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What is the Wormwood Society?


WS Logo 200pxPURPOSE
The Wormwood Society is a nonprofit educational and consumer advocacy association focused on providing current, historically and scientifically accurate information about absinthe,  helping to reform the laws impacting absinthe in the United States and encouraging the responsible enjoyment of a safe, rewarding and historically interesting beverage.

We also provide guidance for spirits industry members who desire to produce and market authentic absinthe in a fair, honest and socially responsible way, including providing historically documented formulas and processes for making absinthe in the true Belle Époque style.

HISTORY

The Wormwood Society started in January, 2004 as a casual group hosting absinthe parties in members' homes, similar to cocktail parties.  The parties began to attract a wider national following and soon people came from all over the country, as far away the East Coast and occasionally, Europe.

As interest grew, and after many requests, the doors of the previously private discussion forum were opened to an international audience.  Soon it became apparent that there was a need for an organization with an independent voice which could help educate consumers on absinthe history, guide them in their absinthe choices and help them avoid the many inferior and spurious products. The Wormwood Society has grown from a dozen or so members in Seattle in 2004 to over 2500 members worldwide.

With absinthe again legally available in the US, our mission is just beginning!  

Meet The Wormwood Society Team: 

ImageGwydion Stone
Founder & Administrator

Gwydion has long been fascinated by esoteric and obscure topics: alchemy, freemasonry, gnosticism, and  herbalism.  It was natural that when he encountered this intriguing green spirit he should try to get to the bottom of its mystique. When he learned that most of the information available was misleading and inaccurate, it prompted his journey toward discovering the truth about the "Green Fairy" and gaining a deeper understanding of what absinthe was, and wasn't.

After four years as an ardent student and passionate absinthe evangelist, Gwydion embraced the world of absinthe as a vocation and opened the Gnostalgic Spirits Distillery in order to produce his own brand of absinthe, Marteau, as well as other obscure spirits.

A classic cocktail enthusiast as well as a talented distiller, Gwydion has been instrumental in bringing absinthe back to its rightful place in cocktail culture as a traditional ingredient in classic cocktails, as well as a drink in its own right.

When he's not crusading for absinthe, Gwydion enjoys arts and crafts pastimes such as cooking, gardening, fine-woodworking, amateur photography, and cheese-making. He is owned by four cats, one opossum, and his loving and supportive wife, Trinity.

Our Advisory Board and Support Team:

The Wormwood Society is fortunate to be administered by a group of dedicated and passionate absintheurs, both independent and spirits industry members.  Our Board comprises professional absinthe distillers, a doctor, a financial consultant, a major software company director, an engineer, theater professionals and a military contractor.

The Advisory Board ensures that the administration of the Wormwood Society is open to external input and a variety of viewpoints from different political, social and economic backgrounds.  Its function is to advise and provide input, suggestions and diverse perspectives on organizational projects.

Most Advisory Board members also perform administrative functions in the Wormwood Society.

ImageJoseph Legate
Advisory Board, Forum Moderator

Joe followed the literary trail to absinthe.  An avid student and teacher, his studies frequently brought the mysterious drink to his attention.  It wasn't long before his first taste brought him to the Wormwood Society and another educational pursuit was launched in earnest.  His background in education coupled with thirty years of professional theatre experience highlights his belief in The Company: a unified group dedicated to a singular goal will be more successful than individuals working alone and it will be a lot more fun for everyone.

Joe sincerely believes life is too short not to have fun.  Absinthe is a passion.  The history, the process, the product and the future is a rich adventure.  That it attracts like-minded characters which have been added to his litany of friends is nothing short of extraordinary. 

After serving as a forum moderator for the Wormwood Society almost from its beginning, Joe took the leap and opened Ridge Distillery in 2010, where he makes Ridge Absinthe Verte & Blanche and Silvertip Dry Gin.

ImageBrian Robinson
Advisory Board,  Review Editor, Media Contact

Brian has been interested in absinthe since he was introduced to it at a gypsy party while living in Spain in 1997.  The legend behind the green fairy and its relative obscurity in the U.S. at that time made it a perfect focus of his obsessive tendencies.  Since then, he has dedicated himself to learning as much about absinthe as he possibly can in his free time, and educating the public on the truths behind the drink, so often criticized by the mainstream.
 
