Sunday, February 10, 2019

Diversity is a Great Thing!

Diversity is a great thing. One of the things I enjoy about a diverse group of people is that people are passionate about various things.  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, 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). 

Currently, I have two workshops scheduled.  On February 28th, I’ll host a Barrel Finished Whiskey Workshop. We’ll talk about what makes barrel finishing special and compare the standard whiskey to their barrel finished counterparts from Crooked Water Spirits, which has the distinction of being one of the few certified 100% women-owned distilleries in the country. 

For tickets and additional information, please visit MadisonTix at

On March 28th, I’ll host my Ides of March Irish Whiskey Workshop. True, the end of the month isn’t the Ides, but the name is catchy nonetheless. Irish whiskey was once the most popular spirit in the world. We’ll talk about what caused Irish whiskey to lose its lofty position, what the industry is like today, and we’ll taste some very special Irish whiskeys from the old Cooley Distillery before it was sold to Beam-Suntory. These are five “hold back” whiskeys the Teeling family took with them when the distillery changed hands (and before they started their new distillery). 

For tickets and additional information, please visit MadisonTix at

I hope you’ll join me at one (or both) of these events.  Learn, Laugh and Taste Great Whiskey.  Cheers!

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