Whiskey clubs are a fun way to socialize while sharing a passion for whiskey. What could be more enjoyable than a gathering of whiskey experts? Private whiskey clubs like the Multnomah Whiskey Library in the United States and the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society (SMWS) in Scotland have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. There may be a membership cost associated with joining private clubs to partake of perks like private tastings, use of club amenities, and rare bottlings.
Whiskey clubs are for the adventurous types who want to get away from the pomp and ceremony of private clubs. The objective is to sample as many whiskies as possible and get as much knowledge about them as a group. The best way to enjoy the world’s most popular spirit is with friends while trying out a variety of various brands.
Multnomah Whiskey Collection
Whiskey clubs are great for bonding between friends and can be a cheap method to sample rare and pricey whiskies. The group can spring for a few bottles of the swanky spirit so everyone can try it. Whiskies can be pricey, so it’s helpful to have a common kitty for buying them. Whiskey clubs are also useful for obtaining limited-edition or rare malts of which only a small number of bottles were produced. A special bottle of whiskey can be purchased for the club to enjoy together. For their members, some clubs produce limited edition bottles or pool their resources to purchase a cask of whiskey from a distillery like Lagg’s First Casks.
Whiskey clubs typically get together once in a while to sample and talk about the spirit. A significant movement is underway to move some of the club’s activities online to keep up with the changes. Facebook sites dedicated to whiskey are becoming increasingly common, providing a forum for enthusiasts to discuss their favorite whiskies, upcoming events, and other related topics.
Some of the Best Whiskey Clubs Are Listed Here
These bars and restaurants, some of which serve the entire country and others solely in their immediate vicinity, provide an insider’s peek (and taste) into the world of whiskey. If you have the means, join any of the following exclusive clubs. You will never run out of fine, small-batch whiskey or opportunities to enjoy another drink.
Breckenridge, Colorado’s Black Arts Community
Cost: $7,500 For 5 Years
You can have exclusive use of the Dark Arts Lounge at Breckenridge Distillery, complete with leather sofas and whiskey lockers, for as long as your affiliation with the club lasts (five years). Make a reservation in advance, and you may even bring along your pals. You don’t just get a place to get drunk; you also receive an abundance of premium alcohol. Every year, club members receive nine bottles from the acclaimed Breckenridge Distillery, including limited edition seasonal and experimental releases. The Colorado distillery offers in-house dining options, including discounts for members and free tastes from the chef, as well as chocolate and caviar pairings. You get a crystal decanter engraved with their logo, samples from their barrels, first dibs on their new spirits, and more. It tastes (and looks) even better than it sounds.
Irish Whiskey Club of America Meeting Places All Over the U.S.A
Cost: A One-Time Only Payment of $ 50
If you’d rather conduct your research on the greatest scotch in town online than in person, this club is for you. Since most interactions take place digitally, members can talk about their favorite single grains and blended batches from the comfort of their couches. When you join the club, not only do you receive a free whiskey glass and water pitcher, but you also gain access to member-only discounts on Irish malts and other handmade goods. Although this Irish Whiskey Club equivalent in the United States does not have any physical tasting rooms or events, there are likely to be local gatherings all over the place. In 2019, they hope to increase their membership by providing special bottles from a cask they recently acquired and by organizing a trip to Irish distilleries.
Whiskey Society of Los Angeles, California
One of the most elite groups is the LA Whiskey Society. Only those who have been invited will be admitted. You’ll need to have a connection within the organization to join, but an online application doesn’t hurt your chances, either. Only when one of the club’s 35 members leaves is a spot opened up for a newcomer. Once you’ve been accepted, however, you’ll start attending bimonthly meetings where you’ll drink anywhere from five to ten bottles of your favorite beverage while learning more about it.
At the end of many gatherings, members enjoy late-night sips from “The Reserves”—roughly 175 bottles that were opened at previous gatherings—while reading educational materials or participating in a blind taste test. That is to say, there is an abundance of options for engaging in stimulating conversation while sipping on some excellent beverages.
St. Louis, Missouri, Home of the Missouri Whiskey Society
- Ambassador ($200 yearly, greater benefits)
- Member ($35 one-time)
In St. Louis, whiskey fans can get together once a month at Gamlin Whiskey House for a tasting hosted by industry professionals. While that is the main perk of membership, you also have the option of visiting distilleries in your area for free or discounted tours and tastings. What’s more, once a year (often in April), the club plans a trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to offer members a true taste of the spirit. Oh, and if you become a member at the Gamlin Whiskey House, you’ll have access to a special menu and the last of some of the restaurant’s most popular whiskies.
Whiskey Society of Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee
- $32 Monthly
- $350 Yearly
You can bring a bottle to share, go on special tours of local distilleries to sample different pours, learn about different whiskey collections, and even receive a cocktail tutorial just for being a member of NWS. You also receive discounts at select restaurants and bars, as well as invitations to and special pricing at additional whiskey-related events in your area simply by being a member of the organization. In addition to that, you join a group of people that share your appreciation for black spirits.
There are just 35 people in this group, so friendships can develop quickly. An “Out-of-Town” membership is available to those who do not live in the immediate Music City area (albeit they must be within 50 miles). Included are invitations to their enormous end-of-year gala, reviews of recent NWS events, and access to bottle sharing if you happen to be in the vicinity.
Worldwide Scotch Malt Whiskey Society
With over 30,000 members, including around 10,000 Americans, the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society is the largest club in the world. You have access to three of their member tasting rooms in the UK; further locations may be found in Edinburgh, Scotland, and London. The Scotch Malt Whiskey Society not only distributes bottled whiskey to its members but also has connections with more than 130 distilleries in other countries.
These are single-cask bottles that can be found in a select number of bars around the world. Even more convincing is the fact that the club’s The Scotch Malt Whiskey Society Exotic Cargo blended malt scotch was named best in a show at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Whiskey clubs are a great place to meet others who share your interests in whiskey and learn more about the spirit. Depending on your interests and preferences, you can choose from a wide variety of private clubs and online communities. These clubs provide an opportunity to sample high-end whiskies and a forum for discussion and education about whiskey. Whether you’re interested in the Irish Whiskey Club of America or the Whiskey Society of Los Angeles, each club has something special to offer. Get a group of buddies together, form or join a whiskey club, and taste your way through the world of whiskey.