0

Style, Flavor, Awards: DC’s Favorite New Wine has a Secret

Style, Flavor, Awards: DC’s Favorite New Wine Jøyus non-alcoholic wines has a Secret. Not just for #SoberOctober, but its award-winning tastes help you celebrate all year-long.

Jøyus non-alcoholic wines not only taste like wine, but great wine. With the industry awards to prove it. 

Recently I sat down with Jøyus leader Jessica Selander.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  You can find the full, un-edited conversation on our YouTube page.

 

 

Can you give us a personal story, maybe that includes the celebration of wine, if you have one?

Jessica Selander: The story is very personal and the funny thing is I get so nervous before talking about things because when I started Joyus, I did not originally [think about] doing things like this, being so face forward. 

I thought I would create a product that I was really excited about.  Eventually I came to realize, how do I do that without telling the “why did I do it?”

The whole reason that Joyus exists and it influences everything I do is because I’m sober.  I quit drinking alcohol 17 years ago now, which just feels like a fantastical amount of time.

For me, it’s been very rewarding. I’m very glad about it. But it was definitely something that was really hard and very personal. It wasn’t something I shared about publicly. So that’s also why this is a journey of getting comfortable talking about my sobriety, my recovery.

I like the taste of wine. I like beautiful glasses. I like the smell of wine.  I love the community and people; and hanging out and celebrating.  It literally says ’let’s celebrate’ on our bottles.  How great sparkling is for summer, but sparkling is such a happy thing.

You know what I mean? Something good happens in your life and people are like, let’s celebrate. Let’s pop some bottles. New Year’s Eve is such a beautiful idea of let’s start over. Whatever happened last year, whatever terrible things went down, there’s a brand new year.

It’s a new idea that we can celebrate either that past year that was good or celebrate the potential of a new year. That’s going to be better and that’s sparkling. 

And for me, I didn’t have any options. 

I started Joyus nine years ago. People ask me how long the company’s been around and we launched about two years ago. So it took me a very long time to figure it out, to save up the money to do it because as you can imagine, nine years ago, people thought it was crazy.

They’re like, ‘That’s a terrible idea. Nobody wants that’. And I’m like ’I want it’.

Having quit drinking, I had a lot of friends that also didn’t drink. I had a lot of people in my life too, who were just light drinkers – could give or take alcohol.  Then I have two kids and there’s a huge percent of the population that quits drinking for nine months [because they’re pregnant], sometimes even longer.

You can get into medications, you’re not supposed to drink on it. Anxiety medication, not supposed to drink on it. Heart medication, cancer treatments. There’s a lot of medical stuff too, that you could go down the list.

So I get a lot of people now who are like, ‘Oh, it’s not alcoholic. It’s trending.’ And that’s a thing now. 

Early on in my sobriety, I actually used to drink a lot of soda pop out of glass bottles, and then eventually discovered non alcoholic beer.

Non alcoholic beer is definitely having a really cool movement right now. There’s so many different options for non alcoholic beer, but the beer has always been around. 

I was like, this exists and it tastes like beer. What’s up with non-alcoholic wine?

There was one sparkling [non-alcoholic wine] in the entire country and that’s all you could find. There was one white and there was one red and that was it.

For me these options were really sweet. They were very affordable, which is nice, but they didn’t have the complete experience that I was going for. I wanted non alcoholic wine that tastes like wine. 

I wanted something that I could bring to a gathering and bring to a get together and have it feel appropriate and look appropriate and just look like everybody else’s [alcoholic] bottles.  Smell like everyone else’s bottles that you just wouldn’t even know that it was non alcoholic until you saw it on the label. And that’s what I did.

So after trying to find it for forever, eventually I was like, I’m going to do it myself. And I had no idea that this whole sober curious, non alcoholic world would take off like it has at exactly the right time.

So part of me is very frustrated that it took so long. But part of that too, it was like saving up the money to start the company.

This is a bootstrap company.  I like making my own decisions. A side effect after getting to this point is I’m 100% in control of all the decisions, which also means that I can control the quality because [it] is incredibly expensive to make.

 

Let’s talk about your sober story.  What it means to you, how you got there, what your mission is, how that helps others.

 

Jessica Selander: So for me, I can’t drink alcohol. What happens when I put alcohol in my body is that I make decisions I don’t want to be making.  

I tried a lot of things. I tried cutting back and it didn’t work. I tried replacing [the drinks and that didn’t work].

My life became pretty chaotic. 

I stopped drinking and once I get my life in order, then everything will be fine. I can drink again. 

Then after not drinking for a period of time, I was like, Oh, you know what?  There’s actually something to this and it’s something deeper and it’s probably the best thing I ever did, honestly, in my life. 

I would not be the person I am today on the inside if I had kept drinking.

I have a wonderful spouse and I’ve got amazing kids and I’m able to be a parent and be a person and do that clear eyed and there’s a lot of my upbringing was not the most positive. 

Sober curious, it’s a hashtag now. 

I’m not saying alcohol shouldn’t exist. I’m not that kind of person whatsoever. 

On a personal level it is so exciting to see other brands pop up. The first time I tried non-alcoholic tequila, it blew my mind. It was amazing. The spirits are interesting because some people build it up from science and some people are de-alkalizing; taking the alcohol out.

So that’s the really interesting thing about this. Normally spirits are completely separate from wine, which are very separate from beer, but in non-alcoholic, we’re all in the same swimming pool and everybody’s doing it differently and everybody’s got their own take and you can try one non-alcoholic whiskey and it’s incredibly different from another one.

