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Dan Q. Dao named Young Drinks Writer of the Year

New York-based journalist and bartender Dan Q. Dao has walked away with the title of Alan Lodge Young International Drinks Writer of the Year 2018.

Dan Q. Dao is a 24-year-old writer and bartender based in New York City. Picture credit: Emanuel Hahn

Dao’s win was announced yesterday (22 May) at The Drinks Business Awards 2018, held at the London Wine Fair.

To enter the award – launched in memory of the late deputy editor of The Spirits Business, Alan Lodge – writers under the age of 35 from around the world submitted three pieces of writing for assessment.

The independent judging panel consisted of: Emily Harris, director of May Fox Communications; Becky Paskin, editor of; and Olly Wehring, editor of Just-Drinks.

Against a high calibre of entries, Dao’s work stood out for its colour, structure and flow.

“Dan’s writing has a wonderful natural style,” said Paskin. “He really understands the subject matter of his articles and he is able to convey its essence in an intriguing way.”

Harris added: “Each piece from Dan was focused and well structured. As a reader, you are engaged from start to finish as he takes you on a journey through each feature.”

Dao’s first editorial job was to run the ‘drinking’ section at a weekly city magazine. Since then, he has written for a number of publications, including GQ, Saveur, Playboy, Vice Munchies and Paper Magazine.

Dao, 24, continues to travel the world and “explore the intersections of drink with food, culture, and nightlife” while also working as a bartender at Middle Branch in New York City.

“I’m floored to have been chosen for this prestigious industry award,” said Dao. “It’s always heartening to receive recognition from readers, but it’s even higher praise to be respected by your peers. This is an encouraging moment for me and for those who’ve fully supported my career even when I’ve been unsure of it.

“Having also worked behind the bar, I have a great appreciation for the love and labour involved in getting a drink into the hands of a guest – from the crafting of the spirit down to the final cocktail garnish.

“I’m blessed to work alongside and tell the stories of the passionate, creative people who make up the beverage community. And with all the good drinks and company, there’s never a dull moment in this industry.”

The Alan Lodge Young International Drinks Writer of the Year Award is open to writers under the age of 35 covering the spirits, wine, beer and cocktail sectors.

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