hawks. But Clarkson must given them a chance to flourish and show their wares in a number of games.

Crows’ burning question: Could another loss be the catalyst for an early season slump?

So far in 2021, Adelaide has exceeded expectations set on them at the start of the year, with many footy pundits fearing they wouldn’t win more than a few games. But Matthew Nicks’ team find themselves in the top eight and could’ve been further up the ladder if not for a final term switch off against Fremantle. However, there’s no doubting Sunday’s match is a danger game that could go either way. Hawthorn has struggled this season and are rebuilding, and if Adelaide cannot defeat them it could burst the bubble that has been so promising this year. The Crows have games against the Power and Bulldogs in the next month, so will want to be on their game against the Hawks.


Sunday April 25, 3.20pm at MCG

How to watch on Fox Footy: Channel 504 from 3pm, hosted by Garry Lyon with Jonathan Brown, Nick Riewoldt, Kath Loughnan and Jon Ralph.

Magpies’ burning question: What happens if they suffer a big loss?

With Buckley in the last year of his contract, the central question will always be what win-loss ratio can the coach absorb for him to continue in his role next year. The Pies are 1-4 after five rounds, with the Bombers, Suns and Kangaroos to come over the next three rounds. Tom Morris suggested on First Crack it’d be hard to see Buckley coaching in 2022 if they don’t win at least five of their next eight games, while Leigh Montagna added if the Pies don’t make the finals that Buckley and the club could have “serious conversations” about Collingwood “starting fresh”. A significant defeat at the hands of Essendon – an injury-ravaged team in unpredictable form – would undoubtedly make the Pies – and Buckley – top of the agenda on all the Monday night TV shows.

Bombers’ burning question: Which version will rock up to the MCG?

It’s been hard to get a read on Ben Rutten’s side across the first five weeks of the season. Significant injuries to Dylan Shiel, Sam Draper, Michael Hurley and Jye Caldwell certainly haven’t helped their cause, but the numbers don’t paint a great picture for Essendon so far. The Bombers are ranked 17th in both contested possession and clearance differential, while they’re 16th for both inside 50 differential and points conceded. Their stunning Round 3 performance against St Kilda was off the charts, but how much of that can we attribute to the Saints being poor? They were arguably stiff to lose to the Swans, but got annihilated in the contested ball and clearance count that night. Many will tip the Bombers for Saturday’s game against Collingwood, but they’re far from an automatic selection.


Sunday April 25, 6.40pm at Adelaide Oval

How to watch on Fox Footy: Channel 504 from 6.30pm, hosted by Sarah Jones with Anthony Hudson, Dermott Brereton, Gerard Healy and Mark Ricciuto, followed by Bounce and First Crack.

Power’s burning question: Is Ollie Wines slipping under the radar?

According to Leigh Montagna he is. At the age of 26 and in his ninth AFL campaign, Wines is having a career-best season. He’s averaging career-high disposals (30.6), uncontested possessions (15.6) and inside 50s (5.2), while his 14.8 contested possession average is also a personal-best and ranked third in the AFL. The Power, like all teams, rely heavily on winning footy at the coalface – and Wines is setting the standard for his club this year. Montagna told First Crack: “Ollie Wines is slipping under the radar with what he’s doing for Port Adelaide. Because he’s a bit unfashionable the way he plays, he’s slipping through the cracks. He’s having an enormous season.”

Saints’ burning question: Is this week the final chance to prove they’re not pretenders?

It’s a long season, but in the past month the Saints have been beaten by Melbourne, torched by Essendon, saved by a 20-minute burst against West Coast and then pummelled by Richmond. Judging by what we’ve seen so far, three of those four teams look to be set for spots in the final eight, while the Saints’ opponent this week is another that will be there at the pointy end. Not many matches in footy give you an audit quite like Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval. A win on the road against a premiership fancy is the sort of thing that can turn a season around … while a horror loss could condemn it.

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TravelPulse Podcast: Should There Be a Vaccine Passport for Travel?

Happy #TravelTuesday!

Host Eric Bowman discusses the latest trending topics in the travel industry, including major cruise news and some positive news on reopenings around the world.

This week, Bowman is joined by David Hartman, luxury travel advisor with Fantastic Endeavors. In addition to recapping what’s trending in the world of travel, the two dive deep into the debate around vaccine passports for travel.

Be sure to subscribe to the TravelPulse Podcast at Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify and Stitcher.

Have any feedback or questions? Be sure to contact us at [email protected].

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TravelPulse Podcast: How Music + Travel Go Together

Happy #TravelTuesday!

This week, host Eric Bowman discusses the latest trending topics in the travel industry, including new CDC travel guidelines, major cruise news and more.

Later in the show, Bowman interviews Laura Fernandez, the head of Travel + Tourism advertising business for SiriusXM and its brands Pandora, SoundCloud and Stitcher. Fernandez shares insights into Pandora’s research on how much music impacts travelers, as well as some of the top cities out there music lovers should consider.

Be sure to subscribe to the TravelPulse Podcast at Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify and Stitcher.

Have any feedback or questions? Be sure to contact us at [email protected].

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PODCAST – ReThink: Travel Retail

At the beginning of 2020 the travel retail distribution channel represented one-third of revenues for some traditional beauty brands.

The global pandemic exposed the beauty industries over-reliance on this sector that had been a ‘growth winner’ for years. 

With many traditional retailers doors still shut what should/could the post-pandemic travel retail experience look like? 

This months panel 

Nicole Fall CEO & Founder at  Asian Consumer Intelligence

Laura Saunter Senior Retail analyst at Global trends agency WGSN

Ashley Dudarenok Founder of ChoZan and Alarice

Discuss how to ReThink -Travel Retail 

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