Now in its seventh year, The FNB Whisky Live Festival has grown into the largest whisky and lifestyle event of its kind, attracting more visitors and brands than any other whisky festival globally.
And the organisers have promised that this year’s show – which runs from 4th to 6th November 2009 in Cape Town and 11th – 14th November 2009 in Johannesburg – will be bigger and better with more to taste, see and do.
Based on the success of last year’s event, which attracted more than 16,500 visitors, an extra day has been added to the Johannesburg festival. This means visitors now have four days to sample a few of the 180 whiskies available, mingle with the experts behind the brands in The Tasting Hall and attend some of the many entertaining whisky workshops.
According to the Scotch Whisky Association, South Africa is the fifth largest Scotch market by volume in the world. Last year’s FNB Whisky Live visitor breakdown further confirms that whisky is fast becoming the tipple of choice amongst South Africans, and that the profile of whisky drinker is changing to include more women, and younger, upwardly mobile adults.
In fact, 30% of the attendees to last year’s festival had never been to the festival before and around 71% of the total visitors were aged below 45, indicating that whisky is on its way to being an affordable luxury that is more approachable and suits the lifestyle of many younger South Africans.
Sian Neubert, co-organiser of the FNB Whisky Live Festival, says: “In order to appeal to this ever changing and dynamic market, we have introduced a number of exciting innovations designed to take both whisky connoisseurs and novices alike on an unforgettable journey through the allure, origins, flavours and history of whisky.
“This year’s event,” she adds, “will have something for everyone, and will provide visitors a fun and interactive platform from which to learn about and discover the mystery of whisky.” The educational hub of the festival – The Back to Basics Zone – will offer an interactive experience for visitors to experience a visual understanding of the whisky-making process.
It will offer festival-goers the opportunity to interact with leading whisky experts, enjoy live demonstrations of the distillation process as well as enjoy sensory experiences such as smelling the peat, tasting key flavours and feeling the barley.
Crowned as the official mixer of the 2009 FNB Whisky Live Festival, Schweppes will join forces with LiquidChefs adding a whole new dimension to the Back to Basics Zone with the vibey and entertaining Schweppes Art of Whisky Cocktail Making Zone.
Visitors can enjoy an interactive cocktail making experience, fit for the most royal of royals. Three Schweppes Art of Whisky Cocktail Making workshops will take place each night at this year’s event, with around 20 people per workshop. Guests will be taught how to make a variety of stylish and sophisticated whisky cocktails, in a fun, hands-on workshop that is sure to impress. Workshops will be held at 18h30, 19h45 and 20h30 each night and will last for approximately 40 minutes each. Seats will be reserved on a first come, first serve basis.
In addition, visitors will be able to learn more about the Maturation process and understand the great importance of wood. Led by a leading whisky expert, two workshops per night will run in this new area, and will operate on a first come first served basis.
Whisky workshops, which have been consistently voted as the best learning experience/best value for money at the show by visitors, will once again be available at the festival. These one-hour tutorials are led by whisky experts, who have the knack of explaining whisky jargon in simple everyday language. They also provide visitors the opportunity to taste unique whiskies generally not available in the Tasting Hall or even in South Africa. Be sure to take advantage of the combo package which provides entrance to the Tasting Hall as well as a workshop of your choice.
Some of the festival favourites are also making a comeback. The Lexus Whisky Leisure Lounge will once again provide the perfect forum for client entertainment¬ in an exclusive lounge, offering dinner, whisky cocktails and exclusive tastings of ‘unusual whiskies’ conducted by a well-known whisky host.
New releases include Compass Box Orangie Liqueur, an extension of the Highland Park range, GlenDronach, and a selection from the McDuff range of whiskies including Grand Macnish, Lauders and Islay Mist. The Really Great Brand Company will showcase a unique whisky sensory experience to the South African public for the first time at festival. This exciting experience, which takes whisky consumers on a journey of all their five senses, will entice, excite and intrigue visitors. Brands present at the sensory experience will range from a selection of prestigious single malts, whisky liqueurs, American and Irish whiskies.
The ultimate guided tour of the festival – the Lexus Connoisseurs Experience – will again also offer a chauffeur drive, a personalised guided tour of the festival and ‘unique’ tastings followed by dinner in the Lexus Whisky Leisure Lounge.
“As a fair portion of last year’s attendees where women – 36% to be exact – we are ensuring that there are more attractions that appeal to ladies at this year’s event. Besides the extensive range of whiskies, there will also be whisky cocktails and liqueurs, fine foods, jewellery, entertainment as well as some great prizes on offer – including a chance to win a trip to Ireland to visit the Wild Geese distillery, a Royal Enfield Motorbike or even the Bushmills distillery manager’s classic Jaguar!”
The FNB Whisky Live Festival will run from 18h00 to 22h00 daily in Cape Town at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Tickets to the Tasting Hall cost R180, with a range of other ticketing options available through Computicket from 15th September, including new multi-day passes and group bookings.
The FNB Whisky Live Festival promotes responsible drinking. No persons under the age of 18 years old will be allowed into the Tasting Hall, and dedicated driver tickets are available. Discounted food vouchers and a bottle of Valpre mineral water are included in the ticket price, and taxis will be on hand to ensure that everyone in your party is able to have a good time.
Part of the proceeds will continue to be donated to The Foundation of Alcohol Related Research.
For more information please visit the website – www.whiskylivefestival.co.za – or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find accommodation for these events see Johannesburg Hotels for 11th – 14th November 2009 in Johannesburg and Cape Town Hotels for 4th to 6th November 2009 in Cape Town.