Guiding Principles

When the waves are crashing and the water’s rising around you, it helps to have some basic principles in mind. These are ours.

Each week, you give us valuable time to talk about whisky. Your trust allows us to share the story of whisky, and we will always respect your time and passion for whisky.

It is important to understand where the whisky information you trust comes from and how it is obtained. But, it’s just whisky, you say.

Consumers buy billions of dollars’ worth of whisky every year around the world. Whisky is a business, and WhiskyCast strives to apply the same ethics and principles of any well-respected media organization in our coverage of the whisky industry.

To be transparent, and to keep you in-the-loop of the community you’ve helped to build, here are some things you should know about the journalistic and business sides of WhiskyCast:

WhiskyCast reports facts, except in the tasting sections of the media platform where opinions are clearly marked. On the rare occasions where Mark Gillespie offers commentary on a subject, it’ll be clearly identified. We very rarely use PR people in interviews — we interview the people who make the whisky you drink because we believe in getting you as close to the cask as possible. We cover news based solely on its editorial value, and neither ask for nor accept any compensation for covering a story on WhiskyCast.

WhiskyCast accepts a limited number of advertisements so you don’t feel overwhelmed with ads, and our advertisers get uncluttered exposure. Any brand partner on WhiskyCast has agreed to our advertising policies and understands they have no editorial control over the content of WhiskyCast.

WhiskyCast does not accept sponsored content.

WhiskyCast does accept expenses-paid trips to cover some stories, but fully discloses that fact during the story, and only accepts the trip if the story has editorial merit and WhiskyCast retains all editorial control.

In some cases, the organizers of a whisky festival or event may pay for a remote broadcast along with our travel expenses, and again, we will disclose that when it happens.

When we are offered a “sneak preview” of whiskies under embargo, we will honor the embargo as long as the story does not appear elsewhere before the specified date and time.

In other words, WhiskyCast won’t be the first news outlet to break an embargo, but once it’s broken, we will report the story. This policy is common practice at many major news organizations, and it allows us the ability to do more extensive reporting in advance to help bring you more complete coverage of a story.

The partners in CaskStrength Media do not own any stock in spirits companies, either directly or through mutual funds. We also do not participate in the various whisky auction markets, either as a buyer or seller.

WhiskyCast accepts samples for nosing and scoring, as it is often the only way to obtain a sample for an expression. We comply with U.S. Federal Trade Commission regulations requiring that we disclose the sample whiskies we receive for review. Other than the sample received, WhiskyCast has never, and will never, accept any consideration for scoring discretion or inclusion in content.

WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie does participate as a judge in whisky competitions where entries are judged blindly, and where no compensation is paid except for travel expenses to a central judging site.

There’s one area where we need to clarify a point of writing style, as many whisky makers have earned advanced university degrees and use the title of “Dr.”. We use Associated Press style which limits the use of the “Dr.” title to those who hold degrees in medicine, dentistry, optometry, or veterinary science. In our show notes and other copy, we will use “Ph.D.” on first reference to someone who holds that degree. Honorary degrees are not noted. In some U.S. states, it is illegal for anyone who does not hold a medical, dentistry, optometry, or veterinary science degree to refer to themselves as “Doctor.”

Occasionally, CaskStrength Media, the parent of WhiskyCast, does do consulting work for brands; however, we do not accept any project with a scope of work which might influence the content or opinions expressed on WhiskyCast. Additionally, any production of branded podcast series or whisky multi-media content is completely separate from the content we produce for WhiskyCast.

All business engagements are vetted to ensure the integrity of WhiskyCast’s editorial content remains independent and trustworthy.

It boils down to this: the WhiskyCast team has more than 40 years of journalism and business experience, and we use it to further our goal of being the leading provider of whisky news, information, education, and conversation.

If you ever have a question about these principles or anything else about WhiskyCast, please ask. We want to hear from you. 

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