Supporting Each Other and the Whisky World During COVID-19
March 18, 2020 –––––– Whisky Advocate
As the COVID-19 public health crisis deepens, more and more people are becoming isolated by practicing social distancing—staying home and limiting interactions with others as much as possible. At Whisky Advocate, we're doing the same, with our staff working remotely. It puts a crimp in some activities, like tastings, but it's the right decision for everyone's health.The coming days will be hard for all of us who enjoy gathering with friends around a good dram. But social distancing doesn't have to be miserable. As we remember that this practice will help save lives, we can also take steps to lighten the anxiety, stress, and loneliness caused by isolation. Now is the time to open up that bottle you've been saving!First up: Join us onInstagram Live every Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern. The Whisky Advocate tasting panel typically tastes together on Fridays, but that's changed for now. In an effort to keep our palates and each other engaged, we're opening up the Whisky Advocate tasting room with the hashtag #TasteWithSpace. We'll be tasting whisky and talking with distillers, bar owners, and other folks about not only the ongoing crisis, but all things whisky. Join us and share a photo, tasting note, whisky name, or lineup as you taste at home. Tag or tell us the name of someone you'd like to toast. We will re-share in an effort to maintain the social aspect of whisky enjoyment and keep spirits up. Use the hashtag anytime on social media to reach out and toast fellow whisky lovers drinking at home.In addition, we're gathering resources and tips to help you weather this period, and to support the folks at whisky distilleries, bars, and restaurants whose livelihoods are affected by shutdowns. If your business or organization is doing something to mitigate the crisis, support frontline and hospitality workers, or engage with folks at home, let us know about it. We're also highlighting stories, DIY tips, and other content that might help you while away the time while at home. If you're a reader looking for content or resources that will help during this period, reach out to us at email@example.com.We will continuously update this page with information and links.Stay safe, stay well, and slàinte mhath.
How You Can Taste With Friends—From A Distance
- Join Whisky Advocate's virtual tasting on Instagram and Twitter (@whiskyadvocate) using the hashtag #TasteWithSpace. The first tasting kicks off on Friday, March 20 at 3 p.m., and we'll schedule more tastings as time goes on. Share a photo, video, or just the name of what whisky you're enjoying, and who you'd like to toast.
- Check out the distilleries who are offering virtual tours while their visitor centers are closed. Travel to the Highlands of Scotland, Kentucky, or Colorado right from your couch!
- Bartenders from around the country are hosting #VirtualCocktailHour on Zoom at 6 p.m. Eastern every night. They'll demonstrate how to make cocktails and offer interaction with others tuning in; if you feel so inclined, you can tip them via Venmo or Zelle. Plus, during the cocktail hour, medical and other professionals will offer information about what's going on and tips for mitigating anxiety during this stressful time.
- Punch is hosting a nightly cocktail hour called Tip Your Bartender on Instagram Monday through Friday at 5 p.m., led by professional mixologists, with donations going directly to bars and matched donations to the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation.
- Those making cocktails at home can share photos with Distillery 291 using the hashtag #291Family.
- Horse Soldier Bourbon of St. Petersburg, Florida is hosting a virtual speakeasy on Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m. Eastern time on its Instagram and Facebook. Viewers can learn cocktail recipes and ways to support the service industry in the St. Petersburg area.
- The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has set up an online "members' room" and plans to host virtual tastings and other interactive initiatives.
- Are you or your brand hosting virtual tastings and other social media engagement? Let us know.
How You Can Support Distilleries, Bars, and Restaurants While They're Closed
- Now is a great time to buy whiskey from local distilleries, many of whom have shifted to producing hand sanitizer instead of spirits. According to a survey of over 150 distillers by the American Craft Spirits Association, 67% of them will close within three months without government assistance. Give them a boost now by buying bottles.
- You can also buy a gift certificate for the distillery shop, to be redeemed when it reopens or when you can visit in-person. Buy gift certificates for your favorite bars and restaurants as well.
- If the business sells merch online, like T-shirts, hats, or glassware, buy some. You can sock it away for holiday gifts, or as a treat to yourself for getting through self-isolation.
- If you live somewhere that's allowing to-go sales of alcohol from bars and restaurants, take advantage of that and enjoy a fancy cocktail from the comfort of home. (And even if alcohol sales aren't allowed, ordering takeout food will help venues trying to stay afloat while dining-in service is closed.)
- Most workers at bars and restaurants will not get paid during a shutdown, but there are numerous groups taking donations to support these folks in the meantime. Imbibe has a running list of organizations that are helping individuals in the hospitality industry, and ways you can contribute (or apply for aid if you are in need). Punch also has resources and information for folks who are struggling due to bar and restaurant closings. VinePair has a running list of funds and organizations that are supporting laid-off hospitality workers.
- Distilleries making hand sanitizer are still being charged federal excise tax if the alcohol they're using is not denatured. Contact your representatives (it takes 30 seconds) to urge them to waive this tax.