Whisky Wisemen Society is a not-for-profit organization started in Vancouver and founded on a love for whisky and the desire to share that with a like-minded community once a month. We didn’t just want to sit around drinking without purpose but rather we wanted to make sure we were also doing something to improve ourselves and for the betterment of our community. We had the pleasure to interview one of the original Whisky Wisemen, Jordan Scott.
So tell me Jordan, how did Whisky Wisemen Society come about ?
J: It all started with a conversation about Kevin Shaw and I about being too busy and never finding time to get together and enjoy a good dram. So we decided to solidify one day each month where it was a permanent time slot to hang, drink some whisky and slow life down if only for an evening. What started as an excuse to get away from the wives once a month, slowly developed into something much greater with a real purpose. We invited a few more guys to join us, then a few more, then we decided to make a name, find a permanent home in our city’s best whisky bar.
Before you knew it, we gave birth to an important business trend – ‘social philanthropy’ – passive giving, by leveraging what people are already doing and enjoying. The bar owner agreed to host us and donate 10% of our spend each month back to us, so that we could give it to a local charity in need. Fast forward 4 years later and here we are with 5 functioning Chapters across North America hosting our Third Thursday events each month and over $35,000 raised to date for 7 different charity partners – join us!
What is the mission behind the Whisky Wisemen Society ?
J: Our vision is to grow an inspiring global community of change-makers aspiring to #dogood and #bebetter, every day, through whisky.
Our mission is to establish sustainable fundraising models across the world for every society to support their local community by leveraging whisky as the common thread. We aim to encourage every individual to push the boundaries in their own personal and professional lives in order to reach their maximum potential. Our value proposition to everyone is to do one thing each day that betters you and the community you live in.
No matter what your situation in life we believe it is always possible to help others and to view the world holding a glass half full – join us!
That’s quite a dedication of time. Jordan, what is involved in the day to day operations of your society?
J: More than meets the eye for sure – our organization is 100% volunteer based and has been since day 1. Every penny earned from our events and cocktail sales has gone directly to each Chapter’s charity partners.
We have since launched an online shop where we sell swag and other merchandise as well as a private membership club in Vancouver – Club Wise – all of which net proceeds help run the organization and contribute to the overall year end donations. All of these things coupled with various other event partnerships and initiatives at the chapter level result in over 10,000 volunteer hours being donated since our inception.
How did you and your co-founder Kevin Shaw find yourselves immersed in the world of whisky?
J: I believe it was just the age that we were at the time and also the resurgence of whisky meeting at an intersection in life where the whisky scene has never been better, and our mid-twenty taste buds craving something more than our University drinking days provided. We’re both the travelling, adventurous type and never shy away from new experiences so it was kind of a perfect storm and the ride has been smooth the whole time. The whisky community at a local or global level is very passionate and warm and everyone wants to share and discuss the latest and greatest so it is a cool movement to be associated with and living through.
How and why did you guys decide to have the events on the third Thursday of every month? Is there a significance of that day?
J: No significance whatsoever, it had a nice ring to it and was easy to remember and convey to others. Although the actual number of the day may change, just count three Thursday down on the calendar and put a circle and we will be in the same spot enjoying whisky together.
You guys do something very admirable. . You guys are a non-for-profit organization donating part of the bill to a local charity. Why did it become important for your society to give back to local charities? Is there a local charity in Vancouver that you guys hold dear?
J: We think it’s always important to give back, regardless your situation in life, where you live, what you do, or what the cause is. We saw an opportunity to leverage what people were already doing, socializing and enjoying good whisky, to couple that with a charitable initiative, it just made sense and felt like the right thing to do.
There are many great local charities in Vancouver and we have since partnered with 3 of them from our inception and they have all been amazing partners. Sometimes it makes our current model – partner with one for a calendar year and raise funds and lump sum donation at the end – hard to work with because we want to keep working with them but our idea is to spread the efforts around so we can make a greater regional impact across many different organizations and causes.
I would imagine you had an opportunity to try some amazing drams, what would you say is your favorite dram of all time?
J: Wow, tough question, I can only answer for myself on this one, and it may seem a bit mainstream but I feel like it is really hard to argue with – Lagavulin 16 – is my absolute favorite and I would choose time and time again.
What is your favorite dram at this moment?
J: Favorite dram this moment would go to Laphroaig Lore – new release and very well rounded and exciting.
What is your favorite everyday go to dram?
J: I always keep a bottle of Glenlivet 12 on the shelf and usually sip on this from night to night as its easy drinking, well priced and very consistent.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers of Tastethedram about your Society?
J: Anyone out there reading this who likes what we’re about and wants to get involved, even if outside Vancouver or any of our Chapter cities, please send us an email ([email protected]) and let us know your thoughts, ideas and ways we can partner and work together as we are constantly exploring new ways to continue doing great things for our world. Special thanks for Gene and Taste The Dram for reaching our and featuring us. Check us out here www.whiskywisemen.com and connect! Slainte
G: At times I truly get to meet some admirable folks in this business. Jordan and his co-founder Kevin are those folks. I have a feeling they are headed on a path to revolutionize social philanthropy.