Diversity is a great thing. One of the things I enjoy about a diverse group of people is that people are passionate about various topics. Me? I’m passionate about whiskey. I love sipping it, I love the people involved in it, and I love preaching the whiskey gospel and sharing my knowledge in the form of reviews and workshops.
If I didn’t enjoy spending time with folks who are not into whiskey, life would be less interesting. When I was the whiskey consultant at VOM FASS University Ave., I loved when customers would come in and when I’d offer them a free pour, they’d decline and tell me they hated whiskey. I’d ask what they didn’t like about it, and when they answered, I’d explain how _____ isn’t representative of all whiskeys. I’d again offer them an opportunity to taste, which included a promise of what I was pouring had no _____ in it. People would sample it, usually skeptically, and discover I was being truthful. Some folks would buy a bottle of what I poured them, some not, but they’d leave with a new appreciation of whiskey they didn’t have just a few moments prior.
Each month at Yahara Bay Distillers, I host whiskey workshops covering a particular whiskey segment. These workshops are all about learning - either about whiskey in general or a specific type or region of whiskey. Guests are made up of all experience levels. I’ve had people who have never had a dram before and others who are very knowledgeable and everything in between. I’ve not had a guest leave without learning something new, and that brings real joy to my heart. And, I make it easy to attend by making tickets very affordable.
For the whiskey curious, I provide an open environment and encourage folks to comment and ask questions. There are no stupid questions (there is almost universally the "What’s the difference between whiskey and Bourbon/Scotch?" question). Those newbie questions make great starting points for further discussion.
For the connoisseur, either of one segment or in general, these workshops are eye-opening and fun because any preconceived notions are left at the door. I love it when a guest tells me a whiskey they would never have given a second thought of was their favorite pour of the night ("Wow, I had no idea!" is very common).
Learn, Laugh and Enjoy Great Whiskey. Cheers!