The Art of the Virtual Whiskey Tasting

The Art of the Virtual Whiskey Tasting

Just because venues are closed doesn’t mean your audience needs to wait for their next tasting experience.

An American Whiskey Tasting

Virtual Whiskey Tasting

A traditional tasting conducted in person would consist of guests gathering around a host who guides them through selected spirits while noting flavour profiles and offering anecdotes of history and culture. Well, our client Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) did just that, but virtually and without deviating from the format.

“The virtual tasting is an amazing concept. The reasons I would go to any tasting is to better educate myself on a beverage, not only on the unique qualities but the story behind the brands, to interact with some great folks and to enjoy some new flavours. This was exactly that! A quality host with a great ability to lead us all down a path to better knowing our drinks was an absolute win. I would most definitely do more.” – Josh McFaddin, Food & Content Creator.

We invited eight influencers across Canada to an evening of American Whiskey history, production, culture, questions and, of course, tasting; all from the comfort of their own homes. The virtual event was hosted by Steve Bashore, Master Distiller of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery and Gristmill, someone who may not have been able to host had this been executed in real life.

“Most people making whiskey today really understand that they’re deeply tied to the history of America, even if they’re new. They’re carrying on a tradition. There’s a lot of good stories to tell,” said Steve.

Virtual Whiskey TastingPrior to go-time, official sampling kits were safely packed and shipped to the homes of our selected guests. These kits contained four samples of American Whiskey varieties, along with an extra sample for cocktail creation, plus a hand-crafted wooden sample holder, tasting mat, and a little snack to encourage responsible drinking best practices.

In addition to our eight influencer guests, we invited bartenders, mixologists, media, buyers, distributors and cocktail enthusiasts to experience the exclusive livestream as a viewer. While their microphones and cameras were muted, they were able to look in on how a tasting like this could be executed, therefore making the appeal of DISCUS virtual events top of mind, increasing the likeliness of participation when the invite goes out for their next event.

“I can’t thank the team you enough for organizing this Virtual Tasting. Not only was it a chance to comfortably imbibe from home, but we were able to get an in-depth look into spirits not common in Ontario. Education, Whiskey, in the comfort of my own home? Sign me up ANY DAY!” – Monica Carbonell, Liqculture.

Because of the tasting taking place online, rather than in person, DISCUS was able to reach several of its target markets and audiences across Canada simultaneously without the added costs and logistics of physical setups in individual cities.

Sponsored Influencer Recipes

After everyone logged off, it didn’t end there. Our selected influencers then created their own American Whiskey cocktail recipe using the designated cocktail sample from their tasting kit, which they then shared online.

Top L-R: Josh McFadden, Wild Food & Cocktail Creator, Winnipeg, Aaron Hatchell, Head Bartender, Langdon Hall, Toronto, Monica Carbonell, Liquid Culture, Toronto, Yvonne Langen, Taste & Tipple, Ottawa, Kristy Gardner, ‘Cooking with Cocktails’ Author, Vancouver, Bottom L-R: Krystle Ng-A-Mann, Dine & Fash, Toronto, Nick Halim, Cocktail Maker, Vancouver, Amanda Chen, Salty Paloma, Toronto

“I loved participating in this virtual tasting. Even though we were all participating from our own homes, there was a real sense of togetherness and host Steve did a great job of creating an atmosphere of learning and discovery as he led us through the four unique whiskeys. I even found my new favourite rye in the course of the tasting – the James E. Pepper 1776 Straight Rye is to-die-for!” – Yvonne Langen, Taste & Tipple.

Why Host a Virtual Event for your Product?

• Create and allow ongoing consumer and brand awareness to stay front-of-mind.
• Increased KPIs including reach, impressions, engagement, followings and video views.
• Potential for giveaways based on the theme and audiences of the event.
• Less budget required as no venue, travel or set-up fees are applicable.
• Potential to reach larger audiences in numerous demographics and markets simultaneously.
• Easy interactive components including education sessions, demonstrations and Q&As.
• Event content can be repurposed on the brand’s social channels.
• All guests need is an internet connection and an invitation.

An American Whiskey Tasting By The Numbers

8 hand-selected digital content creators and influencers
50 guests attended the tasting
10 Instagram posts
50+ hashtag tags in Instagram stories
2,350 likes on Instagram posts
105,000+ Impressions on Instagram posts

Try the Lady of the Derby by Aaron Hatchell


1 oz Bourbon
½ oz Amaro
1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
½ Grapefruit & Pink Peppercorn Syrup

1 cup Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1 Tbsp Pink Peppercorns
1 cup Granulated Sugar

Simmer all ingredients over medium heat for 5 minutes. Strain & chill.

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake vigorously. Strain into a tumbler over fresh ice. Cheers!

Ready to host a virtual livestream for your brand?