Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:17 pm
Cocktail networking events can be fun, but some corporate event planners are taking it a step further with educational alcohol tastings.
Mary Jane Sanchez, owner of Dynamismo Online Marketing & Events in Waukesha, offers tequila tastings for businesses that want to host a fun learning event.
She has taught up to 1,000 attendees about the finer points of tequila with 2-oz samples of each.
“People will pay for two things – to be educated and entertained. So I do both,” Sanchez said.
She has hosted several casino night events for local Milwaukee companies.
“We’re teaching them how to play (casino games),” she said. “Many times people don’t know how to play.”
Dynamismo also hosts beer and wine tasting events. A fun activity like alcohol tasting can help colleagues and new acquaintances become more comfortable with one another, she said.
Sanchez has planned corporate events for local companies like UMOS, Great Lakes Distillery and Easter Seals of Southeast Wisconsin. She leverages her connections and social media to market an event and bring in new attendees.
“If they’ve done it year after year, what we do is we spruce it up, we are creative,” she said.
Bringing people out of their comfort zones and presenting a new concept like food and wine pairing will help them remember the company, said Eddie Osterland, a master sommelier who gives presentations nationwide on the power of entertaining with alcohol.
For example, you could create a “passport” and have attendees try wines at different stations representing different regions of the world. It gets people moving around the room and interacting with each other, he said.
“You start attracting clients,” Osterland said. “People will never forget the event and when you send out another invitation, they won’t miss it.”
Osterland was in Milwaukee in January to entertain guests at two TEC dinners at The Wisconsin Club. His advice for pairing food with wine: be outrageous and different.
“Most people aren’t very confident in their abilities to entertain with food and wine, so they always order the same wine, they always make the same food,” he said.
A business colleague who knows more about choosing and serving wines will stand out from the crowd, Osterland said.
TEC groups 18 and 45, the executive roundtable groups that were hosting the holiday dinners, saw Osterland’s presentation in 2005 and invited him back because he provides such a memorable evening, said Chairman Emeran Leonard.
Osterland started off his routine impersonating a stuffy sommelier, but then dropped the act and got into an exciting show, with two wine tastings paired with both the appetizer and the entrée, he said.
The tips he offers can help attendees with entertaining friends and colleagues.
“It’s all about having fun and learning something in the process,” Leonard said. “It’s more of a social event.”