Tag Archives: beverage gift baskets

Title image with wine and champagne bottles and glasses

Are Wine, Spirits or Alcohol a Good Corporate Gift?

30 May

For those who enjoy alcohol a thoughtfully selected bottle may seem like the perfect gift.

And while that might be true for people in your personal life, it’s tricky when it comes to corporate gifts.

Alcohol is a controversial gift for reasons that may not be obvious. Consider how much you know about the person.

Two people with thought blue bubble above their heads

Assumptions can be risky when you don’t know any of the following information:

  • Personal struggles with alcoholism or addiction. Many recovering addicts aren’t necessarily open about their battles with alcohol, especially in their professional environments.
  • Challenging family history with alcohol. People with relatives that have a history of alcoholism may have strong aversions to alcohol.
  • Religion. Some of the religions that may avoid alcohol include branches of Christianity, Muslims, Jainism and Buddhists.
  • Personal preference. Some people avoid alcohol for weight loss, health, mental wellbeing and athletic goals. Others only like certain types of alcohol.
  • Corporate policies. Some workplaces have corporate policies about receiving alcohol.

Build Better Relationships With The Right Gift

Gifts are about building and nurturing relationships and you jeopardize that if the gift offends the receiver.

When gifting alcohol it’s important to be 100% certain that it will be well received. In a professional setting, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

When selecting a gift for someone consider the purpose for the gift:

  • Is it for a business or personal milestone?
  • Are they a client or employee?
  • Is it going to a group or individual

By customizing the gift so it’s appropriate to the occasion, you’ll create a more meaningful experience.

hands receiving a gift with red bow on top

If the gift will be received in the person’s workplace, it’s an opportunity for them to also receive public recognition and feel special.

Obviously we are big fans of gift boxes. The experience of receiving a box, opening it and finding beautifully curated items gives people a prolonged experience of joy compared to opening a gift bag that obviously has a bottle inside.

What ever you decide, put yourself in the receiver’s shoes, how would you feel if you received the gift? Does it feel meaningful?

If you need help selecting a gift for any occasion, check out our gift guide below to help you decide the right type of basket for the occasion.

Gift guide flowchart

Title images of MEC staff in front of a MEC storefront

Inside MEC HQ: 3 Tips Employers Can Learn from Employee Recognition Initiatives

06 Apr

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is a company with a mission. They want to inspire people to lead active outdoor lifestyles while being environmentally sustainable and respectful to the world around them. We think we’re in love!

MEC values their culture and strive to create an environment full of people that share their passion for the outdoors, and for social and environmental change. Water cooler chat is often about recent or planned outdoor adventures, current issues, or simply where to find the best locally grown produce.

In 2016 MEC’s employee engagement was rated at 74%, an impressive 8% higher than the national average. In 2016 they were also recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers.

Pull quote and polaroid-style photos of MEC staff

According to Gallup, a critical component of employee engagement is recognition. Workplace recognition motivates employees, providing a self of accomplishment and helps them to feel valued. It also helps increase productivity and retention.

At Saul Good Gift Co, we’re proud to work with MEC to help them provide ongoing recognition to their employees. We’re inspired by this company and the good they are trying to do in the world. We wanted to see what’s under the hood at MEC HQ and what they are doing that makes MEC such a great company to work for. We talked to Anne Scott, MEC’s HR Coordinator to get the inside scoop.

What does MEC’s employee recognition program look like?

Anne: We recognize employees in a number of different ways at MEC, and sometimes a gift box adds a celebratory touch.  Some examples of when we might do this would be: the kick-off or completion of big projects, thank-you gifts for jobs well done, recognizing employee life events like newborns or weddings, and celebrating work events like milestone anniversaries, new managers, new store openings etc.

What challenges were you trying to solve when recognizing your employees?

Anne: We wanted to have some consistency in what employees received for certain events, which is very difficult with having locations across the country. We needed to make it easy for us – having a “go-to” vendor for each type of gift.

We strive to have good quality and meaningful gifts and awards. Something that is reflective of MEC’s values as well as the values of the recipient.

Pull quote and flat-lay image of sample products included in gift baskets

This means aligning ourselves with companies like Saul Good Gift Co, that are ethical, local, community oriented, and have sustainable practices as it relates to environmental impact.

What has been the impact of your employee recognition initiatives? 

Anne: We hear many comments about how receiving the gift is thoughtful, and that it makes staff feel appreciated. We’ve found that receiving a gift box is exciting and meaningful for people. They really feel valued because it’s noticed by colleagues when it arrives, making for a celebration of sort.

