On Monday, November 24, 2014 at 10:00pm EST, Travel Channel will premiere “Booze Traveler” hosted by Jack Maxwell. The show is a chronicle of Jack’s journeys around the world and his interactions with the local people – and their drinks. I had the opportunity to talk with Jack and learn a little more about what we can expect on the show in its inaugural season.
Over the course of the show, Jack visits 13 countries and 2 states, including Turkey, Austria, Iceland and South Africa. According to Jack, “The thing that sets Booze Traveler apart from other drink/travel shows is that it’s not a show about drinking – but it is a show about drinks. But even more so, it’s an exploration – even a celebration – of the cultures and peoples of the world – through the lens of a cocktail glass.”
Jack’s experiences include a visit to a craft brewery in Turkey where the legal obstacles to brewing are so strict that the menu can only say, “We sell what you probably think we sell.” In Austria, Jack was introduced to a “beer bath” – which he found thoroughly enjoyable because he sat “in a bath of beer and pulled on a cold draft at the same time – so you get it from the inside and the outside – it’s wonderful — like a beer sandwich, surrounded by suds. Then you take a nap in straw and hay. It’s out there…but it’s what they do, so we take part in it and celebrate it.” Among many other beer experiences viewers can look forward to this season are chicha (“spit beer”) in Peru and “disaster” beers in Iceland.
Throughout the show, Jack is immersed in every aspect of the cultures he visits. He explained, “We show how every civilization in the world has always found a way to make alcohol out of something. That’s the connective tissue of the show – but the real heart is the people and how they live their lives.” Being involved in the show confirmed for him that if you look into the cultures around the world you realize – “Whether you had a long day in America and you come home and have a beer to unwind; in Mongolia if you’ve been herding camels all day; in Turkey you’ve been working construction rebuilding the country; in Austria a hard day climbing trees picking pinecones to make schnapps – we all drink for the same reasons no matter who we are – to mourn, celebrate, socialize, to take the edge off. And there’s no better way to get to know someone than to have a few drinks together.”
“Booze Traveler” runs for 15 episodes in its first season beginning on November 24. Led by Jack’s affable personality, there is no doubt that “Booze Traveler” will join the ranks of great travel shows as The Beer Hunter, The Thirsty Traveler and Three Sheets.
For more of Matt’s writing, you can visit his site The Brewholder.