TradeScope visited The Whisky Show on Sunday 30 September. This was the second of the two public weekend days. The trade day is on the final Monday (October 1).
The show was quite buzzy. Most of the big Scottish whiskies exhibited, including an Islay pavilion. Compared to the similar Whisky Live show in March, this show appeared about 30% bigger with a better format. Visitors pay an expensive £110 for a day ticket (11.00 to 18.00) which includes unlimited sampling, a buffet lunch and a token for a Dream Dram (a more expensive spirit offered by some exhibitors). The high ticket price seems to attract a discerning audience; we saw very few visitors who were visibly intoxicated!
There weren't many US spirits at the show. Virginia's Catoctin Creek Distillery exhibited, as did Buffalo Trace and Sonoma Distillery.
The cost of a booth is reasonable at roughly £1,000 for a 2.5m wide stand. The cost of free sampling throughout the 3-day show needs to be factored in but the pours are generally limited to 1 cl. – 2 cl. so a bottle goes a long way...
We talked to exhibitors about this show compared to Imbibe and Whisky Live. The main feedback was this is the best spirit show in the UK, and certainly for whiskeys, as you'd expect.
If you'd like to know more about the show from TradeScope Director, Ted Horton, please contact him here.