New events champion craft distilling and London gin

adnams distilleryA summit is being organised to examine what makes a “London gin” as part of a range of events for craft distillers from across the UK and the rest of Europe.

The London Gin Summit on October 1 will bring together the capital’s distillers and others in the spirits industry to debate whether gin distilled in London should be protected in some way and, if so, what action should be taken.

The event takes place at the headquarters of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in Bermondsey Street, London, and will be followed on October 2 and 3 by the Craft Distilling Expo at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, east London.

For the first time in Europe, the expo will bring together craft distillers, suppliers and drinks companies to discuss the renaissance in craft distillation in the UK and the rest of Europe. It will include a showcase of vendors of barrels, corks, bottles and distilling equipment.

David T Smith, of drinks website Summer Fruit Cup, is one of the organisers of the Gin Summit and the debate on London gin. He said: “London Gin is slightly unusual in that it contains a geographic term but simply refers to the spirit’s production method, with no condition regarding where it was made. This has led to some confusion by consumers.

“There has been active discussion for some time on a way to set London-distilled gin apart from gin distilled elsewhere, with terms such as ‘London Cut’ being proposed.”

Research on the term “London dry gin” carried out this year found that 15% of consumers thought that it applied only to gins that were made in London, while only a third correctly thought it referred to the production method. A quarter of them thought the term referred to the taste.

A survey of distillers around the UK found that 40% were in favour of protection for London-distilled gin while 100% of distillers in London were in favour of it.

The Craft Distilling Expo runs from midday to 5pm on October 2 and from 10am to 3pm on October 3. It is a ticketed event, with £40 on the door and £30 for people who book in advance.

It will feature a range of speakers, including leading experts on distilling and drinks in the UK and the rest of Europe. They will include:

  • John McCarthy, distiller at Adnams Distillery (pictured) in Suffolk, on creating your own spirit from scratch
  • Adam Elmegirab on creating his own Dr Adam Elmegirab bitters range
  • Michael Vachon, head of brand development for drinks supplier Master of Malt and its distributor Maverick Drinks, on driving sales
  • Alexandre Gabriel of Cognac Ferrand on 19th-century ingredients and flavours
  • Bill Owens, president of the American Distilling Institute, on craft distilling in the USA

There will also be sessions on the legal aspects of distilling, the chemistry of distilling by Anno Distilling of Kent, and Ireland’s traditional spirit, poitin.

There will also be discussion panels on branding and packaging and importing spirits to the UK and the rest of Europe. A series of workshops, chaired by Dominic Roskrow of The Craft Distillers’ Alliance will include Neil Ridley of Cask Strength on hands-on whisky blending, spirits expert Julia Nourney on nosing spirit techniques, and David T Smith on gin styles and craftsmanship and on British eccentricity in spirits and liqueurs.

There will also be live demonstration of barrel-making with Speyside Coopers.

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