A new global drinks body – the Circle of Drinks Freeloaders – has been launched today.
Claiming to be ‘100% relevant to 99% of drinks writers’ the Circle describes itself on its website as ‘a professional organisation for people who aren’t.’
‘We’re here for people who like the idea of writing about drink for a living, but just fall short in a few key areas,’ said Maisie Ligger, president of the Freeloaders.
‘Such as talent, knowledge and application.’
Open to all
Membership is open to anyone who ‘goes to tastings, owns a laptop and means well’ anywhere in the world. Members have to write one article a year of ‘more than 100 words, and ideally not entirely cut and pasted from a press release’.
‘Once you drill down below the A-listers, there’s a vast pool of international mediocrity that’s frankly playing at it,’ said Ms Ligger. ‘So we’re hopeful of pulling in some big numbers.’
The Circle was welcomed by Parker Roberts of the Group of Boozy Scribblers Hacks and Industry Taste Explainers (GOBSHITE).
‘Let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to make an actual living writing about drink,’ he told Fake Booze, ‘so an organisation that’s aimed at those of us who choose our subject matter depending on whether there’s a good lunch, decent samples or a free trip in the offing is long overdue.’
Helping people who were essentially retired or unemployed to feel useful and important was, he said, ‘an incredibly valuable service’.
We’re watching you
Although the qualification criteria for entry might seem relatively easy to attain – ‘basically anyone who writes one article a year and can pay the subs’ – the Circle of Drinks Freeloaders says that it has a strict code of conduct.
‘We will not tolerate abuse, hate speech or discrimination in any form,’ said Ms Ligger. ‘Anyone found acting inappropriately will be instantly dismissed.
‘And that includes doing anything approaching actual journalism.’
Members, she said, had to commit to three basic stories: that everything is slightly better than it was a year ago even when it isn’t; that it’s always worth telling readers to pay more for a bottle – particularly if the producers of the bottle in question have flown you to Italy for the weekend; and that you’re totally across all the hot new drinks trends despite the fact you haven’t bought a bottle for 15 years don’t go out unless someone else is paying, and have no friends outside the industry.
Undermining our efforts
The Circle of Wine Writers, Hexagon of Scotch Hacks and Rhombus of Beer Scribblers all condemned the body as being ‘unnecessary’, ‘irrelevant’ and ‘even easier to join than we are.’
‘This new body belittles the serious work done by our serious members who take their profession seriously,’ said Sam Ples-Please of the Hexagon of Scotch Hacks.
‘I would explain exactly why its so wrong in more detail,’ she said, ‘but I’m incredibly busy. I’ve got two press releases to rewrite before lunch, then the launch of a new £5,000 bottle of whisky that’s been aged in the fuselage of an old space shuttle to get to.
‘Apparently they’re giving out half-bottles and a chunk of moon rock to press, which should make me a packet on eBay.’