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Whisky Festivals: An incomplete guide for the curious.

Whisky festivals 2023
Where has the year gone!?

We’re started planning the second half of the year and for us that means plotting a route between several important Whisky Festivals that happen in the UK and across Europe. In Whisky world, these are fairly routine. There’s a loose family feel to the reps that see each other at the different festivals up and down the country. It’s a lovely bunch - perhaps a little bit bonded through the shared hardship of long (sober) hours pouring drams for inquisitive whisky geeks! We joke, but they’re pretty draining affairs if you’re on the service side of the table, however - the whisky community are lovely folk with a thirst for knowledge and great whisky - and that’s something we’ll raise a glass to any day.

If you’ve never been to a whisky festival then we fully encourage you to put it on your 2023 bucket list.

Nowhere else can you sample so many different producers under one roof. Most attend with a good selection and well trained staff on hand to talk you through their ranges. Although some festivals get a bit of criticism for their high price tags - we know first hand that many of them ensure that the quality of the whiskies being poured in the show ensure value for money for the ticket holders.

Apart from the obvious sampling and learning opportunities - the festivals are a great way to meet other folk who share the same curiosity or passion as you might for whisky. Some of our most brilliant, random encounters started by getting talking to someone over a dram at a festival. You’ve got a glass in your hand, you’re all there for the same reason… it’s a catalyst for conversation as whisky so often is.

Whilst the idea of a whisky festival might conjure images of a bunch of middle aged men stood about talking about whisky (or worse), there’s been a real drive in recent years for festivals to become more experiential, more inclusive, and more diverse in their offerings. It’s not surprising now to find mixed drink areas, street food vendors, interactive sessions alongside the sampling and masterclasses. Whisky is undoubtedly still male skewed but important work by the likes of The OurWhisky Foundation is ensuring that festival organisers are becoming more cognisant to what’s required to make festivals more inclusive and generally better spaces for everyone to engage in.

Here’s a little list of some of the festivals that we’re aware of happening the UK this year.
If you’ve never been to one we explore you to give it a go. You’ll be hooked!

We're not saying you'll love everything you taste or have fun all the time. 
Holyrood Distillery, Edinburgh
June 2nd & 3rd, 2023

Edinburgh Whisky Festival
June 10, 2023

The National Whisky Festival: Inverness Edition
July 1, 2023

Belfast Whiskey Week
July 21-29, 2023
18-20 August 2023

The National Whisky Festival: Aberdeen Edition
September 9, 2023

Liverpool Whisky Festival
September 16, 2023

York Whisky Festival
October 7, 2023

Whisky Live Paris,
October 21 and 22,2023

Manchester Whisky Festival
October 20-21, 2023

Dornoch Whisky Festival
October 27-29, 2023

Glasgow Whisky Festival
November 11, 2023

If you're not in the UK then check out this resource for a more comprehensive list of global whisky festivals on the inside the cask website. .