My new policy on company-sponsored press trips
I have made the decision to no longer accept “expenses paid” press trip invites by individual whisky companies. If there’s a distillery I want to visit, I’ll pay for the trip myself.
I actually started this policy effective January 1st of this year (I have turned down several invites already to Kentucky and to Scotland), but I haven’t told anyone about it publicly until now.
I think it goes without saying, if a whisky company invites a journalist on an all expense paid press trip to their distillery, they’re hoping the journalist will write about them. In the past, they way I dealt with this was that I would only accept an invite from a company if I truly felt there was something noteworthy to write about. And I always made it clear that I wasn’t promising editorial exposure in exchange for the free trip.
I decided at the beginning of the year to take this one step further and eliminate any gray area. This is my ”coming out” blog post.
In actuality, I haven’t accepted any press trip invitations “across the pond” (which are the expensive ones) for almost two years. My only trips last year were to nearby Kentucky for special occasions.
I think that I might be the first professional whisky writer to take this position, so maybe I am setting some sort of precedence here? I don’t know, and it’s not important.
What is important is that paying my own way will ensure that I only visit distilleries where there is a legitimate reason for doing so for Malt Advocate–and with no expectations by the whisky companies.