Now more than ever, we’re meeting up with friends and colleagues for virtual happy hours to stay connected and feel like we’re together - even at a distance. With many of us trying this for the first time, we tapped into the expertise of our very own Wholesale Account Manager Christopher Shaw, a Certified Beer Server (yes, that’s a real thing!) located in northwest England.

Read on for Christopher’s favorite tips and click below to download our new emojis and stickers to add some flair to your next virtual get-together invite:

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Christopher Shaw, Wholesale Account Manager

What makes you a beer geek?  

I’m constantly reading about beer and became a Certified Beer Server, which tests your knowledge of beer service and styles. I’m studying now for the next level – the Certified Cicerone® exam - in July!

Why do you think we need virtual happy hours right now?
Everybody is having to adapt, socially and professionally. Virtual happy hours give us the opportunity to connect with people at the same time, talk, have a laugh, share a beer and forget about what’s going on – for at least a little bit.

Have you done one with your co-workers?
I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by great colleagues. We’ve had a few ‘pub quiz’ style video happy hours, one of which everyone dressed up in fun costumes. Some people had their Christmas outfits on, others put on holiday clothes with a holiday background and there was even someone dressed as a cow!

What do you think works best for a virtual happy hour?
My first tip is to relax! Try and wind down from what you’re doing for five or ten minutes before the virtual happy hour, as it will help adjust your mindset to be in a pub or bar environment with your colleagues or friends.

Next, prepare a few topics for discussion in your head to keep the conversation flowing. If it’s with colleagues, it doesn’t have to be work related – you don’t always talk about work over drinks, right? Perhaps most important, don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling about the current situation. Whether you’re struggling to adjust or not, chances are, someone else is feeling the same way and will have advice. We’re all here for each other.

Any other fun ideas?
I’ve also seen people naming their online meet ups as if they were pubs. My favorite name I’ve heard so far is “The Nobody’s Inn”!

How about games for a group?
There are some great websites for quizzes in general. I’ve had someone customize a quiz prior to the meet-up using a website like Kahoot, which is easy to use for everyone. All you need is a browser open on one of your devices to play along. People get really competitive!

Any tips for a beer 'perfect pour'?
If you’re pouring from a bottle or a can, always start your glass at a 45-degree angle, then gradually straighten to generate the right amount of foam. Like pouring from draught, the bottle or can should never touch the glass!

And finally, we have to ask, what’s your go-to beer for happy hour?
I’m a big fan of La Virgen. Their Madrid Lager is my ideal lager Helles-style beer for any occasion. I’m more of an ale drinker, so La Virgen Jamonera is a great amber ale for when I want something sweeter – it definitely makes me feel like I’m sipping it from the pub!