Brian lives in the suburbs of Washington DC with his wife and son, where he runs a financial planning firm.  He loves to cook, craft cocktails, write, draw, read, and play the occasional match of rugby.  In 2009, Brian won the Hotel Monteleone cocktail contest; a competition to create a signature cocktail for the world famous Carousel Bar located inside the New Orleans hotel.

bill brendaBill Martz
Advisory Board, Forum Moderator

Bill's first encounter with absinthe was in the mid 80's while working on a home in one of the historic areas of Oklahoma City. He stumbled across a couple bottles of Pernod Extrait d' Absinthe from Tarragona, Spain, where Pernod absinthe was made after the 1915 ban in France. The bottles still had the customs stickers on them with a readable date of September 1930. He was afraid to open them because of the myths and misinformation.

Information about absinthe was far more obscure in the 80's, and he would just look for info whenever he thought about it. Fast forward to 2004 and when he saw the bottles again, they had been stored on their side and most of the contents had evaporated.  The search was on and he began researching in earnest. He found the Wormwood Society and decided to stick around awhile. Bill lives in Oklahoma City, and works as a coordinator for an oilfield service company and has been working in oilfield services for over 30 years. His wife, Brenda, lovingly tolerates his obsession with absinthe and attends every event with him.

ImageJulie Legate
Advisory Board, Forum Moderator

Julie's journey to absinthe followed the winding trail of her interest in medicinal herb lore.  Her background includes many years in serving people with severe and persistent illness and she has continually looked for alternative solutions when traditional methods of pain management failed.  Absinthe's history as a medicine piqued her interest and she believes the medicinal potential for this legendary beverage has yet to be adequately explored.  In the mean time, she's happy to enjoy the social opportunities this elixir has provided.  Julie never considered herself a moderator but the delightful characters inhabiting the Wormwood Society keeps her online with their wit, wisdom and irrepressible humor. 

Dr. Judy BronsonJudy Bronson
Advisory Board

Affectionately referred to as “Doc”, Judy is the Wormwood Society’s resident Psychologist. Her interest in absinthe began in 2007, when the transition from life in the ivory tower to the real world left her with ample free time to delve into the history and mystery of the Green Fairy.  In addition to absinthe, Judy is passionate about music, cooking, classic cocktails, and wine. When asked about the impact that the Wormwood Society has had on her life, she reveals, “This diverse group of individuals has taught me so much about absinthe, but more than that, some of them have become lifelong friends and trusted confidants that I never would have met were it not for this forum.”

Ron CurryRon Curry
Content Team, Forum Moderator

Aside from being the lovechild of Fidel Castro and Elvis Costello, Ron's hobbies are collecting the autographs of child actors and chasing cars. Since starting intensive therapy, has been pulling his pants down in public much less frequently.

Robert HessRobert Hess
Advisory Board, Cocktail Evangelist

Robert was drawn to absinthe by way of his love of classic cocktails. Robert traces his interest in cocktails to a childhood fascination of bartenders who effortlessly transformed the contents of the bottles around them into gleaming jewels of refreshment. Eventually he took action on these early memories, absorbing all he could about the classic art of mixology. Using his culinary training as a canvas, he views cocktails as a cuisine with the same artistic flavor potentials as that of any French chef. He has since become a ceaseless evangelist of quality cocktails, working with restaurants, bartenders, and consumers as well as creating the informative and widely recognized website DrinkBoy.com to increase recognition and respect for this undervalued art.

 

Marc BernhardMarc Bernhard
Advisory Board

Marc Bernhard has had a passion for and involvement with absinthe and other fine spirits for years, traveling over North America and Europe discovering and sampling some of the best spirits available. Marc's passion for fine spirits has led him to create Pacific Distillery in Woodinville, Washington, where he makes Absinthe Pacifique and Voyager Batch-Distilled Gin.    

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