What are your thoughts on American drinking culture as it relates to other places you have been?
It’s difficult to sum up American drinking cultures because we are such a big country and we have such unique regions. You do have these rich cultures in Champagne, in Burgundy, in Bordeaux and the same thing in regions of Italy and Germany. I think we are actually a melting pot of all those. People have come over from those countries, people continue to visit those countries and really love their cultures and drinking customs. Americans adapt their drinking styles to those. They might go off to Bordeaux and come back and all they want to drink is French wine, or they might discover German wines or South American wines and decide that those are their favorites. I think we are a melting pot of drinking cultures and drinking customs. This is probably one of the only countries where you can go over to a friend’s house and they have Irish roots and Irish drinking customs in their house. You might have friends that are French, or Russian, or Mexican, or even Canadian and they are all different. We do have our own customs and our own regions, Alaska is much different than New York, which is different than Miami, which is different than San Francisco. One of the things I did after I started doing this show is something called Zane Crawl. I had international pub crawls through U.S. Cities. We hit L.A., New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco and I took people on international pub crawls. It’s so easy in any of those cities to do an international pub crawl. In L.A., where I live, we went to a German beer garden, a Mexican restaurant, a Brazilian place, a Japanese place and Chinese place, and we hit them all in two days. I was really able to immerse these people into different cultures. There is a Polish restaurant in Santa Monica where when you walk in you almost feel like you are in Poland because everyone is speaking Polish and that kind of thing. I think that is the beauty of the U.S. – anyone can find ten different cultures within a short distance of where they live and get a quick glance at what it’s like to drink in those countries.
What can your fans look forward to in season four?
It’s pretty awesome, and that’s a word I use a lot, but it still is. We went to Africa, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia; each of those places was very unique to the other. We went to New Zealand, Tahiti, Poland, and Lithuania. All these places were just surprises for me, I just loved each of the places we visited. We did the one hour special in London; we went to New Castle and then Iceland. Each place was just so different. I think more so than in seasons one through three we tried to make each episode unique, not only in the drinks that we consumed and the culture that we featured, but also something unique that sets it apart. In Iceland there are a lot of blond [haired] people, so I bleached my hair and my beard for the week that I was there. I’m sure that will come to be known as the episode where Zane looked like an idiot (laughs). In New Castle we featured the soccer and we talked to some soccer pros. In Tanzania it was about being out on the safari and what the different tribes drink. In New Zealand we were in Queenstown most of the time and that’s a really high energy, extreme sports kind of town; that was more of an extreme type of an episode. There is a lot to look forward to. There are nineteen episodes in season four, which people will get to see at some point.
Do you have any creative goals for the show you haven’t been able to achieve?
They’ve let me do everything that I’ve wanted to do. If we come up with something that’s really cool, then lets do it. We all talk about it and if it seems cool, we just do it. Like in Panama we spent a bunch of time at the Panama Canal and they have monkeys down there, so we thought it would be fun to do that. Every time we go some place we feature the best thing we can feature while we’re there. When I went up to Whistler this last week I did a lot of snowboarding in the show, all of it before I was drinking, but it’s a big part of going up there. You’re not going to go up to the mountain and not go on the mountain. I’ve done everything that I have wanted to do when I have gone off to places.
So if viewers go onto your website they are faced with this huge back log of shows, what are a couple that you would recommend they check out to really get a grasp of what the shows about?
Well, I think of it like this: people have their favorite episodes and I list my international drinking destinations. We go to these places because they are awesome places to go and drink, but I rate them one through thirty and the last one on my list is Gibraltar. That was the place that I think has the least significant drinking culture compared to the other places we’ve gone, like Champagne or Rio or Hong Kong, or Kyoto. But there’s a lot of people where that’s there favorite episode and of all the places they’ve seen that’s the place they want to go. Ireland was the very first episode we ever shot and I kind of thought that we could have done a better job on it, but it’s a lot of people’s favorite episode. People are just going to have to go on there and see what they respond to, look at the list of countries and say, ‘Wow Croatia. What is that about? Let me watch this.’ They will be very, very surprised at what they see. I would say, go and watch a country that you’ve been to or watch a country that you want to go to or go and watch an episode from a country that you didn’t even realize was a country, like Gibraltar.
Talk a little bit about zanecrawl.com and your vision behind that.
