A lot of people contact us about including our distillery as a stop on winery/brewery/distillery tour circuits. This is awesome, and we love sharing our products with new people all the time. There are a few things you can do to make your day a TON easier for everybody, including you, your driver(s), and the producers you want to visit.
- Use a professional. Whether it's a reunion, bachelor party, or "just because" gathering, there are a lot of details that you realistically won't want to chase down. Professionals know everything on this list already, and routinely do all of these things if they put together winery/brewery/distillery tours. Plus you're paying them.
- Call ahead. Even if it's a timeframe in which to expect your group, it's helpful. Trust us. On calling ahead, you may even find that the winery/brewery/distillery doesn't allow buses or limos - that really does happen - or that there are costs associated with a large group that are better handled in advance. We usually staff more heavily for these occasions, but can't if we don't have the heads-up.
- Find out what to expect, then respect it. Black Squirrel has an awesome (but intimate) tasting room. A crowd of 20 is going to be pretty tight, and we usually have one person tending bar during any public retail hours. At the end of the day, though, it's a factory - and where we make the booze is behind an Employees Only door, no exceptions.
- Figure out the parking situation. Meeting up somewhere to start or end the day? Make sure it's okay to leave cars there for hours.
- Figure out your food situation. Not every producer has a full restaurant, or even anything approaching it. Don't wing it!
- Take it easy. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Scratch that, it's not a race at all. Moderation is key, and these are your people - - take care of each other!
- Make sure your guests have rides home. In some locales, ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft make finding rides home relatively easy. In others, there's a dearth of good taxi service *and* ridesharing isn't allowed. Don't let a guest of yours - who's been drinking with you for hours - get behind a wheel. Letting your hosts throughout the day know that there's a plan to get everyone home safely goes a long way.
Lastly, and this is the most uncomfortable part: We will cut off anybody who is visibly intoxicated, or who we believe would be overserved by having another drink or sample. Nobody - especially a producer - wants to have the liability or risk losing their license to serve. Plus we really do want our drinkers to be alive the next day, and become our repeat customers.
There are probably a few holes in all of that, but in broad strokes these are the only things that really matter from a producer's perspective. Read #1, and cheers!