How has Saul Good Gift Co helped you achieve your employee recognition goals?

Anne: At MEC we care about how and where the products we sell are made – it’s important to our members and our staff. Saul Good Gift Co makes sure that their ingredients are presented in a way that exudes “local” and their statement or story about what drives them. This is something that is very appreciated by MEC staff, so the visibility of these stories within the gift itself is very important. It helps us, as an employer, convey to our employees that we care.

The quality and variety of the product surpasses that of any other “gift basket” vendor that I’ve been able to find. The team at Saul Good is responsive, flexible and personable – which makes them a pleasure to deal with.

3 Tips other employers can learn from MEC’s employee recognition initiatives

1. Make it about more than work.

MEC makes a point to celebrate milestones in people’s lives as well as their good work. This makes people feel important and valued beyond the work they do.

2. Where there is an opportunity, celebrate your employee with their colleagues.

MEC found that gifts are meaningful for people. The celebration that comes with receiving a gift elevates the feeling of appreciation.

3. Align your company values with the gifts and recognition you deliver.

At MEC gifts are selected because they are local, sustainable and have a story. For example, Saul Good Gift Co, products come from Vancouver artisans. They are packaged by Starworks Packaging & Assembly, a social enterprise established by the Developmental Disabilities Association. When a MEC employee receives one of these gifts, they feel connected to their local community and know that MEC cares.

Our favourite gift baskets for MEC staff include the Department Party, Confectionist and Fancy-Full.

Product shots of the gift baskets showing their ingredients

 

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Wine Pairing Guide: Local BC Wine + Vancouver Artisan Confections

15 Nov

 

We recently caught up with Valerie Stride from The Demystified Vine and got some great advice on how to pair local BC wines with some of our favouriteVancouver artisan confections. Check out these clear, easy and helpful tips! Your indulgent epicurian moments are about to be upgraded and demystified!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valerie Stride is the creator of the The Demystified Vine (@DemystifiedVine). She is a Vancouver-based WSET Certified Wine Writer & Enthusiast. Her clear and concise blog seeks to unlock the mystery of the wine world!

 

 

 

Pairing #1: Cocolico Shortbread Caramels and Wendel’s Macadamia Shortbread (Gluten free) + Camelot 2011 Gewurztraminer (off-dry)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The unsweet shortbread focuses on the flour and butter profiles. Since the 2011 Camelot Gewurz is off-dry, meaning very slightly sweet, the residual sugar in the wine enhances the experience of tasting the buttery shortbread alongside the fruit and spice in the wine.

 

 

 

Important Tip : Sweetness is the main culprit for making unappealing wine and food interactions. Therefore, always make sure that your wine is sweeter than your dessert. If your dessert is sweeter than your wine, when you take a sip of your wine it will seem overly acidic and unapproachable. The whole point of food and wine pairings is to enjoy a balance of flavour profiles!

 

 

 

Pairing #2: Cocolico Caramel Poppycock + Clos du Soleil Saturn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Clos du Soleil’s Saturn is a Sauternes-style dessert wine made from 100% Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. It is a white wine that has been slightly effected by botrytis – also known as Noble Rot – which produces orange marmalade flavours. The Cocolico popcorn by Wendy Boys, is a succulent pairing for the Saturn not only because the Saturn is sweeter than the popcorn, but because the body of the popcorn is not light and fluffy. The popcorn is heavier due to the caramel, butter, and mixed nut clusters. Therefore, the popcorn and wine balance well together because of the weightier, syrupy viscosity of the Saturn (due to it being higher in sugar) and the atypical weight of the popcorn.

 

 

 

Important Tip: Balance food flavour profiles to the elements of the varietal(s) in your wine. For example, white wines tend to be lighter in flavour and body, so match it with a food that is lighter in flavour and body.

 

 

 

Pairing #3: Beta 5 Darker Chocolate + Blasted Church “Amen” Non-Vintage Port-de-Merlot

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Merlot is a medium bodied wine to start. A port-style fortified wine will have more alcohol, and a slightly more potent form of the original varietal, but with added sweetness. Pairing a fortified wine with dark chocolate is a match made in heaven, as dark chocolates tend to be in the 75% cocoa range and are not sweet, but bitter.  The hint of sugar in the Amen Port-de-Merlot will impeccably complement the dry and bitter qualities in the chocolate, because its flavour profile blesses us with cocoa, berries, and caramel. Yum.

