Putting The “Social” Back Into Social Media Tasting Sessions

Putting The “Social” Back Into Social Media Tasting Sessions
Jonathan Brown
  • 23 june 2009

We’ve covered the emergence of the social media tasting trend before and are interested in seeing the likes of Macallan dipping their toes in. We’re sure other brands will follow.

One of the most powerful pieces of feedback that we’ve heard about social media tastings, by the likes of Twitter Taste Live, is the fact that they aren’t very sociable if you are at the actual event. Everyone is busy twittering, taking photographs and broadcasting their digital opinions around the web. It works well if you are stuck at home, joining in remotely. But as a physical event, surrounded by lots of like minded people, they can be quite lonely.

Angella Newell and Hayley Sudbury have picked up on the combination of people’s curiosity about wine and spirits, the fact that social media can make it all more accessible and that tastings are normally really dull. So their concept is to use social media to organise imaginative tastings with a range of engaging experts, quirky settings and fun themes that make the events good fun. Their tastings are the Mr Scruff and Cut Chemist of the gastronomic world.

Their mashed up tasting events have been brilliantly received. Their Generation XO tasting was a breath of fresh air in the cardboard-stiff world of cognac; their big reds wine tasting was accompanied by an orchestra that created a sound track to compliment the wines; and most recently their “Throw away your prohibitions” whisky and cheese evening held at a speakeasy called Barts was a riotous success.

One of the keys to the success of The Tasting Sessions, to date, is the atmosphere at the events. Because Hayley and Angela have built their audience organically through their own friendship groups and contacts the crowd are all great fun and highly engaging. This creates a very dynamic social setting where spittoons are banned and good times encouraged. You can go on your own and leave with a bunch of new friends and a bundle of knowledge.

We asked them what is in the pipeline and here’s their response…

“Next up is our White Party on the 30th June at the Future Gallery in the heart of the West End. We have put together a stunning flight of white wines from around the world and naturally there will be a few surprises in store. In July we will be exploring gin in The Tasting Session’s time machine. More information on both events will be released on our website soon…

… The current focus is around creating a unique festival experience which we will launch in October and take to a whole new level in May next year. It will be sensory and interactive and combine elements of music, art, film and fashion. It’s not a farmers market nor is it anything like the Taste of London. This is about delivering unusual and compelling experiences around what people eat and drink.”

So if you want to get involved in any of their tastings or projects, get in touch with Hayley and Angella via their website or befriend them on Twitter. Their festival in October sounds a lot of fun. So stay tuned.

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