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I had the privilege of visiting the folks at Boochcraft in San Diego during an open house at their new production facility and quite frankly it changed my perception of the entire beverage segment. As progressive and open to new ideas as I am ... I'd generally looked at "Hard Kombucha" as something girly that was more the domain of crunchy dudes who drove Subaru Foresters and talked about how great being a vegan was. While there's nothing wrong with those sort of guys ... that's just not me. What I found here though was a beautiful blend of West Coast craft beer scene vibes mixed with many of the same things that I enjoy about hanging out with the new generation of winemakers. Let's take a look at why I'm hooked on Boochcraft and you guys should make sure to grab some too.

Sometimes you just walk by a place and have no idea what you've been missing. That was the case up until a few days ago with The Smoking Gun in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. I live just a few blocks away and have walked by the place regularly, without stopping in. On the outside it looks like just any other "hipster bar" downtown but what we found inside was surprisingly good quality cocktails, a very creative menu and a great atmosphere that I can't wait to return to sometime soon.

Wings used to be one of those things that came free with a happy hour special at your local pub. Today though they are a premium treat that in some cases is just as expensive as a steak or good piece fish. Unfortunately not all wings are equal and so it can be very complicated to separate the premium wing companies that are worth spending your money on, from the ones that think you just don't know any better. Lucky for me - and millions of others in San Diego! - Dirty Birds is a great example of a company producing a fantastic product that I personally can't wait to enjoy again on my own dime.

Aside from our time spent on cruise ships recently, it's been a while since we've had the opportunity to attend tasting events at local bars and restaurants here in San Diego. However, if there's one thing that can compel me to get off my seat and venture back into a bar it's a great rum paired with fantastic bartenders and that's just what we had this week when we met with Diplomatico's California Ambassador to talk a bit about two of their newer expressions: Mantuano and Planas.

One of the more complex and misunderstood aspects of why certain wines are revered as works of art while others sit on a spectrum from very good to god awful is that no matter how talented the winemaker may be, Mother Nature is ultimately in control. While you can select locations for grape growing that will produce various subtle notes, you aren't always guaranteed to get the perfect product. In 2013, Napa Valley's conditions were as close to this as we've seen and this new production by Vision Films helps to tell that story.