Community not competition is one of our core values.  Normalizing non drinking is a big one. It’s not necessarily replacing alcohol either. I’ve talked to people in the wine industry who are very offended by the idea of non alcoholic wine.  I’m like no, it’s backwards. You’ve got it backwards. Non-alcoholic wine is a love letter to wine. You love wine so much that you still want to have it. You just can’t have this one piece that’s in it [the alcohol], but I want everything else. 

I want to cheers that glass with other people. I want to drink that red with a really strong stinky cheese. I want to pop that celebratory cork. I want to Rose all day. I just can’t.

I think that wine is very important culturally. It’s so interesting historically. The process is this fascinating mix of art and science.  I love everything about it. Getting deeper and deeper into it too, because I want Joyus to be around for forever and I want to make the best possible non-alcoholic wine.

There’s so much stuff to perfect that I could spend the next 50 years just working on non-alcoholic red – period.

 

You mentioned you’re seeing other competitors in the marketplace. How many different ways are there to make non-alcoholic wine?  Are some ways higher quality than others?

 

Jessica Selander: I can give tips. Our wine is a dealcoholized or alcohol removed wine, which means it’s gone through the whole winemaking process.

It’s aged, it’s fermented, and then we have removed the alcohol from it. Our bottles also say it’s non alcoholic. Sometimes you’ll see a bottle in the store and it just says non alcoholic on it. It doesn’t say dealcoholized or alcohol removed. They’re interchangeable. That means it wasn’t fermented.

So if you’re looking for a wine that is really going to taste like wine or have that fermented taste, look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed.

[Look at the label on the bottle] look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed, because it could say that it’s a non alcoholic red or a non-alcoholic grape [varietal] and it might just be a juice, that hasn’t been fermented or ages but comes in a wine bottle.

 

What are your goals in the present moment and in the near future to help your company continue to be a leader in the industry?

 

Jessica Selander: I think goals are accessibility. Normalizing sober drinking.  Making [non-alcoholic bottles] easy to find.  We do ship off our website, which is great. We’re shipping from Seattle. We ship everything ourselves.  If you’re out East, it’s going to take four or five days to get to you. 

Also starting to talk to restaurants, getting into more restaurants is a big one.  I’ve had anniversary dinners with my spouse and I’m drinking an Arnold Palmer.

I’m calling restaurants and I’m calling grocery stores and they’re still really skeptical that it can be good and that people want it.

 

Do you think it’s just audience reaching out? Is there a tipping point?

 

Jessica Selander: Yes, that really helps having people being in a restaurant and saying, “Hey, what do you have that’s an alcoholic?” Because restaurants are saying nobody’s asking for it. 

Here I am double digit sober and I had never gone into a restaurant and asked for it.

I would look at the [menu’s] non alcoholic section, which is always juice, soda pop, iced tea and stuff. If it’s not on the menu, I would never ask them for anything. Here I am for over a decade, not telling them that I want this thing. So we started doing more education on social media and online.

If you walk into a restaurant, ask them “What do you have that’s not alcoholic?”

Just pregnant people alone. There’s a large percentage of the population.

Is there science that says a pregnant woman can drink this and have zero concerns?

 

Jessica Selander: Yes. So this is super interesting. In the United States we’re the most strict in terms of alcohol. If you go to the UK, they have different, actually higher limits for how much alcohol can be in something. The US’s rules come from prohibition when you can’t sell, make, transport alcohol.

The government said once it gets under 0.5%, it’s not alcohol anymore. So that’s where that number comes from and sometimes people see it and say, “Oh, there’s a little bit of alcohol in this.” 

There was a study done in Germany where they tested a lot of grocery store items.  What they found was there’s a lot of stuff in our grocery stores that had a little bit of alcohol in it. Very ripe bananas, which we feed to toddlers have some alcohol in them. Orange juice is another one.

American hamburger buns. But it also makes sense, bread, yeast and we have more sugar in our products, right? Bread actually has more alcohol than people realize. 

Let’s talk about your wine’s flavors and aromas and the winemaking process to get there.

Jessica Selander: I knew what I wanted and I was incredibly picky about it. 

We launched with the sparkling white and the sparkling Rose’ and people were asking for a Rose’ with no bubbles.

I thought it would be easy.  It was not easy. 

Stills are very different from sparkling. I’m a balance of “I know what I want. I’m going for this thing and very focused”, but then I’m also balanced with listening. So we do a lot of focus groups. I do want feedback.  I do want opinions. 

We were working on it.  Everyone’s saying it’s good, it’s great.  But I didn’t think it was good enough. We were supposed to launch it in summer and I pushed everything back.  Back to the drawing board. 

What if we did this? What if that?  Talking to people, reading science and chemistry books

Was it like working for the right blend?

Jessica Selander: It’s tweaking so many different things and pieces in the blend. But it doesn’t always work out.  If you tweak a blend, sometimes other notes will come forward that you’re not expecting, or sometimes you’ve diminished things that you didn’t intend to diminish.

The still Rose is a great example, it didn’t have that click and so I just kept working on it. And that’s the one that won Double Gold and Best in Class in the San Francisco International Wine Competition, which is one of the biggest and oldest blind tastings in the world and the biggest and oldest blind tasting in the U.S.

 

Can you share any details and lessons you learned taking on the world of winemaking?