 

 

 

Important Tip: Match the body of your food to the body of your wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Local and Organic Alcohol Gift Ideas: The Pemberton Distillery Masters Handcrafted Spirits

01 Feb

Eight years ago, Tyler Schramm walked alongside his brother through the potato fields of the Pemberton Valley. It was a fine summer day and Tyler was imagining his future. He envisioned farmers’ fields, wide valley vistas, gourmet foodies and the picturesque Mt. Currie. Tyler was determined to convert the abundant potato fields into local, organic potato vodka.

After completing a Masters thesis in potato vodka distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, Tyler had created the original recipe for Schramm Vodka. Since the inception of this vodka, the Pemberton Distillery has been thriving and expanding…and Tyler is living his dream.

I was happy to have the opportunity to meet Tyler Schramm, explore the Pemberton Distillery and sample local organic spirits. Tyler has created fantastic handcrafted products that I am proud to feature in my local artisan gift boxes.


SAUL GOOD GIFT TIP: When gifting alcohol, remember Saul Good rule #9: “If you’re not 100% sure that your gift recipient is going to enjoy the bottle of wine, beer or spirits, leave it on the shelf.” For further guidance, please check out our previous blog post: “Are wine, spirits or alcohol a good corporate gift?”



Exceptional and Award Winning Spirits

Unique Personality

Pemberton is home to potatoes…A LOT of potatoes. Grocery stories have stacks of the tasty vegetable, whole, round perfect potatoes waiting to make it home and onto the dinner table. Not all potatoes are created equal. Lots of them are odd shapes, small and become waste for farmers who can’t sell them to market. Long gone are the days when these lonely potatoes lay waste in the field, they now find a new home at the distillery where they become the main ingredient in Schramm Organic Vodka.

Why not make good use the quirky shaped organic potatoes as ingredients for unique vodka spirits? It’s a great way to add some unique personality. Using certified organic Pemberton potaoes, a mixture of Yukon Gold, Red, Russet, Purple Russian and German Butter, Tyler uses a special blend to create a signature profile for the Schramm taste.

Unique Taste Experience

In addition to being local, organic and full of heart, Schramm Vodka creates a unique experience for your palette. Most vodka is made from rye and has a fairly predictable flavour. Vodka made from potatoes has a unique taste which Tyler has utilized for Schramm. This blended spirit is gently charcoal filtered to maximize purity while maintaining the smooth and rich earthy character of the Pemberton potato.

Since the Pemberton Distillery is located within the Coast Mountains, they are blessed with pristine glacial streams that provide pure mountain water to blend into Schramm Vodka. When you take a sip, it elicits the visceral experience of standing on a mountain and breathing in crisp freshness. It is no surprise that Tyler Schramm’s mastery is award-winning and critically acclaimed.

Local Living Economy

As the Pemberton Distillery thrives and expands, they continue to deepen their local connection. It has been a great pleasure to have their products featured at LOCO events here in Vancouver BC. From the Raspberry Vodka truffles by the Blackbird Bakery, to the Sweet Vodka Mustard by The Food Lovers, Schramm vodka is pickling Pemberton from the inside out.

New Creations

Aromatic Gin

Since mastering the art of potato vodka, Tyler has expanded to the realm of gin and whiskey. The Pemberton Distillery has incorporated 8 Certified Organic Herbs & Botanicals in Schramm Gin. The Pemberton Distillery is the only distillery in Canada that produces gin from a base spirit that is handcrafted. This means that they control the quality of our Gin throughout its entire production. This handcrafted process is also aligned with the tradition of London Dry Gin. There is no added sugar or colouring to the spirit following distillation.

Waiting for the Whiskey!

In the summer of 2010 the Pemberton Distillery filled their first barrels of single malt whiskey. Yes, it’s true, in 3 years we’ll see the first release of this precious beverage and have a local option for the whiskey fan. I think Tyler et al. are on to something! Please stay tuned for more updates.

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Biodynamic Bordeaux by Clos du Soleil Vineyard

09 Nov

Sometimes we search far and wide for the best local products and sometimes our gift discoveries emerge through our network of client relationships. One of our most exciting discoveries has been Clos du Soleil Vineyard. These vintners have created some of BC’s best wines.

 

 

It all began last Christmas when a local Vancouver art gallery placed an order for our reclaimed cedar wine boxes. We engraved each box with their logo and sent it out to several gift recipients. One of these wine boxes was sent to Spencer Massie from Clos du Soleil. Spencer’s biodynamic vineyard thrives in a unique microclimate in BC called the Similkameen Valley. This terroir is the Organic Farming Capital of Canada.

