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Saltaire Brewery: the beer tasting tour from home

If we were to press the rewind button 12 months, we’d have had no idea just how popular virtual beer tasting tours from home would become!

At the beginning, different demands were put on the business because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ultimately though, because we knew that people could no longer go out, we had to find different ways of taking what we could offer, directly to them, and it provided us with an introduction and some growth within the business-to-consumer market. 

As is the case with most things, it’s fair to say that the industry in general has taken a bit of a hit over the last year or so. In fact, alcohol consumption is down overall. 

But, hospitality has been a big part of our business over the last ten years, so in true Saltaire style, we’ve tried our best to keep craft beer tasting alive! Virtually speaking, of course!

We think that our virtual beer event is a good start, and gives people the chance to sample life at the brewery, from the comfort of their own home, while enjoying a tasty selection of beers and snacks.

It’s a great opportunity not just for companies to treat their staff, but also for people to celebrate special occasions, and birthdays. 

We’ve also seen individuals enjoy the beer tasting experience on their own, because it provides a virtual space for them to mix with other like-minded folk, so that they can socialise and discuss all things beer. 

Beer tasting tour experience

Thankfully, our virtual tours are sold out until the end of May (there’s more dates on the way though!), and Saltaire Brewery co-owner and director Nick Helliwell is delighted with the process and how the tours have been received.

“It’s a two hour session that starts at 8pm”, explains Nick. “Before that though, you buy a virtual voucher through our site, and the week of the beer tasting tour, you’ll receive a box of ten beers and a zoom code.

“You’ll also get beer mats, malt hops, crisps, nuts, cheddars, and some other fun stuff.”

During the beer tasting experience, there’s also a welcome message from the Saltaire Brewery managing director, and then we dive straight into finding out how beer is brewed. 

Over the course of the evening, you get to smell the hops, marry that up with what you’re drinking, talk about recipes, grab your next beer, and shout-out and interact with feedback. It’s a really fun and sociable way of doing things. 

The beer tasting tour is here to stay

The beer tasting tours have also meant that the Brewery has been able to speak to customers directly throughout the pandemic, and receive comments on their new beer tasting journey.

Managing director Ewen Gordon celebrates his tenth year at Saltaire Brewery in April, and says he’s looking forward to seeing how such events develop post-pandemic.

“All the directors, senior brewers and account managers are involved in the beer tasting tours”, says Ewen. “It’s great fun.

“It’s about educating people and not just about the brewery. 

“People have fun between eight and 10 on an evening, and it’s a real blast. We’re really looking forward to what virtual beer tasting tours will bring in the future.

“Interestingly as well, more than half of the people that attend our virtual tours are from outside Yorkshire!”

Beer tasting tour, production, and the future

Saltaire production manager Ben Pearson has seen his workload change inside 12 months, but says that he wouldn’t want it any other way. 

“The virtual tours have been a brilliant addition to our output and long may they continue”, says Ben. “We look forward to welcoming people through the doors, or even virtually in the coming months and years.

“It’s provided a new element to what we do and shows how quickly we’ve adapted.”

It remains to be seen when things start to ease, how many people will opt to stay in, instead of going out. 

One thing’s for sure, socialising from home will remain in some capacity. From our point of view, we will endeavour to service our customers in pubs when it’s safe, and virtually, for as long as the demand is there. 

“In short”, Nick concludes; “I think there will now be more of an element of drinking at home in the future, because as a society we’ve created new habits. Virtual socialisation is here to stay.”

If you’d like more information about our beer tasting tour, head over to our website or give us a call and speak to a member of our team. It would be great to hear from you.
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