 

Jessica Selander: There’s so many things.  We’re not just making wine.  We’re wholesale, we’re distributing, we’re direct to consumer. We have so many different facets. 

I could talk for hours about how our wines are very low in sugar and they don’t have the alcohol in them. So our [bottles] probably freeze easier than anything else on the market. So shipping during the winter.

I’ve had conversations with other non alcoholic people too.  Everybody’s doing it differently and that’s the hard part too, where I feel like there’s a solution for every problem.

We’ve gotten better and better at winter shipping, but it’s not quite there yet.  Figuring out what can we ship in that’s going to have thermal protection, but isn’t going to contribute a ton of garbage. We’ve got the most eco-friendly, innovative winter shippers.  They’re made of corn. 

They’re expensive as hell, but it’s better than styrofoam. We have to keep everything under 50 pounds for UPS and 12 bottles of sparkling is 51 pounds in these corn shippers.

That thermal protection is still not enough, so we added heat packs. 

Let’s talk about your wines.

 

Jessica Selander: We have four varietals.  We’ve got our sparkling white, a sparkling Rosé. Still Rosé, a Cabernet Sauvignon. I love our red a lot. The reds are hard. They’re the most complicated; red wine has the highest alcohol content to begin with.

What flavor notes should we be looking for?

 

Jessica Selander: It’s definitely an American Cab. More fruit forward. It’s not grape juice. It’s fermented, it’s aged in American oak so you’ll get some green-ness to, like forest floor.  The longer it’s been open the more tasting notes you’ll get. I like it more and more throughout the week because the fruit notes settle down. Black currant, cherry, some leather 

The still rosé, watermelon, a nice floral to it. 

Sparkling rosé. Slightly floral.  Some orange blossom to it.  Blackberry, but some people say raspberry. Some people say strawberry.  They’re very summery

I think sometimes tasting notes feel in excess because we all taste things very differently. 

Our audience is foodies. Let’s talk a little bit about some of your favorite meals that you think would pair that your favorite pairings with your wines

 

Jessica Selander: I bake. I come from a big family, so I can pretty much cook anything. 

I heard someone say one time that baking was more science. And cooking was more art and I do agree with that. 

Let’s talk about the wine competitions. How you see them, what the experience has been like, and of course, what their results have been.

Jessica Selander: I did not know that competition was as big of a deal as it is [which was a blessing].  So what happened was I was beating my head against the wall being like, “They taste like wine!”  And my brother said, nobody believes you. You have to enter them into wine competitions. You need to prove to them in their own landscape that you belong there. 

So, here’s this competition. The first one, the sparkling rosé won gold and sparkling white won bronze.

Then I looked deeper into what the competition was [and realized it was the acclaimed San Francisco International Wine Competition & World Spirits Competition ]. It was a blessing because I think I would have been scared to do it. Then [next year] I do it with the Still Rose and the Cab.  Then hearing back, you’ve got the highest a non-alcoholic has ever gotten and you’re Still Rose is the best non-alcoholic wine of any varietal entered from all over the world. 

I was only wondering if it was even going to place, and here it ends up winning the best.

I was at a grocery store [today] I’ve been trying to get into for two years where the head buyer won’t even try it. So it’s [frustrating] but the more of these awards that we stack up, at some point in time they have to not ignore it. They’ll be like, Oh, this is a real thing.

We haven’t [hit that goal], it’s not normalized yet. We’re in over 300 stores and in almost in every state.

 

If you want more non-alcoholic near you at a restaurant and grocery store, what are the step-by-step, simple direction

Jessica Selander: This is super easy for people.

So if there’s a grocery store or a local market that you shop at already, you just go into the wine department and say, “Hey, what non-alcoholic wine do you have?”  And let them know you want it.  Verbally say it

It’s the same thing in restaurants. I do it myself now too, where I get the menu and I’m not seeing what the stuff on it. And I just ask and say, Hey, what non alcoholic stuff do you have?” 

 

Tell us how we can learn more about Joyus.  Shopping and following on social media.

 

Jessica Selander: So all of our social media stuff, our website is DrinkJoyus.com. Our Facebook, our Instagram, our TikTok are all DrinkJoyus

And on the website, there is this Find Joyus store finder map. So you can look on there and find us closest to you and working hard to add new stores pretty much weekly and email, email us. There’s a contact form on the website. Email. If you’re like, Hey, there’s a store by me. I want them to carry you. Email us. And we will call them and we will try, we’ll do our best and we’ll call them again three months later and we’ll call them again.

 

Advertisement

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Ordering Chinese food in DC? Hungry Panda wants to Help

Ordering Chinese food in DC? Hungry Panda want to Help

Leveraging their industry-leading delivery services, the Hungry Panda app seamlessly connects food, people and culture.

Hungry Panda goes further with Chinese Food  in Vegas

The ‘Golden Panda Award’ is a symbol of excellence in the global overseas Chinese food industry, setting the highest standard for culinary achievement.

It stands as the world’s exclusive international honor specifically dedicated to recognizing restaurant businesses in the food delivery sector. This prestigious award embodies commitment to promoting and celebrating outstanding achievements in the realm of international Chinese cuisine.

Kitty Liu from HungryPanda

Kitty Liu from Hungry Panda

Joe Winger: 

We are here today with Kitty Liu from HungryPanda

Help me get to know HungryPanda.com 

Kitty Liu: 

Hungry Panda serves a niche market for Asian communities.  We were established in 2017, founded in the UK when our CEO and the founding team were studying in Nottingham University.

