14:39 GMT // 25 Mar 2014
This is our last CLASS magazine, but what is something of an end of an era for us, and particularly me, heralds the launch of a new and exciting diffordsguide.com
Magazines are periodicals so by their nature they are published 'periodically'. The digital age moves faster than that and now even a weekly magazine seems spasmodic. Hence we're abandoning the magazine format and moving to daily and even hourly content and updates.
I published the first CLASS magazine back in August 1997 and that issue was more of a pamphlet at just 16 pages thick. It quickly grew into a 150 page monthly glossy, produced by a dozen-strong team (three of whom still work here today). Then came the dot com crash (we were early adopters of digital publishing) and in 2001 I was forced to sell CLASS to William Reed Business Media.
However, the money generated by the sale enabled us to start published books - first titled sauceguide before trademark issues led us to our present diffordsguide branding. Our books, led by our annual Cocktails tome, went from strength-to-strength so we delved back into the digital world and launched diffordsguide.com
During the years following the sale of CLASS we were forced to watch as others published our former beloved magazine. Although we had nothing to do with its content or publication, people moaned to us about its various editorial stances. So when an opportunity presented itself in 2009 it was with some relief that we reacquired the rights to publish the CLASS magazine brand. So in May 2009 we started publishing a print magazine once again and Dan's design set a standard that other drink's publications have been forced to follow.
In 2010 CLASS magazine won a Tales of The Cocktail Spirited Award but that same year Apple launched the iPad which seemed to signal the imminent demise of print magazines. I took the decision to move CLASS magazine online as a weekly. I may have been guilty of abandoning print magazines prematurely but the online magazine quickly attracted some ten times the readership of the print magazine.
We were one of the first to launch an online magazine but the digital world moves quickly and is unforgiving to those that fail to continually innovate and reinvent themselves. So we are now set to retire CLASS and with it the magazine format from our website to make way for new and exciting developments on diffordsguide.com
We will of course continue to send you weekly links to new content on diffordsguide.com and as we develop the new-look website we'll also give you the option of receiving a daily notification. We are set to launch later this week, before the start of April, and rather foolhardily we are going to be developing the site while live so you'll see things develop by the day - hopefully without too many errors. I'd welcome your feedback and suggestions for further developments over the coming weeks and months.
We hope you're going to like the new look diffordsguide.com. In the meantime, goodbye CLASS. This time for good.