If you are sitting at the start of the year and wondering with to do with all that holiday allowance, then look no further than the following drinks events, which are taking place across Scotland throughout 2016.
North Hop – Edinburgh: 5 March; Aberdeen: 30 April & 1 May; Glasgow: 18-19 June; Inverness – TBC
After making its way from Inverness to Aberdeen last year, North Hop finally escapes the Highlands and heads for the Central Belt in 2016. The beer festival, which also showcases the best in cider, gin, cocktails and food that Scotland has to offer, will be popping up in both Edinburgh and Glasgow this spring.
The Nip – Inverness: 29 March-2 April
After successfully rebranding itself from the Inverness Whisky Festival last year, The Nip is back again with a range of events and masterclasses taking place in and round the city. You can see what I made of last year’s headline event here.
Spirit of Speyside – Speyside: 28 April – 2 May
Taking place in the heart of whisky country, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is one of the country’s biggest whisky events, and is made up of hundreds of events, including distillery yours, tasting and musical performances. The festival has also spun itself out into a two-day event from 9 to 11 September, which will showcase the region’s best whisky, craft spirits, beer and food producers.
World Whisky Day – Wherever you are: 21 May
World Whisky Day invites whisky lovers across the world to raise a glass in honour of Scotland’s national drink. All you need is a bottle, some glasses, and (optionally) some friends to share your whisky with. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for World Whisky Day events in your local area as well.
Islay Festival of Music & Malt – Islay: 20-28 May
Thirty five miles, eight distilleries and a whole lot of fun, the Islay Festival of Music and Malt returns in 2016 for the thirtieth year. Over the eight days, each distillery holds its own open day, which include special tours and tastings, alongside the famous Fèis bottlings. I finally made it onto the whisky island last year and here’s my experiences of the festival.
The Whisky Stramash – Edinburgh: 28-29 May
Returning for its fifth year, The Whisky Stramash is back with its mix of mystery, entertainment, and of course whisky. The details of the festival tend to stay under wraps until closer to the time but these guys always come up with something unique.
Scottish Juniper Festival – Edinburgh: 9-12 June
Tying in with World Gin Day, the Scottish Juniper Festival will be returning to Edinburgh’s Summerhall this June, showcasing the best gins from Scotland and beyond. The setting, the craft on display and the company over the past two years has made this one of my favourite festivals. And you can see what I thought of last year’s event here.
Fyne Fest – Cairndow: 10-12 June
From small beginnings, Fyne Ales’ annual Fyne Fest has become a firm staple in the Scottish beer festival calendar. Taking place in the beautiful surroundings of Loch Fyne, the event is a three days celebration of the best beer, food and music that Scotland has to offer. I made it to the festival last year but one word of warning – don’t try and do it in a day like we did!
Whisky Fringe – Edinburgh: TBC August
Each year, this event sells out in less than five minutes, so I recommend you don’t go…mainly so I can lay my hands on a load of tickets! The first whisky event I went to and still the best, Royal Mile Whiskies never fail to please with Scotland’s biggest whisky event.
Glasgow’s Whisky Festival – Glasgow: TBC November
From small beginnings, the Glasgow Whisky Festival is now so big that it takes places at Scotland’s national stadium each November. As with many events later in the year, plans are still under wraps but should be announced in the coming months.