I’ll be honest, I sometimes find whiskey festivals crushingly boring….The geeking out on lost bottlings, the absurd Male to Female ratio, the seriousness of it all, its exhausting. My philosophy for whiskey or wine, for that matter, is much different. I love it of course, but I explore it for fun. If I manage to get my hands on a rare bottle, I’ll open it rather than put it on a shelf to worship. I’m in the Dave Broom camp of enjoying the stuff. Mix it, put ice in it, add water, put green tea in it, do whatever enhances YOUR personal enjoyment of the Water of Life. That is most certainly our whiskey making philosophy here at Chapel Gate I want to make whiskey that will fuel not only conversation and discovery but also fun. I was heartened then last weekend to go along to Whiskey Picnic in London. The event was started a few years ago in Edinburgh as a celebration of all things whiskey, but also as a fund raiser for Movember the men’s health awareness campaign that personally I blame for the proliferation of facial hair we see around us these days….
It was a genuine whiskey enthusiast event with some big hitters like Compass Box and Grant’s in attendance. The beginning of the evening was centered around meeting the makers all of whom had dressed in Tweed, which was the dress code for the night.. So, some great whiskey knowledge to be had, as the night progressed the cocktails started to flow and some of London’s biggest bartending names, were flinging some delicious whiskey cocktails out. Then of course the mad dancing started etc. etc. It was a really great night and my idea of what a Whiskey Festival SHOULD be. Edutainment filled rather than seminar filled. Best of all it was a great opportunity for me to observe our target consumers in the flesh….The average age of attendance was about 26 I would say, the male to female ration was even and the commonality all attendees shared was a real interest in Whiskey. (The other commonality was beards, pretty much every guy had a serious beard….)
These are the people that are fuelling the current whiskey boom. These are the people who will make or break all the upcoming and planned Irish Whiskey brands. They demand not only quality, but authenticity and independence. I’m excited to rise to that challenge with our little planned portfolio.