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Whisky club advice

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lalabelle started a discussion

Hi, I run a whisky club with around 40 members, its linked to a shop so the distilleries we buy from frequently do tastings for us as we buy stock from them. We charge a nightly fee and a small annual membership fee which gives you a discount in the shop. As more and more festivals pop up and demands on distilleries to attend these increase we are finding it more difficult to get guest speakers for tastings and are looking at other options. If anyone has any suggestions or advice it would be most appreciated, we want to continue these monthly events but maybe need to change things up a bit. As long the club continues and the members have a few drams they will be happy. Thanks in advance.

11 months ago

15 replies

jeanluc replied

Hi @lalabelle, welcome to Connosr and thanks for posting.

I can see your predicament... I'm guessing that whisky brands are happy to send their ambassadors to speak free-of-charge because it gives them an opportunity to promote their products to a thirsty audience. I can also see that brand reps are increasingly in-demand as the calendar of whisky events grows.

A couple of thoughts:

1) I'm not sure what night your club usually meets but would mid-week tastings make it easier to bring in guest speakers?

2) There's a whole world of whisky 'personalities' out there: bloggers, writers & folks who run tasting events etc. Would it be worth doing some outreach to see if they could help you out? They may not do it for free but that might be the trade off you need to make to keep your club entertained. Obviously this depends on where you're based in terms of access to said group.

Other members here may be able to offer some ideas. @cowfish who drops by occasionally runs a regular whisky event in London and may have some useful insights...

11 months ago 0

lalabelle replied

Hi Jeanluc

We meet on a Thursday night usually and thanks for point 2, that's a good option and have a few contacts who might help out, issue may be what they charge and having to buy the stock but keep cost down at the same time.

Advice much appreciated!

11 months ago 0

Ol_Jas replied

Look for little gimmicks that you could arrange yourself. Which ones are winners depends on your group's existing level of expertise and their appetite for nerdy whisky stuff.

A couple ideas:

•Do a side-by-side tasting of two otherwise "the same" whiskies, like Laphroaig 10 and Laphroaig 10 CS, and have prepared an emptied bottle containing the amount of tap water it takes to turn one into the other.

•Do a tasting of the single malts that comprise a blended malt, then taste the blended malt and see if you notice the components inside there.

•Taste "old" releases of brands that are still around, side by side with the current-day versions. You'd have to find some old blends at auction or wherever.

•Sample of bunch of "blinded" bottles (easy to conceal inside tin foil) and try to guess what they are. Or, vote on them blind and then reveal the winners.

•Drink a bunch of Springbanks while you watch Ralfy's video blog series on touring the distillery.

11 months ago 0

lalabelle replied

Thanks Ol Jas, like your last idea!

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

Nozinan replied

Actually, There are a few Ralfy videos that have great entertainment value. You can opour rand McNish (excuse the spelling) while watching ralfy extol the virtues of a certain self screening tool (November 2011), or his now (in)famous rant on "Tasting and Awareness" (March 2009).

11 months ago 0

Ol_Jas replied

For anyone trying to read between the lines of Nozinan's comment: Eight years ago, he included some questionable medical advice in one of his hundreds of videos.

11 months ago 0

lalabelle replied

Ah ok was scratching my head on that one thinking

11 months ago 0

NNWhisky replied

Why not ask your members if any of them want to step up and talk about some drams one evening. You could offer a free ticket on the night, or the dregs of the tasting bottles, or a share of the door earnings.

11 months ago 0

Alexsweden replied

A lot of good tips here!

My question is, is there an absolute need for a talk? Usually when I do my (admittedly much smaller) get-togethers we just sample great whiskies and talk about whisky plus a bunch of other stuff. Of course we know each other so there's perhaps another dynamic there. But still, consider letting the whisky itself take center stage.

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

lalabelle replied

Thanks everyone lots of great ideas and tips

11 months ago 0

cowfish replied

If you're looking for ideas, we've got about 150 tastings that we've done at Whisky Squad over the past 7 years up on our website: www.whiskysquad.com/session/

'Leverage' away :)

As for getting brand folks in, I'd recommend going to whisky shows and meeting more of them there. Lots of ambassadors are running around the country at any one moment, and if they remember that you're in a place that they're either going to or passing through, they might be able to line up a tasting.

11 months ago 2Who liked this?

Tom92 replied

@lalabelle where aborts in the UK? I'm in Edinburgh and looking to join a club

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

MuddyFunster replied

@lalabel I'm one of the founding members of the British Bourbon Society. We regularly do events and often with US distillers in London including Eddie Russell from WT, Brent Elliot from Four Roses and Pam Heilmann from Michters. We have most of the distributors knocking on our door because we've got 800 members and a strong social media prescence. Maybe we can help you out or do something together? Are u London based?

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

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