The platform was born from a very simple, but compelling need experienced first hand, by the founders as international students, struggling to find authentic Chinese food in the UK. 

From that outset, Hungry Panda started to really focus sharply on that particular niche market, tailoring our user experience with Chinese interfaces to overcome culture and language barriers.

That’s how our app got started.  We are very lucky enough to be growing really fast within the past six years. 

Now we expanded into 10 different countries, including: US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, and Singapore.

Hungry Panda

Joe Winger: 

Different cultures, maybe different ways people use their phones, different apps.

What challenges has Hungry Panda faced as you enter the very competitive North America market?

Kitty Liu:

Local regulatory requirements that we need to meet.  Every country, every region has different regulations, and especially with food delivery.  

The U.S. is actually coming out with all the new regulations lately, therefore that’s one of the challenges as well.

Also intense competition from established local and global brands. 

When we entered the North American market, Door Dash, Uber, the giants, had already occupied the mass market.  In the Asian food delivery market, we also have competitors like, Chow Bus and others.

Obviously we were the new brand going to the market. 

Therefore, that’s the main challenge that we faced. But, we were actually quite confident and, lucky enough because we have a very good team structure. All of our team members have experience opening markets in different countries.

So unlike Uber or DoorDash, when they are opening a new market, for example, North American market and Australian market is very different. People have different consumer behavior. But for us the good thing is, although we are in different countries, we are serving the same type of people, which is the  overseas Asian customers, therefore the consumer behavior is rather similar.

Although we have the challenge, it’s easier for us to actually dive in and then adapt in a rapid rhythm.

HungryPanda

HungryPanda

Joe Winger:

Is North America the toughest audience when it comes to regulations?

Kitty Liu: 

With regulations, we’re talking more towards the drivers, how do we protect them?

Obviously there are minimum standards. Because what we call the “gig economy” is still considered a new industry, no matter what part of the world.  

North America, Australia, the UK, all the countries are coming out with new regulations to actually protect this particular industry.

We are all at the same stage, growing from a new industry to a more mature industry.

Joe Winger: 

Your company released a food trends report from 2023.  What’s the biggest takeaway? 

Kitty Liu: 

Consumer interest in the authenticity and quality in food.  

When you talk about Chinese food in North America or  the UK, the first thing you think of is actually Cantonese food because [it] arrived first.

Now we can see all the hot Sichuan hot pots and malatang, all these are more modern and, trendy or more northern cuisine start to really get in the picture. popularity. 

This is something that’s blowing our mind as well.

It’s a strong signal to the food industry to really focus on the authenticity, offering high quality ingredients. This is something I think is actually quite interesting.

Joe Winger: 

Talking about trends, anything was surprising?

Kitty Liu: 

The most popular category is definitely Boba tea.  Now, as.

As we can see the hot pot, stuff actually, coming on top of, all this fried chicken, bubble tea and stuff. That suggests our local consumers start to really adapt into a more authentic flavor Chinese food instead of people always ordering honey chicken, spring side pork. 

They learn to really understand, oh, that’s you know, Chinese people eat in China, they really start to learn and understand and admire about the spice actually in the food.

This is something actually I find quite interesting.

Joe Winger: 

That’s really a big change. 

Based on your 2023 report, any predictions for 2024?

Kitty Liu: 

The rise in the family demands, so AOV ( average order value) keeps growing. Food delivery is not growing accommodating only for one person, two person, but it’s starting to expand, for more towards a family’s demands. 

We can anticipate the age group that actually accepting or keep using the food delivery services actually start to grow and expand as well. 

Also predicting new services for delivery companies. We can actually see the trend that many people start to order.

Pick up orders  from the app and you can go straight to the restaurant to pick it up without waiting.  It’s helps you jump the queue.

When you order a pickup it’s actually cheaper than ordering at the shop itself.

 Therefore, this is actually one of the trends that we can see. It’s actually start to grow.

Joe Winger: 

How do your users want the experience to go for them?

 

Kitty Liu:

During the pandemic, everything had to be contactless. Therefore the pickup feature was actually created during that period and blossomed afterwards.

Joe Winger: 

Now you just mentioned the pandemic. Your company learned a lot from that experience, like how much packaging matters. 

Can you talk a little bit more about what you learned about packaging?

Kitty Liu: 

First thing we need to discuss is the difference between Asian food and Western food

When it comes to Chinese food, generally it’s very heavy on sauces. Therefore, restaurants have to elevate the packaging standards to ensure the food quality can remain consistent.

When you order Chinese food, you expect it to still be hot, to have the best of flavor. Iit often [comes] with soup and if the packaging is not good, it actually leaks. 

That has always been a challenge that Asian food delivery faces.

China created a new trend with laminate packaging to make sure all the packaging is sealed and kept warm. That helped the whole industry globally to maintain higher standards.

Joe Winger: 

There’s nothing worse than when you get the package to your house and it’s broken,  ripped, it’s spilled.

The superior packaging isn’t about looking pretty necessarily. It’s about keeping your food secure.

Kitty Liu: 

That’s right.  Another thing we have to consider is [being] environmental friendly.

The Chinese food industry has been blamed for using too much plastic to begin with. Therefore, the new packaging uses aluminum.

Sorry, this part, you probably need to edit, The metal

Joe Winger: 

So your Hungry Panda app itself has a lot of features. Can you let’s talk through some of the most popular features?

