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7 Tips for Hosting A Successful Tasting Event

April 7th, 2021

Written by Chris Zaborowski, Owner, Westport Whiskey & Wine

One of our core beliefs at Westport Whiskey & Wine is that the best way to learn about a product is to taste it. We have promoted tastings since we opened over a dozen years ago and have devoted a significant amount of floor space to support that effort. If you’re looking to plan a tasting event of your own, there are a few best practices you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Remember, the number one rule of any tasting—whether it be beer, wine, or spirits; virtual or in-person—your goal should always be to make the event as comfortable as it is informative. Here are some key points to keep in mind when planning and conducting a great tasting event:


Embracing The Blended Experience

March 24th, 2021

Written by Jason Dobson, Business & Creative Director, Contagious UK

“The Blended Experience” was a topic of conversation at Contagious pre-pandemic, and current events have only helped to further justify it as a core part of our approach in shaping the Direct-to-Consumer journey. There are a vast variety of the experiences that challenge the application of design in physical environments— including distilleries, brand homes, visitor centers, and retail— as well as in the education and promotion of new and existing products.

Now more than ever, brands need to engage with their customers and influencers. The primary challenge, as I see it, is to make sure that they can respond to this need through the provision of accessible experiences within the given set of circumstances.


The Spirit of Survival: Evolving Ethanol, Tannins

March 10th, 2021

Written by Luis Ayala, Founder of Rum Central, Got Rum? magazine & The Rum University

People who appreciate aged distillates— regardless of the spirits category— rarely stop to think about the evolutionary paths taken by nature in order to make their beverages possible. We rely on yeast’s prowess in “chemical warfare” to produce ethanol, which we later infuse with tannins that were originally evolved by plants as a defense against predation. So while yeast has evolved the ability to produce alcohol to fend off bacteria and fungi, it is humans’ appreciation for ethanol that has ultimately ensured the large-scale propagation and perpetuity of yeast— it begs the question: “who serves who?”


Scent Memories vs. The Communal Lexicon: Bringing Objectivity into Sensory

February 24th, 2021


Written by Liz Rhoades, Founder & Principal, Spirit Safe Consulting, LLC

Traveling down the sinuous path from olfactory epithelium to the cognitive mainframe are neuron-transmitted fragments of sensed information. Aromatic detections are translated into tangible descriptors facilitated by learned psychological associations called scent memories.

Everyone has a mental reference book of the smells of their lives which are often tied to specific memories relevant to us, but largely incomprehensible to others.


11 Questions with Barrel Aging Experts, Andrew Wiehebrink & Gregg Snyder

February 10th, 2021

Have you ever thought about making your own whiskey? Did you know that barrel aging contributes a majority of a whiskey’s flavor? That’s right—and it’s also reason enough to warrant a whole curriculum on the art and science of aging spirits.

Ahead of Moonshine University’s Age-ucation: Barrel Aging Workshop this March 18-19, we talked to experts Andrew Wiehebrink of Independent Stave Company and Gregg Snyder of Distilled Spirits Consulting to get the inside scoop on maturation, how they built their careers around their passion, and what lies ahead for the distilling industry.


Enzymes: The Worker Bees of Fermentation

January 27th, 2021

Written by Andrew Fratianni, Senior Application Specialist – Brewing & Distilling Enzymes, DuPont

Shiny copper stills, “white dog,” and rare, $3,000-a-bottle bourbon get all the glory, but there are a few unsung heroes that make it all possible. In addition to the distillers who toil ‘round the clock, there is yeast and then there are enzymes.


Thinking Beyond Brand Icon: Packaging Your Product

January 13th, 2021

Written by Jason Dobson, Business & Creative Director, Contagious UK

I have always understood the desirability that great packaging can deliver to new brands; from our portfolio, Karizuwa Japanese Whiskey and Lind & Lime Gin are great examples that come to mind. But in response to new shopper habits— like an increase in omni-channel and at-home experiences— the bar has been raised on this front for new brands just now entering the fray.


2021 Spirits Trends

December 16th, 2020

At Moonshine University, it’s our job to stay abreast of trends in the distilling industry. Thanks to our expert faculty, we’re able to glean key insights into the future of spirits. This year, we gathered our team to identify emerging trends we expect to be in the spotlight in 2021.

Driven by the long-term effects of an on-going pandemic, this year’s forecast is shaping up to be focused on authenticity in the form of appeals to community, premium experiences, and hospitality. Here are the spirits trends to watch for in the coming year:


Bytes, Bottle & Tissue Paper—The Unboxing Experience

December 9th, 2020

Written by Jason Dobson, Business & Creative Director, Contagious UK

During lockdown we’ve all been adopting new ways of purchasing and experiencing products. Browsing has increased and the accelerated adoption of digital consumerism has created a huge opportunity to provide enhanced and innovative online experiences— experiences that are personal, show loyalty, and appeal to a local audience while simultaneously striving to embrace a global presence.


Repeal Day: America’s Only Constitutional Holiday

December 2nd, 2020

Did you know there’s only one American holiday written into our Constitution?

Ironically, the origins of this boozy celebration also start with the early Temperance Movement, an awareness campaign that emerged in the 1800s to limit alcohol consumption in the US.


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