There is no question, gin is in and it’s not going anywhere. Lovers of the juniper spirit in Ireland will gather this April 12th and 13th for the second edition of the Gin Experience Dublin, a festival that celebrates the variety and quality of producers, from artisan makers to global brands. After a highly successful first year, Ireland’s top gathering of ginthusiasts is back, and reloaded.
It is worth noting that over the last year, the Irish gin industry has taken many steps to consolidate the growth it has enjoyed in recent years as part of a global rise in consumption of premium gins. According to the Strategy for Irish Gin 2018-2020, published by the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), exports more than trebled in 2017, a year in which a dedicated Irish Gin Working Group was established to help sustain momentum and to foster industry cooperation.
“As Irish Gin is already regarded as a world-leader in terms of quality and authenticity. We aim to promote this further by developing world-leading, consumer-focussed standards, building on Ireland’s ‘green’ reputation for high-quality food and drink”, they says in the strategy’s introduction.
At the Gin Experience Dublin, attendees will encounter 40 different exhibitors pouring over 130 different gins and there is a heavy focus on local producers. Speaking with Julie Christie, Marketing Manager at the Celtic Whiskey Shop, she explained that this year about 75 to 80% of exhibitors will be Irish. “Irish craft gins will have the strongest precense. However, we have international brands like Bombay Sapphire, King of Soho and Fever-Tree tonic too.”
The team behind the Celtic Whiskey Shop is no stranger to organising high profile drinks events in Ireland. They also run Whiskey Live Dublin and the Irish Whiskey Awards.
What to expect this year
When talking about what is new this year at the Gin Experience Dublin, Julie points out they will have a gin shop, allowing brands to sell their gins and other merchandise.
Attendees will be able to sip and sample gins of every kind accompanied with bespoke serves, savour gin cocktails and to explore food unique food and gin pairings. There will also be masterclasses and a foraging lesson with Ireland’s leading ambassadors.
“The masterclasses are of a very high standard this year!”, explains Julie, highlighting some of the must-try activities and exhibitors: “Sling Shot will be bringing a variety of different distillates so that you can make your own gin, we’ve got some fantastic cocktail masterclasses too – Ariel Sanecki, World Champion Mixologist, will be doing a masterclass for Concullin! Of course, the Gunpowder, Bloom Gin, Bombay Sapphire, Glendalough and Dingle stands are very impressive so well worth stopping by!”
Regarding what’s new in the Irish drink scene, Julie points out thatin the last year, a number of new producers have hit the market. Among the newcomers to watch she lists Sling Shot Irish Gin, Sixling Gin and Chinnery Gin. She also notes that exisiting gin brands “are becoming more experimental” and launching innovative bottlings in tune with trends such as gin pink or more unusual botanicals.
Among some of the gin trends that attendees will be able to experience at the event, Julie notes that there is a growing popularity in fruity gins, and gin liqueurs paired with Prosecco, which serves as the base for many summery cocktails we’ll be seeing a lot of this season. There is also “a bigger focus on tonic, what type of tonic enhances which particular gin and more unusual garnishes!”
The backstage of the Gin Experience Dublin
While the team is experienced organising drinks events, Julie acknowledges that there were a few lessons learned from the first edition: “I think we learnt a lot from our first gin event, quite a few people didn’t know what the ticket would entail and were pleasantly surprised when they arrived at the event and saw what it included. So better communication of this has been a very big priority.”
Another adjustment coming to 2019 has to do with the logistics of the cocktails at the event: “Last year we had brands making their own cocktails on two cocktail bars but logistically that was quite tricky so this year we’ll have the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder doing a cocktail bar takeover and they will be solely responsible for the gin cocktail stand at Gin Experience Dublin.”
For exibitors, attending the Gin Experience Dublin in 2018 proved to be a great experience and many are returning faces this 2019. Gary McLoughlin, from the multi award-winning Glendalough Distillery in Wicklow, spoke to us about the brand’s participation:
“We were delighted to be involved with the the inaugural Gin Experience. It was really well attended by both Irish and international gin enthusiasts. It gave us the opportunity to meet and chat with many of our loyal customers and it gave our customers the opportunity to meet the people behind our wild, foraged gins – like Geraldine our botanical forager and Rowdy our distiller.”
Regarding what they’re bringing to this year’s event, he points out they’ll be running a Wild Gin Cocktail Masterclass with top Irish mixologist Darren Geraghty and they’ll be offering attendees the opportunity to taste the Glendalough Distillery’s full portfolio of gins including their latest collaboration with chef Clodagh McKenna and the recently launched and hugely popular Rose Gin.
Gin Experience Dublin 2019 – Key details
Where: The Printworks at Dublin Castle, Dame Street, Dublin 2.
When: Friday 12th April & Saturday 13th April 2019
Time: Friday 6.00pm-9.30pm | Saturday 1.00pm-4.30pm | Saturday 5.30pm-9.00pm
Tickets: €40.00, plus booking fee. Get them at the Celtic Whiskey Shop or via ginexperiencedublin.com. A minimum of €10 per ticket will go to DEBRA Ireland as well as proceeds from a raffle.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.