So let me say this: I LOVE bars. Love them.

Because of that, and because so many bars and restaurants are closing right now due to the effects of COVID-19, I am announcing that profits from ALL SALES OF ISSUE #1 of my comic book The Arcane Cocktail Enthusiast between now and April 30, 2020 will be donated to the UNITED STATES BARTENDER’S GUILD’S NATIONAL CHARITY FOUNDATION. 

This group is dedicated “to advance the lifelong stability & wellbeing of service industry professionals through education & charitable activities.” They are setting up a COVID-19 relief campaign to help with the incredible need that service industry professionals will feel in the weeks and months ahead. This horrible pandemic will hurt many of us, likely all of us, but right now these are the people I see in pain. My people. The Arcane Cocktail Enthusiast’s people.  As both a professional bartender (retired, again) and the writer of (I’m pretty sure) the world’s only magical cocktail adventure comic, I feel like it’s my duty to help them if I can.

As of now at the Cloudwrangler Comics webstore we are offering Issue #1 of The Arcane Cocktail Enthusiast in print at two prices, the original $6 price and a signed copy for $10. We are also offering the comic as a DRM free digital format for $6. All profits over the printing cost of $2.82 per issue will go to the USBG’s fund (we’ll be charging shipping costs to buyers of physical books and merch, but we’ll keep those as low as we can and make those costs as transparent as possible.) 100% of sales of the digital comics will go to the fund. 

In addition to the full profits from issue #1, we will also donate 50% of all profits from sales of issue #2, available now, and 50% of all profits from any Arcane Cocktail Enthusiast merchandise still available on the webstore to this fund. We DO still need to keep producing future issues of the book, and many of us in the comics industry are also missing out on Comic Con appearances and sales that we count on, but this is not about us. I also encourage you to support creatives in your community if you can, and there are plenty of other ways to do that at Cloudwrangler Comics and beyond. I’ll be highlighting the work of my fellow collaborators in the days and weeks ahead as this fundraiser goes on.

Prior to working in comics, I had a career in the bar and restaurant business that lasted over a decade. I took a LOT of pride in that career, and had a fair amount of success. There’s something about working in a bar that just brings me joy. Some of it is the creative output, and some is the joy of interacting with new people every night, over and over. As a born storyteller, tending bar is a dream come true. Another part of it is the pure blue-collar work ethic, the reassurance you feel from getting your hands dirty and MAKING something. 

There’s a line in our book, in the very first issue, that became the mantra of The Arcanist Bar, that mythical, mystical cocktail joint in San Francisco owned and run by The Arcane Cocktail Enthusiast Lark Leraar herself: “Nobody Dies on their First Day.” In a bar where the drinks are made with literal magic, where dangerous eldritch creatures are key components of the day’s work, this bit of bravado made a nice piece of storytelling. But it has deeper meaning, too. Bars and their staff tend to become like family. The job, despite being hard, is also a LOT OF FUN, and it’s nearly impossible to do it well without building great teams. In the best bars and restaurants, certainly every bar I’ve ever worked in, this leads to loving the people you work with. If the job’s not for you, no big deal. But if you get through that first hard day and want to keep working, your new family will always have your back. Service industry folks look out for each other. We’re going to try to look out for them.

That’s where this decision comes from. I spent almost the last 2 years I lived in San Francisco back behind the bar part-time, and that experience was instrumental in what The Arcane Cocktail Enthusiast became. I found new friends, new regulars, a new work family, and I was very, very grateful for it.

In addition to the funds that sales of Issue #1 of the book and our merch will generate, I encourage all of you to KEEP eating and drinking out as much as you can in this time of isolation. Order delivery or curbside pick-up where possible. If your local watering hole sells gift cards online, grab as much as you can afford. If you have friends or family who rely on tips for wages, for food and rent and bills, help them where you can. They won’t be the only people hurt by this extraordinary period in our history, but they are going to be the ones hurting financially most in the short term, and as I said, they are my people. 

Thank you very much,

Jeff Rider

Help put your local bartender or service industry professional. Pick up a copy today!
Help put your local bartender or service industry professional. Pick up a copy today!

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