By Ryan Stevens On February 18, 2019

Throw a Themed Cocktail Event in Your Distillery Tasting Room

We know how easy it can be to get stuck in the groove of the day to day, especially with all of the (literal) moving parts that go into running and operating a distillery. The question is: what’s one thing you can do this year for your own sanity?

Throw a themed cocktail party.

The people need it. And so do you.

The rise of themed bars and restaurants have paved the way for some unique and innovative experiences that engage a wide range of demographics and palates. From Harry Potter bars to classroom-styled sipping rooms, this trend is a prime model of developing a theme for your tasting room that will not only entice locals who haven’t stopped into your tasting room yet but provide the perfect backdrop for an Instagram worthy night.

Here are a few ideas for themed parties that will bring the fun to the tasting room and create loyal, returning customers.











‘80s Night

Break out your Shelltoe Adidas, start calling up corner stores for the Aqua Net hairspray, and make sure your perm looks rad when you’re doing the Kid ‘n Play on the dance floor. Not only are the ‘80s still having a moment,  it’s likely most of your customers lived through the 1980s and the sheer overload of acid-wash and neon will hit them right in the feels.

This is a great time to create or rename a cocktail with an ‘80s twist. Put your own spin on the Miami Vice cocktail or take some inspiration from David Bowie in the Labyrinth to showcase some ethereal elements.


Tiki Party or Luau

We all can’t get to Hawaii or Bali every year, so why not bring the island life to you? Fire dancers might be a little much, and they’re pretty flammable (don’t ask why I know that), but a few grass skirts, well-placed coconuts, and a limbo bar will go a long way.

Let the tropical infusion of citrus and flowers be your guide. In the presence of finger foods, pork, and plenty of leis, your customers can’t help but let loose. The brilliant aspect of an island-themed party is that you can do it year-round. In the winter, the indoor tropics bring relief from the frozen tundra and in the warmer weather, you can open up the barn doors and let the breeze blow through.

There’s no shortage of cocktail inspiration when you have fresh ingredients, floral notes, and craft spirits that are begging to be blended. Go forth and conga!



Pour the martinis dirty, hike up your flapper dress, and get ready to jump and jive all night/ [Editor’s Note: Avoid Cherry Poppin Daddies] Throwing a twenties/prohibition-themed party gives you the perfect excuse to dress up, enjoy a few rounds at the blackjack table (or back alley dice), and play some damn good music.

The gilded age of the 1920s and the speakeasy vibes have come back in a big way. While craft cocktail bars have tapped into the trend, there’s still room for distillery tasting rooms to get ragtime.


Themed parties are the perfect occasion to launch new products, showcase a featured cocktail, or simply grow your market reach. Creating memorable occasions that infuse fun in the equation is an easily attainable project that can be tailored for every occasion. It’s the perfect opportunity to bring in local syrups, small-batch bitters companies, or other purveyors to throw a night every last guest will appreciate.

Ryan Stevens

From his first sip of wine to the last Scotch tasting, Ryan has loved the craft and the journey behind the bottle. In between being a jungle-gym for his two kids, sneaking off for date time with his wife, and filling coffee cups full of bourbon, he finds time to detail the experience that goes into each libation. It’s the hidden nuances behind the bottle that fuels the passion for telling the stories that go into every glass, dram, and sip.

Along with running his own copywriting-focused agency, BlankGlass, he is a regular contributor for The Oregon Wine Press, Busted Wallet, Alcohol Professor and Sip Northwest. He has found his niche showcasing the nuances behind the vices that make life a celebration. Living in Oregon provides a rich canvas filled with vibrant flavor profiles and vivid fermented nuances that, with his family by his side, Ryan paints a picture of the delicious possibilities.

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