Imagine you are a connoisseur of American whiskey in the hills of northern Kentucky on the Bourbon Trail. You are excited about your evening’s plans: a one-of-a-kind invitation-only experience. You will be attending a tasting session of rare bourbons inside a real distillery rack house hosted by one of the country’s leading whiskey authorities. The event will also include live entertainment by a hot new bluegrass band and a sophisticated southern menu of tasty appetizers. The invitation’s tagline, “we’re glass-half-full kind of people . . . especially when the glass is full of bourbon!” suggests humor, warmth, and just the right amount of social lubricants.
Now imagine this experience in Massachusetts . . . because this happened in a former industrial building on Boston’s waterfront.
“We got tired of going to networking events at the same venues,” says Bergmeyer Senior Associate T. J. DiFeo, “so we decided to make something really different happen.” T. J. and a few of his colleagues had recently returned from meeting a new client in Kentucky, and everyone had been thoroughly immersed in the distillery experience. There was the history, the aesthetic, the full-on multi-sensory engagement. Zach Smith, AIA, Senior Architect, was convinced that Bergmeyer’s designers could bring the experience to Boston. “The firm is in a place where we’re up for taking chances and testing new ideas.” Event planning was now on our menu of services, and as with many new strategic ventures, ideas began to take shape.
Bergmeyer Principal Stan Kubinski – also on the Kentucky trip – provided the juice for what became a remarkable evening. Stan seized upon the idea of temporarily transforming an empty floor in Bergmeyer’s Boston office building into an authentic distillery rack house and pushed the team to imagine and execute on every aspect of the experience. Zach’s role as project designer quickly expanded to become “special ops”: finding the food vendor and bluegrass band as well as supervising the final installation of the lighting and the live-edge oak table tops.
Bergmeyer’s Hannah Friskey, Senior Brand and Environmental Designer was enlisted to theme the event, coming up with the identity – the Bergmeyer Social Club – and public message that pulled everything together. T. J.’s role as master coordinator included running interference with the landlord, obtaining the temporary occupancy permit, signing up our event co-sponsor – Shawmut Design and Construction – as well as booking the guest speaker, best-selling author, and Wall Street Journal columnist Fred Minnick.
The event came off without a hitch. The warmly lit space was redolent with aromas of wood, whiskey, and pork belly. A room setting of plush lounge furniture set up near the musicians was a prime location until Fred began his talk, when everyone chose a stool and perused four pre-poured samples of amber beverages. Imaginations were engaged, palettes were stimulated.
And just like that, the Bergmeyer Social Club – an idea for a casual but memorably immersive event – was born. Stay tuned as its doors will be opened to welcome you to another experience soon.