Issue 30

Letter From the Publisher: Issue 15

Letter From the Publisher: Issue 15

This issue of Food & Spirits Magazine marks our 5th Anniversary. For me, and for FSM, it’s been quite a ride. Coincidence or not, the ups and downs in my life have mirrored the roller coaster this magazine has been on.

Five years ago the country was in the worst recession in decades – one from which we’re still slowly recovering. In addition, print publications, to put it mildly, were not seen as an industry on the rise. There was even talk that print was (gasp!) dead. In my personal life, significant events (a divorce, the death of my mother, and a move) continued to happen.

I wouldn’t say all that is behind us now, but things are different.

Omaha weathered the horrible economy remarkably well. We’re seeing a surge in development. The food and spirits industry is evolving faster than ever and shows no signs of slowing. In five years the standard for quality has risen drastically.

Print, while still finding its place in the social media world, is holding up well. The market may be changing, but the important things like stellar content and supportive sponsors still make all the difference.

In 2008 I had been back from San Francisco to my native Nebraska for only a year, and had no plans to start Food & Spirits Magazine. Unique factors and the swell of creativity made Omaha seem like the perfect place to create a national-caliber magazine. I felt if I didn’t take a chance then and there, I’d regret it.

What did I see that changed the course of my life?

Industry know-how: I was blown away by the bar and restaurant scene in Omaha. Coming from San Francisco, I was impressed by the core group of innovative and passionate chefs, bartenders and owners and their excellent established concepts, while yet still looking to push boundaries. They were putting Omaha on the map. The Institute for the Culinary Arts was contributing a groundswell of knowledge. The scene surprised and inspired me.

Creative expertise: I returned to Omaha with a vague notion that something special was happening in the music scene, but I never expected to find all the other creative arts flourishing so abundantly. I met tremendously talented writers, artists, photographers and designers striving for the same things the food and spirits industry was pushing for: innovation and creative respect.

Support for risk takers: Omaha may seem conservative, but I was grateful to find so many people willing to support a new idea that added something unique to our city—and put their dollars behind it. Our advertisers supported this magazine for free distribution throughout the entire city. I’ll always be colossally grateful for their willingness to take a chance. Likewise, Omahans are impressively willing to try new places and expand their horizons, pulling our community together.

Thank you, so very much, every single one of you. Thanks to our advertisers for making it financially possible. Thanks to our writers, designers, photographers and printers for providing the foundation and content. Together we’ve created a top-notch local magazine that epitomizes local. Thanks to friends, family, and mentors (especially the folks at Jake’s) for providing insight and listening to me talk, seemingly non-stop, about this magazine. Thanks, of course, to you, for going on this ride with me. Your appreciation for what we do makes it all worthwhile.

On to the next five years!

Erik Totten

Erik Totten

Erik Totten is the founder and publisher of Food & Spirits Magazine in Omaha, Nebraska. He's worked in publications for the last 21 years at all levels. As well as serving as a writer, designer, photographer and editor, he's also founded two publications which have allowed him to grow into being a publisher, which he would describe as his 'true calling'.

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