Britain is renowned for its craft beers, fine spirits and delightful mixology, while the growth of its wine industry continues to gather pace. With ‘Dry January’ at an end, those keen to sample the best of Britain’s alcohol can enjoy an abundance of incredible festivals for beer, wine and spirits throughout 2020, all of which provide ample opportunity to discover innovative concoctions and perhaps even a new tipple of choice…
The Great British Gin Festival will continue its tour of Britain in 2020, bringing 100 different gins from around the world to a range of locations. With cocktail demos and presentations from industry producers, they’ll be a generous helping of flavoured gins to test the taste buds, all with a background of live music.
When? Dates TBC for Portsmouth, Ipswich, Northamptonshire, Bristol, Hastings and Edinburgh.
Tantalise your taste buds at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, as the team behind the hugely successful Craft Beer Rising launches BrewLDN in the capital, bringing together more than a hundred of the finest craft brewers and cider producers. Visitors can sample an array of delicious street food, snacks and live music across all three days of the event.
When? 27-29 February
In April, The Wine and Spirits Show returns to One Whitehall Place, part of the iconic The Royal Horseguards hotel in Westminster. Sample masterclasses from major wine and spirit brands, meet up with boutique wine producers and discover more about the fantastic history of Champagne. Head to the Global Masters Zone to find out more about prestigious entries into Global Masters competitions, sample a range of brews from every continent as part of the Global Beer Tour Zone, or visit the Spirits Hall – home to award-winning vodka, whisky, tequila, bourbon and more.
When? 24-25 April
Having cemented its place as a leading whisky festival, the London Whisky and Spirits Weekender has added an array of other spirits to the mix for 2020. Try an array of the finest home-grown Scottish whiskies, alongside brands from all corners of the globe, as well as a selection of rum, brandy, gin and mescal. With set sessions at the Kia Oval to ensure things don’t get too crowded, sample the finest whiskies that India, Japan, the USA and Taiwan (among many others) have to offer, or purchase ‘under the counter dram tokens’ to sample rarer, more exclusive tipples.
When? 15-17 May
The annual celebration of beer, food and music at the Fyne Ales brewery estate in Cairndow, Argyll marks its eleventh year in 2020. Having won Beer event of the Year at the 2018 Scottish Beer Awards, the family-friendly festival welcomes people of any age and has plenty of space for visitors to pitch tents or park up in motorhomes and caravans. Fyne Fest will have hundreds of beers from over 50 UK breweries and two international bars available to try, as well as a wealth of cider, cocktails, wines and spirits. Three stages host live music while a host of local and award-winning producers provide the food.
When? 5-8 June
Having originated in Glasgow in 2002, wine expert Tom Cannavan’s popular festival has expanded to take in three cities across Britain. The Festival of Wine features tastings and masterclasses in city centre locations from top winemakers, retailers and importers, allowing visitors to discover great wines and to learn the stories behind them.
When? 13 June (Glasgow), Date TBC (London), Date TBC (Edinburgh)
The acclaimed Sussex Gin Fest returns to Borde Hill Garden in July, a celebration of Sussex, British and global gin distillers set in more than 200 acres of stunning parkland. Alongside captivating demonstrations and live entertainment, discover a range of international foods to compliment the array of gins on offer.
When? 11 July
Developed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the Great British Beer Festival showcases more than 900 real ales and craft beers from around the world, of which more than half come from British brewers. Having operated for more than 40 years, the festival is run by hundreds of volunteers and also serves an array of ciders, fine wines, perries and gin from more than 30 bars. Tutored tasting sessions reveal more about the brews on offer, with each brewery also competing for the prestigious title of 2020 Champion Beer of Britain.
When? Dates TBC
Hosted in the glorious surroundings of Victoria Baths in Manchester, Independent Manchester Beer Convention will return for its ninth year in October. Welcoming breweries from across Britain, and a sprinkling of those from elsewhere in the world, the event features an eclectic mix of tasting sessions and a food village packed with delicacies from around the region.
When? 1-4 October
Showcasing hundreds of rums from across the world, RumFest returns to the ILEC conference centre in Earls Court, London, in 2020. Expect intimate seminars from some of the industry’s leading lights, an array of delicious food tastings, live music and holiday giveaways as part of a carnival-like experience.
When? 16-18 October
Bringing together an abundance of craft breweries under one roof, Newcastle’s Wylam Brewery will host Craft Beer Calling. As well as a Gin Palace and an artisan cider cellar, visitors can talk with the brewery staff to find out more about their favourite tipples before indulging at the on-site street food market.
When? Dates TBC
Featuring hundreds of wines from English wine producers and some from further afield, Winchester Guildhall hosts The Wine Festival, a selection of tasters, masterclasses, street food and merchandise. Masters of Wine and TV presenters, Susie Barry and Peter Richards, host the event, imparting their expert knowledge while visitors discover exciting new wines.
When? 28-29 November
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