Kitty Liu: 

Comparing with other apps, one thing we find quite convenient is that on the front page we have a very full restaurant list with tabs: by distance, by popularity, by discounts, by reviews, by delivery times. So it’s very easy for you to access. 

Other apps  have the categories but limited restaurants. 

Joe Winger: 

What’s the best way for an Asian restaurant to make the most of this opportunity of this new food trend?

Kitty Liu:

I think In the age of technology leveraging online platforms for visibility, working with a food delivery platform is definitely one of the ways to help them really engage with consumers.

When we talk about foodies, they are young, they’re always on social media. They’re always online. Therefore, promoting yourself in front of them is very important. 

We use our channels to really promote different restaurants to help them to expand their reach within their comfort zone.

Joe Winger: 

What’s your favorite food? What would you order on your app?

Kitty Liu: 

My favorite food is [the same as] the trend report.  Sichuan malatang.

So that shows the report’s authenticity.  The audience like the food like a real Chinese person.

The reason why I like the malatang is because not only is it delicious, but it’s actually quite healthy as well.

It’s a hot spicy soup, but you put in fresh vegetables, fresh meat, it’s like you’re cooking your own hot pot

And it’s a very balanced and nutritious meal. Flavorful when you put all these different ingredients into one pot of soup. Brings you more flavors and it’s very fast [to make].

Joe Winger: 

What is Hungry Panda’s user coverage look like?

Kitty Liu: 

We have about 30 cities covered in the U. S. Obviously, New York, L.A., all major cities itself. I would be more than happy to provide you with the full on city list. We’re in Canada as well and just over 80 cities all around the globe.

Joe Winger: 

For the audience who’s watching and listening right now, what’s the best next step? How can they enjoy this app? 

Kitty Liu: 

If they haven’t downloaded it yet,give it a try.

For new users, we actually have new user vouchers available for them to have a few free deliveries. 

You can order to deliver, you can order to pick up it’s very convenient to use, very simple.  Obviously we have a much wider supply for Asian food.

Therefore, if you are a Asian food lover, you should have Hungry Panda on your phone.

 

DC Dating Nightmares: Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes Finding Love Easier with 33000Dates.com

DC Dating Nightmares: Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

We’re with Andrea McGinty, dating expert from 33000Dates.com

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

Today’s conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here

So often we talk about food and wine and it’s usually for dates, romantic nights out, date night, anniversaries, vacations

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

Today we’re going to get to the source of what those date’s are actually about. So with us is a dating expert, Andrea McGinty from 33000dates.com. 

 

Joe Winger: 

So just to start things off, what inspired you to become a dating coach?

Andrea McGinty: 

You mean what inspired an accounting / finance major to become a dating coach? 

I started this when I was in my 20s. So this is the 1990s. 

There’s no Google yet. There’s no online dating.  It’s going to happen in the late 90s, but it hasn’t happened yet. At that point I was living in Chicago and I was getting married and five weeks before the wedding, he called it off and it was like – boom!

What do you do? First I cried, of course…

Anyway my friends started fixing me up on dates, still in your 20s and you know how those dates go, 

They know someone that’s single, so they think you should like them, blah, blah, blah…

After some of those dates I was really thinking about it and I thought, it’d be great if there was a place you could go, like an executive recruiter for your professional life. 

The same thing for your personal life. 

And of course, there was nothing like that at the time.  Even in high school and in college I fixed up two of my suitemates. They’re still with their husbands that I fixed them up with.

I was already good at this and I thought I could start this. 

Anyway, fast forward.

I started a company in Chicago called It’s Just Lunch. Where people meet for lunch. We do all the work.

Fast forward, 15 years later, it’s still the same.

[At my first dating company, It’s Just Lunch] we had 110 locations globally and then I sold.  Timing was perfect because online dating was coming out of its infancy and it was a mess it at first, just the scammers, the crazies, the horrible stories, 

I thought, “Oh, wow, there’s a need. People have no idea what to do online and how to date.” 

 

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

Joe Winger: 

Is there one big lesson to learn how to be more successful with dating in today’s world?

Andrea McGinty: 

I think there’s a couple, there’s probably two lessons to learn. 

#1 is you need to understand how to navigate online dating because there’s over 1400 sites out there. 

#2 you’ve got to be really careful that you don’t give up too quickly. 

Most people give up in the first 2-3 weeks because they go online, see a bunch of people, they probably went on the wrong site by the way too, like not the right site for them at all. Then they see these people who like them and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is online dating, forget it, I’m done, gone.” 

And it goes back to they didn’t do it right, they had no idea what they were doing.

Joe Winger: 

Can you bring some clarity to that and help somebody understand what are the first few steps are and how to do them correctly?

Andrea McGinty: 

Absolutely. With online dating you need…

 #1 you need to be really careful that you’re choosing the right site.

When we’re talking about 1,400 sites out there, I tend to work with the top 25 sites. When I’m working with a client I start initially with a zoom call with a client and get to know them what they’re looking for. 

I work primarily with the 40 – something 50- something, through the 60s age group. Second time around, second acts in life type of thing. 

Back to the right site…

When I’m choosing a site for a client after the zoom call, I’m thinking about. “Okay, what sites do I think they belong at?” And it’s very different if you’re in Los Angeles versus Houston versus Washington versus New York City or Orlando, Florida.

[The sites are] so different, how the sites function and the type of people that are even on the site. 

