This past Friday night I attend St. Louis’ whiskey festival – Whiskey in the Winter – along with fellow Bourbon & Banter writer, Lindsey Wehking. As a proud sponsor of the event again this year, we were thrilled to see even more folks attending than last year. Whiskey in the Winter has truly become a destination event with attendees traveling to St. Louis from 30 different states. To help accommodate for this growth the event will have more space available next year to accommodate a crowd of around 1,800 (this year capacity was 1,500).
This year’s even had over 300 whiskies available for tasting along with educational seminars, gourmet food and cocktail stations. They even managed to sneak in a booth featuring bourbon-themed donuts from Strange Donuts and Jameson Black Barrel liquid nitrogen ice cream. No matter your whiskey or food preference the event had you covered. Based on the feedback we received from folks during the event there wasn’t anyone going home disappointed. Make sure to check out the event’s website for more details on this year’s event so you finalize your decision to attend next year.
This year’s event marks the 4th anniversary. I’ve attended each year and can honestly say that it keeps getting better. Ahmit and the team at Synergy Productions continue to impress with their ability to promote beyond the Midwest and get big name brand ambassadors to attend and hold education seminars. I’ve attended WhiskyFest in Chicago before and have to admit that Whiskey in the Winter is just as much fun with a more laid back atmosphere. If you’ve ever considered attending in the past make sure you don’t miss it in 2016.
I had a great time walking the floor tasting whiskies and meeting both old and new friends. While there weren’t any new bourbons that caught my attention here are a few things I learned that I thought I’d share with everyone.
- Jack Daniels will be releasing their first ever rye whiskey in the spring of 2016. Assistant Master Distiller, Chris Fletcher, tells me it will be something special with a flavor profile different from most rye whiskies on the market.
- If you’re not a scotch drinker but have been curious about the category, I suggest you give Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve a try. It makes a surprisingly tasty Old Fashioned.
- I had a great conversation with someone about creating a limited edition bourbon ice cream. If you like the sound of that please let me know in the comments. I’d love to bring it to market in the spring if there’s strong enough demand.
- Stay away from the Laphroaig booth when they’re burning peat for a demonstration.
- Four Roses is churning along with their new master distiller but Jim’s departure is still being lamented by many at the distillery. Fingers crossed that we’ll see him pop up somewhere soon in a consulting role.
There are a few other things I learned on Friday but I’m sworn to secrecy for now. I’ll share those as soon as I’m allowed or perhaps if we enjoy too many bourbons with some banter soon.
That’s all for our quick recap of Whiskey in the Winter 2015. I had a great time hanging out with everyone and meeting several of our readers who were kind enough to introduce themselves. I look forward to next year’s event and meeting even more of my fellow bourbon lovers. Cheers!
Patrick Garrett, "Pops" as he's known to his friends, is the founder of Bourbon & Banter, LLC and claims the title of Chief Drinking Officer (CDO). A long-time marketing professional and photographer, Pops hopes to use his professional experience and love of Bourbon to spread the Bourbon Gospel and help everyone realize the therapeutic power of having a good drink with friends. Read Patrick's full profile.