Taking the city by storm, Midlands Whisky Festival returned for the second time to thestudiobirmingham, bringing over 400 people to the city centre. With over 400 whiskies available from the old to the new, the big brands to the smaller artisan distilleries, it’s no surprise that over 200 bottles were sold to punters on the day!
Drams freely available to sample and buy included not only tried and tested classics, but also featured ‘dream drams’: high-end whiskies that could be sampled in exchange for a Midlands Whisky Festival Dream Dram Token. The most wallet-stretching of these was the Bowmore Single Malt Whisky 1979 Bicentenary, usually costing around £2,500 per bottle. Best-seller Benromach accounted for 8% of the total bottles sold at the event, and in addition to this, some of the day’s most popular distilleries included headliner Glenfiddich, alongside others such as Wemyss and Ledaig.
However, it’s not just the big names that made their mark on the day. The festival proved that there’s something to be gained from venturing to pastures new, and smashing whisky preconceptions, as brands such as India’s Paul John, and Sweden’s Mackmyra sold by the bottle load. The festival prides itself as a platform for introducing whisky-lovers to smaller, artisan distilleries who may not have the reputation of the bigger brands, but who certainly have the taste and quality to match.
Festival organiser, David Gardener, commented on the success of Midlands Whisky Festival, saying:
‘We’re delighted that so many of our punters hailed from Birmingham. As we are a small, local business, we know the importance of keeping revenue in the city and contributing to Birmingham’s wealth.”
“The purpose of the festival allows people to broaden their horizons and sample whiskies they might not have known existed before. We found many of our guests embraced the spirit of this on the day, with many telling us that they had finally purchased their personal ‘dream drams’. We’re so glad that the festival encouraged experts to add more unusual drams to their drinks cabinet, as well as encouraging beginners to make that pivotal first purchase of what could be a great collection.”
What’s more, the festival was not just a hit amongst the home-crowd: guests travelled from across the country, and even across the seas, to make the most of the malts on offer. Most punters were Brummie born and bred, with 20% hailing from the city centre itself, while 59% travelled slightly further from the surrounding West Midlands. However, taking it further afield, 1% of the festival-goers came all the way from Minneapolis, USA, proving that crossing the pond is no distance for the sake of dream drams!
Nickolls and Perks are now getting set for their 12th annual event in Stourbridge, on 16 -17 March 2018, for which tickets will be available this week from www.whiskyfest.co.uk. In the meantime, they will also be holding an exclusive Diageo 2017 Special Releases Tasting with Colin Dunn, for which tickets are available to buy here: http://bit.ly/2x3vdYv.