There is Zane Crawl, there’s Zane Fest and it is all part of zanelamprey.com now. Its all been rolled into one spot. The pub crawl…it costs me so much. It included everyone’s hotel, their transportation around the city in this big bus, all their food, all their drinks, flying in my staff and this and that. The costs for it was an average of around eighteen-hundred bucks. We just figured with the economy that it would be better, right now, to focus on events and instead of doing a three day pub crawl in U.S. cities we decided to do one party, one event at a time, but based on international customs. The one that breaks that rule is the one that we just had on New Years Eve and it was called Zane Years Eve. We had a beer garden where people could try different beers that they haven’t had before. Fire Stone Brewery gave some amazing beers like Humboldt Hemp, barrel aged beers and Real Ale. People could try some things that I’ve tried around the world or in an episode they might have seen. Now we hop into the international version, we have a Zane Patrick’s Day coming up which is the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. We rented out a huge venue in New York City and we are going to have an awesome St. Patrick’s Day party, where the ticket includes open bar for their Irish drinks (laughs), beers and spirits. We have an Irish band. We have an Irish DJ. We have Steve McKenna from the show coming down there. He always puts on quite a show. We have Dave Hill who also had a show on MOJO, he’ll be there. It’s a party with an international theme with my twist on it. The next one is probably Zano de Mayo (laughs) – we’ll see. We definitely know we are having the Zane-tober Fest, that’s one of the ones I am excited about having. But we are doing one at a time, so right now, people can find out about Zane Patrick’s Day, it happens in New York and after that they can just go to my website and find out about what the next event is. We might, if we feel like we can get enough people to do it, we’ll do another Zane Crawl, another international pub crawl. We’re just keeping ourselves open, but because of the economy we’re just doing one thing at a time and trying to keep our ticket price as low as possible, while still giving people open bar, so people feel like they got what they came for.
Quickly touch on Have Fork Will Travel and for people that don’t know what that is explain what it is.
That was a show I did on Food Network. We shot that along side season three. That was a very busy year. Food Network asked for Three Sheets, but with food, and it was a great show. I’m very proud of it and I think the episodes have the same irreverence, and full of information, if not a little more than Three Sheets has. I think they’re fun and funny – I was just the only person on the Food Network that wasn’t a chef and I don’t know if the viewers really knew what to make of me. We did that for one year, a full season and now I have some others in the works.
What are some beverages that you are excited about right now?
I’ve really gotten into beers. I do appreciate spirits, and I’ve come to appreciate the nuances of Bourbon and tequila and Scotches and even vodkas. I usually go back to a beer kick. It’s a lot easier to chill out when you have some beers. I like some barrel-aged beers; Goose Island out of Chicago, they have Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon barrels they use to age their beer, and it’s amazing. There is a coconut porter by Maui Brewing Company that I really like. There is also the Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat.
Are you more of an American or a foreign car guy?
I’m a foreign car guy, a German car guy.
Best drink to have on an airplane?
I guess a beer. The other ones tend to dry me out to quickly.
Which airport has the best bars?
I might say JFK terminal three or four. I can’t remember which one has all the bars. The airport that I spend the most time at is Amsterdam. I’ll give that as my answer.
Do you have a favorite sports team?
Lakers. It’s always been since 1987. I always followed the “Orange Men,” but my pro team was always the Lakers.
What is the last thing you listened to on your iPod?
Kayne West. I was working out to it.
Do you prefer Irish whiskey or Scotch?
Right now I am kind of on the bubble. It was Scotch, but with St. Patrick’s day coming up it might be Irish whiskey. Naaah, it’s Scotch.
Your Wikipedia page says that you claim you majored in drinking in college, what was that like?
That was college man. That was college at Cortland State (laughs). That’s what you get when you go to a school up there. When it’s so cold in the winter all there is to do is study and drink.
Go to hangover cure?
If in my travels I had found an actual hangover cure, something that worked, I would have marketed it, made a billion dollars and quit my job. There is none. From all ends of the Earth that I have gone to, basically the only cure for a hangover is time.
Any favorite food and beverage pairings?
I just had Extra Añejo tequila with dark chocolate, which was pretty awesome. One of my favorite pairings is beer and pizza. I don’t know if you have ever had that one, but it’s pretty good too. (laughing)