Workshop Recap - Plus Five Tips for Holding a Workshop at The Studio

With the last few weeks being so busy I didn’t have time to really show off our very first event, The Macallan Experience workshop. Hosted by our sister company Alx&Co., the workshop consisted of two private guided tastings under the direction of our friend James D’Arcy (who happens to be a brand ambassador for Edrington Spirits which owns The Macallan).

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Alx&Co. put on the workshop as part of the first ever Old Town Cocktail Week and suffice it to say it was a complete success. Both tastings sold out at $49 a ticket (and had waitlists), which was a huge achievement for us and Alx&Co. in terms of promoting the event. Better still, the attendees were engaged, learned a ton about how to understand whisky, and left asking when the next event like this would be. We were so proud of James and of our hard work getting The Studio together in time for the demonstration and so pleased that everything was well-received.

Hosting the event also gave us good insight into what works in the space and what doesn’t. I laid out some of my best pointers here, if you’re interested:

  1. For an evening event like this (intimate, sit-down affair) the lighting is key to setting the mood. For our first tasting at 6pm we kept our regular bright white bulbs, but for the 8pm tasting we changed those out to warmer bulbs. The effect was pretty dramatic: the room felt more comfortable and our attendees seemed much more at ease. Even if it’s just a single workshop your lighting will be key in setting the tone. Consider bringing tea lights or even your own set up if you’re really particular.

  2. Ten attendees fit perfectly around the tables and, in a pinch, we could have added two more if we had separated them. For a sit-down affair around a table twelve people (plus the presenter) is probably maximum capacity.

  3. Bring lots of materials to complete the space. We designed The Studio to be minimalist and neutral, so think about how you’ll define it as yours while you’re here. James brought a colorful array of Macallan options to fill out the shelves and used these great wood platters for the cheese and whisky pairings.

  4. Give yourself plenty of time to set up. James is a complete professional at these types of events because he does them all the time for his job. Still, it took probably two solid hours for him to really get things together (working alone) and we were thinking of last-minute additions until the first event started. Keep your day stress-free and allow yourself more time to prepare than you think you’ll need.

  5. Consider inviting a photographer to capture some pictures. I didn’t and wish I had - my iPhone photos just didn’t capture the warmth of the evening and the fun our clients had.

In the end, it felt like a wonderful evening with friends which was exactly the vibe we were going for. We hope to hold more tastings like this, so stay turned for what we’ll have in store. If you’re interested in holding a workshop, reach out to us for more suggestions. We’re happy to help!

Meaghan Foran