About Me

I’m a freelance writer and editor covering food and drink, travel and hospitality. These days, I’m living in St. Louis, Missouri, after almost 15 years in Beijing. 

My work has been published in St. Louis Magazine, Vinepair, Roads & KingdomsThe Cleaver QuarterlyRiverfront Times, Today’s Hotelier, and Podcast Review

If you need a writer to help you tell your story, email me at iainxiao@gmail.com and let’s talk.

Photo credit: Freddy D'Angelo Studios

Hospitality Journalism

Beyond the Pandemic

What are the prospects for a rebound for the hotel industry? by IAIN SHAW With the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns forcing the United States into recession, there’s no question that 2020 will be a rough year for the industry. It remains impossible to forecast exactly what the economic fallout will be, but what are the prospects for a rebound in Q3 and Q4? And what can hoteliers do to prepare for every eventuality? ASKING THE PROS Economists and analysts say an economic reb

Restaurants Seek Rent Relief From Coronavirus Aftershocks

Rent is one of the biggest fixed costs for a restaurant, and it’s one of many contractual obligations that doesn’t go away, even when a public health crisis forces restaurants into hibernation. Some St. Louis restaurants are finding ways of easing the burden, at least for the immediate future. But it can be difficult negotiating an agreement between tenants, landlords, and banks, so restaurants may need to lean on attorneys, accountants, and brokers to advise them through the process. Regan Tri

America's Only Foeder Crafter Is Changing How We Make and Drink Wild Beers

“We’re getting a stick rack today. This has been a four-year fantasy,” Matt Walters, co-founder and owner of Foeder Crafters of America (FCA), says. Based in an industrial park in a St. Louis suburb, FCA is the only company in the United States manufacturing foeders. These enormous oak barrels are traditionally winemakers’ tools, but they’re also used by Belgian breweries like Brouwerij Boon and Rodenbach to produce funky and tart lambics and gueuzes. Historically, if you wanted wild beers, yo

The Future Hotelier

How will the industry shape up by 2025? The year 2025 seems like a long way off, but we all know that life in the hotel business moves fast. The industry will look very different in five years, so now is the time to start planning. By 2025, hotels will be jockeying to capture the imagination of Gen Z consumers, and a key area for action will be sustainability. A survey of 10,000 Gen Zs, published by Amnesty International in December 2019, found 41 percent regard climate change as a major globa

Owners and Chefs Discuss the Coronavirus Threat

Restaurants across the country are responding to concern over the COVID-19 virus, and for many that means simply doing what it takes to keep jobs safe and ensure their survival. Many restaurants in St. Louis are pivoting to delivery, carry-out and curbside pickup, especially now that City and County officials have ordered restaurants to stop offering dine-in service beginning Thursday, March 19. So far, nobody in St. Louis has gone as far as Seattle’s Canlis. Since March 16, the James Beard Awa

Here's What You Need to Know About Moving to St. Louis

Planning on moving to St. Louis? Our insider advice will bring you up to speed on what to expect from Missouri’s vibrant Gateway City. From iconic structures and beautiful architecture to historic metro areas and family-friendly communities, it’s no wonder people are moving to St. Louis and loving every part of it. It’s currently home to 303,000 residents who are proud of the tight-knit community they’ve fostered. St. Louis is one of America’s most historic cities. The city’s past, as a stagin

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