I’m strategic too. I use three different large companies for research. I use Gallup,  Pew and Statista.  I pay to get research on a monthly basis and it really tells me the percentage of men to women on a site. 

Some sites that are 80% men. Some sites are 80% women 

You might be having an awful time on a site because you’re a woman and you’re at a site that’s 80% women. You’re in the wrong place. 

So I do the homework with the research. Geographically where you live, level of education, income. Is that site’s membership increasing, decreasing?

#2 Your pictures. 

Oh my gosh. I’m like a crazy person with photos because you have to have really great photos. I don’t mean LinkedIn photos, I don’t mean glamour shots, and not selfies.

The candids are nice because it’ll show you and your friends. Out playing pickleball, out playing tennis, out having drinks with your girlfriends. The professional shots. Depending on where you live, you’re just gonna get some great shots up against a graffiti wall in Brooklyn or a nice shot by the beach that are just a little more.

You want a couple full body shots. 

You want the photos to be current, within the last year.   Just like you don’t want to be surprised when you show up on the date and there she is.  She has a few more wrinkles and a few more pounds than what I saw online. 

It’s like you’re not being truthful about the whole thing. 

Online dating is a visual medium. You’ve got to be presenting yourself. My LA and Orange County market, Dallas market, they get that.  But there’s other parts of the country. I’m like no, we are not putting that picture of you online. There is absolutely no way.

#3 Your profile

Once they look at your photos online, if they like what they’re seeing, they’re going to read about you.  It can’t be the same old stuff. Like I like to walk on the beach and I look as good in a tux as I do….   it puts me to sleep. 

So a short, sweet, interesting, quirky profile sells. 

A lot of times it’s hard to write about yourself. That’s why it’s nice to have somebody like me, write about you.

[Summarizing]  You’re on the right site.  The right photos. Your profile. Now it’s looking through high potential dates for you….

#4 Looking for High Potential Dates

Putting in algorithms, putting in search filters. That’s something I teach people how to do because otherwise it’s like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack and you want it like a needle in a little Easter basket.

Once we throw those filters and algorithms on, it gets rid of  80% of the people. Now we’re down to some of these people that look like high potential people for you. 

#5 Send messages

We found 10 “someone” ‘s and now we send messages.

We don’t send them a weak heart or any of that kind of junk because men get so irritated.  Because half my clients are men, they get so irritated with this. 

Why are these women sending likes and hearts and no message? 

That’s my constant battle with women.

Hey, you’re in your 40s, you’re not 90 when women had to wait to be pursued. We’re not living in our grandparents era, right? We’re equals. We can reach out to the men too. 

The men totally appreciate when a woman sends a well crafted, interesting, short three sentence message.

The messaging is super important because you don’t want the: “Hi, how are you?” – or this is horrible. “Hi, you’re so good looking.” “Hi, you’re so beautiful.”

It was like, copy paste, they threw that out to the world, they sent that to everybody.

So now you’ve sent a message, hopefully he / she messages back. 

#6 Schedule a date

The next thing is let’s get that date scheduled. This can all be done with just a couple texts on both people’s part:

“Okay, yeah, I’m totally interested. How’s Friday, at 5:30p at Bistro 110. Let’s meet for a glass of wine?

Because chemistry only takes place in real life. 

Joe Winger: 

In reality, do most dates get set up that quickly?  It seems like there’s more delays and game-playing?

Andrea McGinty: 

From the time you first send a message to someone, if the date has not been scheduled within five days of that initial text.  There’s a 90% chance the date will never occur. 

I’ll say to my client, “We’re going to go right for it right now.”

Write a couple of cute lines that are just for that person and then be like:

“You know what? I don’t really need to text you anymore or talk to you anymore because I’m ready to meet you. I’m super interested. How’s Friday night…?”

Sometimes you’ll get back a reply, what’s the rush? 

I think to myself, what isn’t the rush here? 

What do you want to talk about? Can’t you just get dressed? 

We both live in Beverly Hills for goodness sakes. How long would it take us to get together and meet, right? We’re both in New York City.  C’mon. Let’s do this in person. 

If you’re getting those people that are drawing out the process, you either just cut bait. Just block them, goodbye, gone. 

Or you say, you know what, if you don’t reply, you’re going to end up on my waiting list. 

And you do it with a little humor, add an “LOL”  

That can work too, where people crack up and they’re like, yes, I would love to meet you Saturday. Let’s grab lunch.

Joe Winger: 

In today’s world of different levels of politically correct, cancel culture, different levels of sensitivity, regardless of whether you’re in a very conservative culture, progressive culture, etc.

How do we deal with any level of uncomfort when it comes to online dating?

Andrea McGinty: 

First of all, you’re not in the workplace dating right now. Cause that’s where a lot of that happens, right?

This is where I say “Women, you’ve got a big advantage right now because you can feel very comfortable and free reaching out to men and get over that whole thing”.

Women wait to be pursued.  There was this book that came out in the 90s: “The Rules.”

Wait to be pursued by the man and then don’t respond to him for three days. What the heck is that about? 

No. Reach out to men. 

Now for men, you’re not going to send stupid messages like, “Oh, you’re so gorgeous and sexy and blah, blah, blah”

Nobody wants that message. 

You would find that offensive too.

As far as men reaching out to women, just do it in good taste.

Women are there to meet men.  Creepy doesn’t happen very much online anymore. We’re out of that 2000 – 2010 era where more of that stuff happened. 

