Happy hour deliveries to my remote work team?
November 2, 2020 2:52 PM   Subscribe

My ~10 person team at work just successfully concluded our annual big, stressful Work Thing. To celebrate we're going to do a zoom happy hour next week. As a surprise, though, I'd like to have awesome gift baskets of alcohol + snacks delivered to everyone for enjoyment during the zoom event. Difficulty factor: we're spread out in a few different states.

Team members are in Washington (state), California (Bay Area & LA area, if it matters), Idaho, and Florida. In past years, following this regulatory-set deadline, we'd all fly into our company's HQ in early November for a few days to plan for the next year, with a nice meal out on the town to celebrate getting past Work Thing. That's obviously not an option this year, so instead we're going to do a zoom happy hour next week, but I'd like to send baskets of goodies to everyone to enjoy while we zoom.

I'm hoping for something a bit more fancy than just a grocery delivery from everyone's local store, but if there's no other solution, I'll use that. Looking ideally for a single service that might put together something prepackaged (ideally with a customization allowed for each basket) and will deliver to each state. Failing that, I'll take suggestions of different companies that package gift bags that deliver to one or more of those states, or even ideas of grocery store goods that might be well received.

We're a close and small knit group, and, pre-Covid, went to industry events as a team every couple of months, so I have a very good sense of where everyone is in terms of favorite consumables - it's basically your typical coastal urban professional in terms of tastes. Think craft beers, good whiskey, an equal love of cheap nachos and fancy finger foods. I'm okay spending up to maybe $100 per person on alcohol (preferably less, as this is coming out of my personal budget) and $100 per person on food (I can expense this).
posted by Jaclyn to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: oh bless you for actually sending something real and festive instead of expecting people to just get on a zoom to "celebrate".

wine.com has a bunch of beautiful wine+treats baskets (something like this?) and I think they can ship them to the states you mention. You can send the wine and treats separately if you need to for your accounting.
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:18 PM on November 2, 2020 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Zingermans has amazing gift baskets and absolutely stellar customer service. They will help you work something out. Seriously, the customer service is nuts.
posted by FencingGal at 3:26 PM on November 2, 2020 [10 favorites]

You might just package the goodies in a fancy box, that they should not open till X date perhaps?
posted by nickggully at 3:44 PM on November 2, 2020

For a special event, we were sent mixology kits from Crafted Taste and the person running the event taught us how to make the cocktail. They actually did custom cocktails that matched the theme of the event, it was very fun. The attendees were spread out all over the place, and laws vary by state on mailing alcohol, so they just sent us the kit with the mixers and such and gave us a Visa gift card to get the alcohol ourselves.
posted by radioamy at 4:14 PM on November 2, 2020 [8 favorites]

Best answer: You will want to check on the various laws in each state about shipping liquor. Like Idaho: "Idaho law doesn't allow out-of-state brewers, distillers, or retailers to ship beer or spirits directly to residents."
USPS will not accept alcohol and UPS has additional requirements on shippers. So, for that part it would be best to find a local merchant for each person.
posted by soelo at 4:21 PM on November 2, 2020

Best answer: wine.com's engine will show you before you pay whether the item you are considering will ship to the particular state. Rules vary not only by state but by the type of product - alcohol is not a blanket category.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:23 PM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

We received a Zingermans gift once and it was amazeballs, so I'm gonna second that recommendation. (But I don't think they do alcohol.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:01 PM on November 2, 2020

Might I suggest you take the money you would have spent on booze and snacks and instead give cash bonuses? Or gift cards from stores at which each employee actually shops?

Not everyone drinks. And those who don't won't necessarily tell you they don't. People could have alcoholics in their household, family members with severe allergies, etc.

I understand you feel your group is close knit and that you have a good idea of what everyone likes. But you can mess up with that, especially when you'd really be buying for an entire household, and again, people won't necessarily tell you.

Cash is often much more universally welcome in these situations.
posted by Flock of Cynthiabirds at 5:01 PM on November 2, 2020 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: We literally drink (our own alcohol) and eat (our own snacks) every couple of weeks as a group on zoom, so, again - I know what people like and are comfortable with in their own homes in this regard. The goal is just make it more fun with surprise gift baskets! Please take this as a given, as stated in the question. Everyone receives bonuses and is well-compensated by our actually-not-evil semi-governmental organization. I do not have the ability to turn the company's staff food budget into cash bonuses, and it would be very weird to our industry & organization's norms for me to send them cash gift cards from my own pocket, but it's normal for people in leadership roles to buy a round or three on the sort of celebratory dinner we would be having if it weren't for covid. /end thread-sit
posted by Jaclyn at 7:15 PM on November 2, 2020 [24 favorites]

You could do a virtual wine tasting with a winery. They send you some bottles in advance and then you get together on Zoom and they take you through em.
posted by pazazygeek at 9:27 PM on November 2, 2020

Best answer: Sure, but especially if you run into alcohol shipping issues with any states, you could just send folks any snack or other items along with a gift card to buy specific drinks for the event (if that were an option to purchase with the budget you have). Then if they for any reason decide they don't want to drink or want to substitute liquors they already have around the house (as I did at a recent happy hour where I was sent a gift card beforehand, due to my location), they have options. I drink, and I really appreciated that approach.
posted by limeonaire at 3:42 AM on November 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Otherwise, you could do what one part of this year's gift swap is doing and have folks specify local places where you could order for them. That might not ensure everyone has the same thing, but it could be fun to mix and match and share what everyone is having on Zoom.
posted by limeonaire at 3:46 AM on November 3, 2020

Best answer: A lot of the greatest food gift places don't seem to carry alcohol too, so perhaps those orders could be handled separately--food from one vendor and drinks from another. My pick for food would be something like Murray's Cheeses, who seem to have plenty of fancy gifts within your budget. Then find a winery or other alcohol distributor that serves all the states your team members live in. I'd recommend places, but I'm not sure if you want to tailor the alcohol to specific people's preferences (i.e., wine for some, beer for others).
posted by carrienation at 8:55 AM on November 3, 2020

Best answer: I think getting fancy regional sodas would also be nice
posted by PinkMoose at 11:32 AM on November 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

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