 

Last Spring, Spencer got in touch with us to produce a variety of wooden wine boxes and crates for his winery. This is how I was introduced to the wines of Clos du Soleil. It was an introduction that changed my relationship with wine. In the past I have always gravitated toward light red wine (Pinot Noir for example). However, Clos du Soleil has shifted my attention towards Bordeaux style wine. The first time I tasted the ‘Clos du Soleil Signature Red Wine’ it changed my pallet and broadened my ability to enjoy a glass of wine.

 

When you experience this hand-crafted wine, the flavour and visual presentation are further enhanced by the story of the biodynamic methods that created it. If you aren’t familiar with biodynamic wine, please check out the video at the end of this story.

 

 

At the Saul Good Gift Co., we don’t choose products simply because they are fancy and organic. We think critically and select products based on the overall experience. If you’re looking to give something delicious and unique, try complementing one of our gourmet gift baskets with a bottle of Clos du Soliel. It is a great way to show meaningful appreciation.

 

Spencer Massie & Les LeQuelenec

 

According to Spencer Massie & Les LeQuelenec (above). “The name ‘Clos du Soleil ‘refers to rocks, sun, and soil, from the mountain that forms a tall natural stone wall at the back of the vineyard, the cobbled terroir, and the long days of sun which pour in on the Similkameen Bench, one of BC’s most unique and promising microclimates.”

 

Remember, it is important to be mindful about gifting wine, alcohol, or spirits as a gift. Check out our following blog posts for more insights and information:

 

To learn more about biodynamic wine making, check out this video:

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What if Santa's Celiac?

30 Nov

We’ve got you covered! Many gluten free foods leave me disappointed, wanting something that actually tastes good. Wendel’s TrueFoods have it sorted. Their chocolate chip cookies taste like they should. Diane Morrison has a great story. Wendel’s has been her family’s business for three generations. What started as a general store kitty corner to the train station in historic Fort Langley has become a bustling community hub with her café and bookstore.

Every kid deserves to eat cookies

When Diane’s mother first heard that some children couldn’t eat her cookies because of wheat intolerance or celiac disease she immediately came up with a recipe so all kids could enjoy. Wendel’s TrueFoods now makes a variety of gluten free baked goods meeting a growing need and demand for wheat free foods.

Besides gluten free options, we like Wendel’s because:

1) Many organic ingredients, like organic flour from Anita’s Organic

2) Know your local. Long standing relationships with farmers for fresh seasonal ingredients, for berries and dairy for example.

3) How can I fit biscotti, tarts and seasonal fruit pies into point #3? They’re all good! We like them so much we feature them in our coffee gift baskets.

So when you’re putting that plate of cookies out for santa this year, you might want to consider a gluten free option for good ol’ Saint Nick.

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Peace, love and Sarandipity – local organic fair trade chocolate from Vancouver Island, BC

10 Nov

I’m always on the look out for amazing new products to add to our gift baskets. Checking out specialty shops, farmers markets, doing internet research to name a few, looking for the best delicious, locally sourced, organic and fair trade products. Gourmet foods, snacks, spa and body care products, coffee, tea, and of coursemany people’s favorite, chocolate. There are days when something unexpected shows up, a package that wasn’t ordered, someone sending me something to check out. This past spring I received one such package, from Sara Redpath of Sarandipity, a local chocolatier in Ladysmith, BC on Vancouver Island, filled with samples of her organic and fair trade chocolate creations. Another day at the office!

A few Sarandipity products really stood out for us so we decided to add them to our corporate gifts and gift boxes:

Chocolate Smores – graham cracker, marshmellow and chocolate goodness, without the mess of making them over the fire or the nasty preservatives in those store bought chocolate marshmellow cookies

Artisan Hot Chocolate – we tried Sara’s ‘A weekend in Paris’. Definitely a nice sweet treat on a rainy day. She’s also got a whole bunch of other flavoured hot chocolates we’ve yet to try.

Northwest Chocolate Hazelnut Bark – thin, crispy, dark chocolate bark sprinkled with ground local hazelnuts. Nuff said. The bag didn’t last long in our office.

Top 3 things we like about Sarandipity

  1. Making it happen – we like how Sara just sent us her awesome chocolate knowing that we’d want it for our cool gift boxes
  2. No compromises – Sarandipity chocolates taste great. Sourcing only organic and/or fair trade chocolate and cocoa ensure social and environmental responsibility. Not only does the chocolate make me feel good, so do the values.
  3. Peace – That’s how Sara signs her emails! Root natty root.