Rüdiger Niemz, Rotary Club of Mondseeland, Austria, as told to Diana Schoberg. Photos by Monika Lozinska
“When I was invited to join Rotary, instead of giving a presentation about my job, as everyone is expected to do, I did a whiskey tasting.
“I became interested in whiskey when I was traveling a lot as a journalist. I was working on travel shows about foreign countries. You would come back very late from the filming and editing, and then you’d meet somebody at the bar. You’d start talking, and start sharing whiskey. You don’t drink whiskey to get drunk. It’s part of an exciting lifestyle.
“I got to know a lot of different places and whiskeys, and after a while I got asked to host curated tastings. I got a master’s degree in food science so I researched a lot about the history and sociology of drinks and food. Every whiskey contains a story. Every cheese contains a story.
“Life is so interesting. You cannot limit yourself. Journalists are always trying to look behind the curtain. We are trying to discover something. We are trying to get new ideas, new perspectives. I also have my master’s in philosophy. Philosophers are quite similar to journalists: We are both curious about life.
“This is the interesting thing about Rotary. You always meet exceptional people. They have different backgrounds, different experiences. It is so exciting.
“I like the worldwide view. In these days where people are developing backwards in a way that we stick to ourselves, our region, to our nationality only — where we are getting more ruthless in terms of how we treat each other in national and especially international politics — Rotary is an alternative.”
When I transferred from Michigan to the Kansas City area, I brought to my new club the concept of a whisk(e)y tasting club. To most, it’s more about the socializing than the whisky, but stronger friendships have been forged for sure!
unfortunately, our conversation was all about journalism when we attended the closing ceremony next to each other. I didn’t realize that Rüdiger had a profound knowledge in food sciences and sociology of drinks. This is the wonderful part of Rotary – you meet always interesting people giving different insights and inspirations.
Greetings Colleague, I do not drink Whisky but what a bout a Tequila 🙂 With or without these drinks, through Rotary the experience of Friendship and Service is great.
Fantastic, in our Rotary Club of Guayaquil in Guayaquil – Ecuador we are doing Whisky Tasting for fundrasing and 2 of our members join the Whisky DRAM fellowship.
I agree every whisky has a story.
Strangely for a Scot, I don’t like whiskey, but love your take on what Rotary means to you. The worldwide view is very precious and needs nurturing. Mercifully there are still enough creative spirits left in Rotary, curious about life, looking behind curtains seeking new perspectives to tell better stories, finding solutions to difficult challenges……. Long may that flourish and prosper