Distilled Magazine
Distilled Magazine
Premiere Issue
Issue Two
Issue Six
Issue Seven
Issue Eight

With eight issues of this passion publication now under our belts, it was interesting to reflect on how Distilled began and what makes it successful. A wife and husband team – Johanna Ngoh and Charles Anderson (SingleMinded) – have hosted Toronto’s premiere whisky tasting event Spirit of Toronto since 2004. In 2016 they made a bold move to publish a magazine in addition to hosting the popular event. The content… here it is in their own words… “We love well-made, thoughtfully crafted spirits. We travel the world to visit their makers, explore their terroir, and share their stories with like-minded readers who have a respect for artisanal pursuits, tradition and craftsmanship, and who enjoy the spirited life intelligently and in moderation.” Unlike most magazines today, all of their features are original, independent works specially commissioned for Distilled.

Johanna sought out David Berman Communications to help them design their publication based on a recommendation from her father who had worked with David in the past. When David paired them with senior graphic designer Cynthia Hoffos no one could predict the pairing would result in a unique synergy between designer and client. The contribution of these three individuals (Johanna, Charles, and Cynthia) resulted in an outcome that could not be achieved independently of each other.

Johanna and Charles had a clear vision for their magazine and they needed to work with a designer who could make this vision come to life. “Our process began by going through a deep analysis of all the elements they wanted to include in the magazine and create our ideal reader profile. Once that was finalized, we began to work on the flat plan, the schedule, the print specifications and finally the fun stuff… the look and feel. When we gave ourselves three weeks to choose the typeface for body copy and captions, I knew I had found my people”, says Cynthia. Their love and respect for great typography bonded the relationship. Their passion for well-crafted things spilled over into hiring amazing photographers, illustrators, and storytellers. This was a dream project for any graphic designer. The magazine’s design has evolved slightly from issue to issue as its voice and personality developed but the initial deep dive into design research served them well as its bones have remained in place. 

Twice a year, readers are transported to diverse and unique places and people in the distilled world while sitting in a quiet room on a comfortable chair. Here’s a toast to a humble couple whose integrity, passion, and belief in the printed word have inspired over five thousand readers to seek out and enjoy the very best spirits the world has to offer. Cheers!