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Bottoms up: Planning Corporate Whisky Tasting Events

By on December 14, 2012

When it comes to providing innovative programming for a corporate or social event, the wine tasting, although enjoyable, now ranks as “been there done that” experience. Now is the time to help your clients out of the rut and create an event that can achieve that elusive WOW factor. Help them stand out from the crowd and make yourself look good in the process, by suggesting a whisky tasting.

Now is the time to take advantage of the rapidly growing interest in whisky. A whisky tasting is a fresh concept that is educational, social, and interactive; and let’s not forget the fun component! A Whisky tasting is likely to be unchartered territory for many event planners and for something like this, it is good to turn to the experts.

We, at The Planner, constantly strive to inform you and keep you up to date with new trends and experts in the field, so we have asked Brian McQueenie and Theresa McGoldrick, the husband and wife team at Ouidram to talk about the lure of the whisky tasting, their company history and the services it offers. Terry has obliged by submitting the following and a few tips. Brian is the whisky expert and passionate presenter and Theresa is the enthusiastic sales and marketing part of the equation. Together, they have been hosting successful whisky tasting events.

Six years ago we decided to open our own business: organizing and hosting private, corporate and fundraiser whisky tastings and things just kept evolving. We made contact with the distributors for sponsorship and launched our own name and website, and began to network everywhere we went.

The McGoldricks say that guests often approach them at events and share their responses. It is a huge passion among whisky lovers who delight in sharing both their stories and whiskies. “There is nothing more thrilling than watching the faces of the participants and seeing the conversion of the guests,” Brian adds. “Their faces light up and they finally get it. It’s really a visceral, pure experience.”

Ouidram is a name Brian and Terry invented. Oui is a play on the word “wee” and dram is a Gaelic measure of whisky; hence Ouidram . For more information or to book a corporate whisky tasting, please contact Brian or Theresa on their website at

Ouidram Tips for hosting a corporate Whisky Tasting:
1. Meet with your client to listen, discuss and gather information about their upcoming event.
2. Develop a relationship with your corporate contact who can act as the liaison between yourself and the venue until the day of the event.
3. Email your information but follow up to make sure your emails were received. Use the phone to touch base before and the day of the event for any last minute details.
4. Make sure the whiskies are licensed to the correct restaurant/bar establishment. Check to see if “a permit to serve” is needed or if there are any hidden corkage fees involved on-site.
5. Serve appetizers as whiskies can be strong between 40 % to 46% alcohol by volume. Food can open up and soften the palate and take the bite out of whiskies for the guests.
6. Tastings are samples of whiskies (usually four different expressions) of ½ ounce per serving.
7. Distilled water can help to customize your whiskies. One drop will open up and release the aromatics in the whisky no matter what the volume in your glass.
8. Presentations are the perfect combination of one half educational and one half story-telling.
9. Touch base with the corporate contact after the event is over. Post mortems can be a very valuable learning lesson.


Marilyn Lazar is a freelance writer with a special interest in travel and events. After graduating from Concordia University in Communication Studies, she continued her education in travel writing at Ryerson University Toronto and through Mediabistro in New York. Marilyn can be reached at Read her articles at


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