When we moved to working from home, that didn't mean our teams stopped hanging out together outside of working hours. Before the pandemic, DMC offered employees a monthly budget called the Activity Fund that could be used on events for team bonding, and we continued to use it even when working remotely. We became well versed in planning virtual events: we made pizzas, critiqued wine, carved pumpkins, and even crafted together.
While Activity Fund Events have traditionally been for bonding with your local office, when everything became virtual we were able to hang out with DMCers from offices across the country. This allowed us to experience events planned altogether highlighting each office's unique set of personalities.
One event, in particular, was our June’s Whiskey Tasting. While many of our offices have whiskey enthusiasts, our resident spirit-tasting expert is John Sullivan of DMC Denver. During the pandemic, John went from just being a whiskey connoisseur to becoming the host of multiple virtual tastings. If you think his engineering projects are expertly managed and executed, just wait until you hear about his whiskey tasting experiences. This guy does not spare any detail.
Months in advance, the game plan was laid out. First came the idea pitch. Sullivan’s subtle post in Slack asked if anyone would want to do a mystery whiskey tasting. Obviously, there was a lot of interest. Who doesn’t want to learn more about whiskeys and have a tasting in the comfort of your own home?
Once we had a gauge of the interest and the number of participants from each office, we were able to fine-tune the logistics. The tasting would consist of four whiskeys. With DMC spread across the country, we needed to figure out which interesting whiskeys were available near each office. A private Slack channel and subsequential spreadsheet were created to track the process of researching local liquor stores and delivery services. We wanted to make sure we could have consistent tasting across all offices.
Once the four whiskeys were located and decided upon, next was the act of distributing them among the tasters. This was going to be a blind tasting, so consistent anonymity was important. We found the perfect 2oz bottles and a brilliant labeling system. It got a little touch and go when Amazon ran out of the bottles we wanted, but because of our expert solutions and planning, we were able to get enough bottles to each office's event coordinator.
A Family Affair
Once we had the whiskeys in their individual portions, we needed a way to differentiate the bottles. One might think that labeling the bottles one to four would be enough, but not for our team. We crowdsourced for alternative names. While our engineers' creativity was wonderful with the naming process, the show's real star was our honorary five-year-old artist Scarlett, Sullivan’s daughter.
The DMC Whiskey Tasting really became a family event when John commissioned her to create the custom labels for each bottle.
For every DMC event, DMCers are allowed to invite a +1 so that friends, family, and significant others can join in on the fun too. In this case, they even jumped in to help with the logistics. We had someone’s significant other put together a tasting menu to coincide with each mystery bottle for this event. Emily Marlatt, Project Accounting Lead, then took those tasting notes in addition to Scarlett’s drawings and made a tasting guide.
The Method of Tasting
June 22 was the day it all came together. DMCers from across the country called in via Zoom, ready to experience the tasting that had been months in the making. As the master of ceremony, Sullivan opened the call with a reminder of the proper tasting etiquette and a description of the first whiskey.
Our tasting will go like this:
- Pour a small amount and drink a few sips neat.
- Add a few drops of water with the straw and finish the glass.
- Pour a small amount and add an ice cube.
- Drink the rest your favorite way!
A few notes while tasting:
- When smelling it, put your nose over the glass and breath in through your mouth. If you sniff like you would a wine the alcohol overpowers the smell.
- For sure try to pour small amounts when you taste the different ways so you can drink most of it in your favorite way.
- Try to have a few snacks around if your office didn’t supply you any specific ones.
During the tasting, tasters went into Zoom breakout rooms to drink, discuss, and enjoy the evening experiencing the whiskeys with others. It is events like this that show off the personalities that makeup DMC. We work together to bring our customers quality solutions while also creating quality experiences for and with each other.
Learn more about DMC's company culture and contact us to start your next project.