There’s so many more hoops. Both parties jump through [hoops] on top notch dating sites now and dating apps now that verify that you are who you say you are and verify some information about you.

Joe Winger: 

Most of the people watching this, they’re into food. That means fine dining. They’re into wine and cocktails and collecting wine. 

What kind of a goal can they look for if they come to 33000Dates.com?

When they approach and connect with you, what should they be thinking about and preparing so they know how to best represent themselves in that first conversation with you?

Andrea McGinty: 

Just be real with me and, people that are foodies and wine collectors, there’s a lot of us out there. There’s a lot of people out there that will find that very attractive. 

There’s a lot of people that like to try different wine bars, they like to go up to Napa.  Maybe that’s your third or fourth or eighth date, 

Be real with what your interests are and… talking about food. 

This goes back to when I’m writing your profile, when people just say, “Oh, I like Italian food.” I’m like no.  Give me something here. 

“I like carbonara with peppers and from Trattoria is amazing.”

It doesn’t have to be written in a snobby or snooty way, but it’s just like fun. Like you’re describing what you like to eat or your favorite foods or it could be talking about, you like this vintage of wine.

Be very specific with me because that’s how I can help you the most and be really upfront no, no PC woke stuff with me because this is your personal life.

Joe Winger

What are some realistic goals for your online dating experience?

Andrea McGinty: 

We’ve got to make sure that we’re not listening to all the noise out there. We’re not listening to our negative friends about dating and friends and family can be two really negative forces because you get one of one of two things. 

If it’s family, maybe a lot of them are married and they’re like, Oh, you’re good looking. You’re so awesome. You don’t need to do online dating. That is like for losers. 

That is so not the story anymore. 

You’ve got friends that are like, “Oh, I just tried Bumble. It was horrible”. “I did hinge. It was horrible.”

A lot of dating is going in with a good attitude. I’m not talking about rainbows and unicorns; and everything’s perfect or anything like that.

We spend a lot of our 20s and 30s becoming successful and working on our careers.

By the time we’re 40s, even 50s we’re there career-wise. So now, it’s time to focus on our love life. 

That could be two very different pictures: it could be a second act because you’re divorced. 

Or it could be you’ve been single and just all your efforts have been going into career and friends and travel and all this other stuff, good stuff you’ve got going on.

But you wake up one day and you’re like:

“Hey, I’m 45 and I’m single. What’s up with this?”

Go into online dating, approaching it the way you did your career.  Strategically.  It’s no fun to think about your love life, like strategically, hire somebody, think about how you play golf.

You didn’t just go out on the golf course. You took a bunch of lessons.

Everybody’s playing pickleball now.  But you didn’t just go out on the court, even if you played tennis before. You took a couple clinics, right? 

That very quickly threw you into the intermediate range all of a sudden because you put some effort into it. 

Same with dating.

But if you want to do it effectively and pretty effortlessly, just like you did with golf, hire the pro to do this stuff for you.

My typical male client tells me I take 80% of the workload off him because he doesn’t have to think about it anymore.

I’m coming up and presenting ideas to him, presenting women to him and just getting them through. All of the hoops and the messaging and all that stuff. Getting them to the good dates because they’re out there.

There’s some markets, like Los Angeles and New York, that can be big complainers about dating. I think because they’re trying to do it on their own. 

When I get online and go on the good sites in those two markets, there are so many good people on there.

It’s just a matter of having somebody doing a good portion of the work and pushing you. 

And oh, here’s the other thing, accountability. 

When you’re working with me, you have accountability because you’re going to talk to me next week. And I’m going to say:

 “Okay, Tell me what happened to you last week.”

“How’d that date go?” 

“Did you call back that other one that we talked about?“

I did text her after the date you said you were going to, what happened? 

So that little push along the way and keeping you on track too.

Because we’re in a culture where, we’re educated, we’re taking great trips, we’re dining out.  We’ve got a nice group of friends that we love to hang out with. 

It can be really easy to sweep this all, to the wayside. There’s no reason because there’s a loneliness epidemic in the U.S. and we all know if you’re with somebody, that you really enjoy hanging out with you’re going to live longer and you’re gonna live happier too.

Right.

Joe Winger: 

You’re offering great dating tips.  Thank you. 

Let’s say you’re someone who’s done the work on your profile,  messaged all those people, asked for a date, and they’ve all disappeared.

What’s that person doing wrong?

Andrea McGinty: 

You kinda gotta take responsibility for it. You’re doing something wrong. 

Here’s the deal. You don’t know what you’re doing wrong.  

But that’s stuff I can fix.

That’s another thing. You have to stay away from those free sites or sites that have free people on it because there’s no skin in the game there. They’re just dilly-dallying around, playing around on there and not really serious. 

Part of it is recognizing the statistics that you’re going into up-front that for every 5 texts you send, 1 person is going to respond back.

I give my clients homework on a weekly basis, two sessions. That’s all I ask of them. 

During those two 30 hour sessions they have to send out 8 messages.  So I know by the time I’ve talked to them, they’re going to at least have gotten back 3 responses.

If their photos are really good, they might have 8 responses back. 

If they haven’t already booked the date, craft the email, craft the text, craft the message that’s going to get that date in person. And get us there. Get us there.

Joe Winger: 

Andrea McGinty from 33000Dates.com dating expert. 

Any requests from the audience watching and listening?

Andrea McGinty: 

I would just say, take a look around my site, maybe take the dating quiz that I have on the site. It’s fun. And it’s really fast. It’s 10 questions, and it goes right to me. It doesn’t go to any of my people. And. I can rate you and what you’re doing and tell you whether or not I can help you too.

