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18th November 2015

Interview: Nadia Saccardo, co-founder of Pallet magazine

- by Ali Gitlow

Pallet is a new quarterly magazine for people who, in the words of its founders Nadia Saccardo and Rick Bannister, like to ‘think and drink’. Taking craft beer as a loose theme, it is full of whip-smart writing, lush photography and slick illustrations. The first issue includes a profile on one of Munich’s oldest wooden barrel makers, a look at which beers politicians drink when they want to convey particular aspects of their personalities, Breaking Bad-inspired beer recipes and an opinion piece on non-alcoholic beer. What gives Pallet its distinctive flair, though, is the fact that not all content skews beer-y: issue 1 also includes a tableside chat with Eric Wareheim of comedy duo Tim & Eric, a history of Zambian rock music and a photo essay on American truck drivers. What ultimately emerges is a fresh, well-rounded, contemporary take on the zeitgeist surrounding craft beer. With almost 4,000 international breweries in operation right now, the world seems poised and ready for a magazine like this.

Native Australians Nadia and Rick co-founded Smith Journal in 2011, which they presided over for 3 years before deciding to move on and create Pallet. Earlier on in his career Rick had taken a detour from the publishing world to learn to be a brewer, so it seemed like a natural focal point for their new venture. The duo travelled to America to check out the lay of the land (both craft beer and publishing-wise) before Nadia decided to settle in New York City and fully embrace her new role with the magazine.

We at Zetteler are particularly excited about Pallet because our founder Sabine and Nadia go way back. Despite having worked together at Mr & Mrs Smith’s Melbourne office in 2011, they didn’t actually meet until later in London, when they became fast friends. We’re thrilled to have spoken to Nadia ahead of the mag’s launch:

What is the vibe you’re trying to convey with Pallet?
Craft beer is a prefect excuse to write about anything, and the content does always come back to beer, in a way. If there is a natural beer tie-in to a piece that’s great, but the wider content is really a reflection of what we are interested in personally. We also feel connected to the spirit of the audience that we’re trying to reach, which is ourselves. So, people who are interested in music but don’t necessarily want to read reviews, people who like beautiful photo features but want a little bit of depth and context attached to them. It's about reflecting that nuanced appreciation for a whole range of different things, not just one product or one genre.

Why do you think people are particularly interested in beer right now?
I think the lower cost to start brewing now is a big conduit to that kind of thing. Craft beer in America is established: it’s over 35 years old. The bigger breweries have been doing their thing for a while. That culture has taken off not on a niche level but on more of a mass level. It also comes down to that tipping point of something getting a wider mouthpiece.

Your general bar-goer will, even from simply seeing all the options, realize there’s a whole other world out there to be explored.
Totally, and maybe think, ‘I really love stout, I’m going to try and make my own’. It’s not that difficult. I mean, it’s very difficult to make a good beer, but it’s not that difficult to make a beer.

Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, is serving as executive editor of the magazine. How did you bring him on board?
He’s such a legend. We basically blind emailed him out of the blue, thanks to a contact of Rick's in the Aussie brewing industry. He invited us down to stay at the brewery in Delaware – Dogfish has a really cool inn there. We pitched him on the idea of being an Executive Editor and he was really into it. As someone to work with and as a company to be associated with, it has been nothing but a pleasure so far.

Will each issue have a particular theme?
We thought about doing themes, but it can also limit what you can cover or push a square peg into a round hole. There will be recurring sections, though. ‘A Beer With’ is the feature that opens the mag. In issue 1 we’ve got Tim & Eric. There will be regular opinion pieces. The section that closes the mag is called ‘Last Call’, where a person has an imaginary conversation with their 21-year-old self. Apart from that, the content will be quite varied.

What is your favourite beer?
I really like a lot of Ommegang’s beers; I recently had their wheat beer. After Rick and I did our tour last year, we got back to New York and went to a bar and had a sour. I’d never until that trip tasted sour beers before. I had a sip and I was like, ‘This isn’t a sour!’ And he was like, ‘Whoa, you’re a beer nerd now, aren’t you!’ Man, so true. Last week I went down to Red Hook and visited Sixpoint. Their beers are pretty heavy, like double IPAs, so I can’t have too much but they’re so tasty.

Sixpoint Sweet Action is so good! And the name – it’s got style.
It’s definitely a nice one to order over the bar.

Pallet issue 1 is on shelves in North America now. It is available via subscription and single copy orders in the UK and Europe – plus will be on shelves there in early 2017.

allthingspallet.com

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