So if you do take that quiz, give me as much info as you can. I don’t mean personal info, but like where you live, your age, but that’s all going to be on there. But take that quiz because that’s a good way to contact me and see if we might be a good fit and maybe I can help you if you really want to meet somebody.

Just an hour from DC! Ironclad Distillery Now Serves Up Beds Alongside Their Bourbon Tasting in Fredericksburg, VA

After 10 Years, Ironclad Distillery Now Serves Up Beds Alongside Their Bourbon at Kenmore Inn in Fredericksburg, VA.

Ironclad Distillery has purchased Kenmore Inn, now offering a B&B with bourbon tastings.

People love staying in a bed and breakfast. There is just something about them that makes the overnight trip more memorable and quaint. Add to that bourbon tastings, and the idea of a B&B&B gets a lot of people taking notice.

 

Ironclad Distillery purchased the Kenmore Inn and will now serve up beds alongside their bourbon. The bed, breakfast, and bourbon Inn is now taking reservations for overnight stays and to host special events.

“We have created a unique experience that people are going to love,”

Stephen King

founder and president

Ironclad Distillery

Ironclad Inn & Bourbon Tasting Room

“Imagine being in the historic area of Fredericksburg, sipping bourbon, and taking in this 18th-century home.”

The next step for this family-owned company was to purchase the Kenmore Inn to create the Ironclad Inn & Bourbon Tasting bed and breakfast.

Founded in 2014, the trio of King family members who own the business were ready to take it to the next level. They have been thriving as a beloved local bourbon distillery, and it was time to take things up a notch.

 

The family takes an interest in history, having named their distillery after the location where the first Ironclad ships battled, they are now combining it with the history of the Kenmore Inn. What was once a residential property and now a B&B is located in the historical area of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Guests can enjoy the local history, relax in the charming sitting areas of the home, and enjoy the two bourbon-tasting rooms.

A few interesting facts about the bed and breakfast property include:

  • It’s from circa 1793 and features nine rooms for guests. The main bedrooms are part of the original home and feature original fireplaces, while the other bedrooms are from the addition built in the 1930s. The rooms feature antiques and have a traditional décor.
  • Each room has its bourbon cart for tastings, and guests can have breakfast each day with a selection of sweets and savory items with a Southern flair.
  • The Inn is three stories tall and has a bourbon-tasting room for guests and the public, as well as several beautiful areas that are for relaxing.
  • The bourbon tasting room is the central hub of the Inn. It serves bourbon tastings, cocktails, and a light snack menu until 8 p.m. There are also sitting areas on the property where people can relax and unwind.
  • The Inn also offers various spaces and accommodations for hosting events, including corporate events, weddings, and more. The event spaces can accommodate up to 120 people and offer various options to meet planning needs.

“This is a beautiful property, and we invite people to stay here or stop by for a bourbon tasting,” added King. “Every time we convert someone into loving bourbon, we ring the bell, which has been ringing a lot. We look forward to giving everyone a taste of our family bourbon.”

The company was started in the Port of Newport News, Virginia, by Stephen King, Owen King, and Kara King. The Inn is situated within view of the most famous Civil War naval battle between the first ironclad ships. The company was named Ironclad Distillery after the location. Each batch of authentic bourbon is fermented, distilled, and bottled under one roof.

The Kenmore Inn, located in historic downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia, was built circa 1793.

The new Ironclad Inn & Bourbon Tasting Room offers nine residential rooms to choose from, each with a bourbon cart.

The main bedrooms are in the 18th century and provide traditional beds, original fireplaces, seating areas, and sleep for 2-3 people. Additional bedrooms are in the area of the home that was added in the 1930s and sleep two.

Breakfast is served daily from 7:30 am to 10:00 am, offering a taste of the South. Coffee, tea, and water are served all day. The Bourbon Tasting Room offers tastings, cocktails, and a daily light snack menu until 8 pm.

To get more information about holding an event at the Ironclad Inn & Bourbon Tasting Room or booking a room, visit the site at: https://www.ironcladinn.com.

Follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ironcladinn

About Ironclad Inn & Bourbon Tasting Room

The bed and breakfast is located in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia, offering a unique place for people to stay and hold events. Guests can stay in one of their historic rooms, enjoy Southern hospitality, and engage in bourbon tastings. Inspired by the personalized hospitality of a private family home, the bedrooms and shared spaces are designed for finding a home away from home where lively stories can be swapped over a bourbon or two.

An interconnected part of the family-owned distillery and Tasting Room in Newport News, Ironclad Inn extends Ironclad Distillery Co.’s dedication to quality, connection, and hospitality into the experience of living, traveling, and coming home to a glass of the good stuff. Several special event options also allow guests to hold events of up to 120 people.

To get more information, visit the site at: https://www.ironcladinn.com.

About the Author
Joe Wehinger (nicknamed Joe Winger) has written for over 20 years about the business of lifestyle and entertainment. Joe is an entertainment producer, media entrepreneur, public speaker, and C-level consultant who owns businesses in entertainment, lifestyle, tourism and publishing. He is an award-winning filmmaker, published author, member of the Directors Guild of America, International Food Travel Wine Authors Association, WSET Level 2 Wine student, WSET Level 2 Cocktail student, member of the LA Wine Writers. Email to: Joe@FlavRReport.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top