Saturday 6 October 2018

Festival of Sussex Gins 2018

Gin, gin and more gin, well Sussex gins to be exact, that was the promise, so did the Brighton GIN Club deliver?  In a word, yes, there were more Sussex based gin distillers than you could shake an empty Copa glass at!

All set for a busy gin festival

Having been to the festival the previous year I knew what to expect and given that this was going to be the largest festival of Sussex gins, I couldn’t wait.  This year the festival was held at the Clare Hall in Haywards Heath, a bigger venue, but rightly so as there was even more gin goodness to sample and buy.

There were 10 gin distillers at this event, which was once again sponsored by Fentimans who were showcasing some new tonic water flavours.

The distillers showcasing their gins this year were:-

  • Blackdown Distillery
  • Slake Spirits
  • Brighton Gin
  • Cabin Pressure Spirits
  • Mayfield Distilling Company
  • Chilgrove Gin Company
  • Chichester Harbour Gin
  • Generation Distillers
  • Harley House Distillery
  • Madam Jennifer Distillery

Of the distillers mentioned above a number of them were rather new to the gin scene, some having only started producing gin earlier in the year!  But hey, you can never have too much gin and it is always pleasing to see and taste new gins and as per last year, we were not disappointed.

Getting busy at Festival of Sussex Gins
The day was split into two sessions, an afternoon and an evening session where you had 3 hours to sample the gins, buy the gins and talk about gins to your hearts content.  Now I like to talk, so couple that with a bunch of passionate gin distillers and that 3 hours goes by in next to no time!

We once again got to meet the lovely Sarah from Blackdown who not only brought along her award winning Sussex dry gin, silver birch vodka, silver birch vermouth and elderberry liqueur, but she had new gins flavoured with tea, sage and bay.

Blackdowns range of gins and vodka

 All I can say is Sarah, you are definitely onto winners with all of these gins, they were Fabulous, yes, with a capital F, they were that good!

Thomas from Slake Spirits

The equally lovely Thomas from Slake Spirits did not disappoint, his gin, which is really smooth, and went down equally well in his Slake Gin Fitz cocktail.

Slake Gin Fitz cocktail

Fitz is a British sparkling wine, along the lines of a very good prosecco, but for obvious reasons they can’t call it prosecco and I will  be checking them out that’s for sure.

Brighton Gin and rock!

I must remember next time to sample the Brighton Gin with the pieces of Brighton Rock that Kathy was putting together, it looked rather good!

All in all it was a great way to spend a few hours doing what I love to do best, drink gin!  The new distillers all had great gins with the promise of new blends to come.

As always, Fentimans did not fail to disappoint with their array of mixers including their new offerings of Oriental Yuzo and Pink Rhubarb, all of which can lift the flavour of even the most uninspiring gin, I hasten to add that all the gins on offer were well and truly inspired, there definitely was no uninspiring going on in any shape or form or glass!

Just to say, if any of the fab distillers who made the event the success it was require any specific reviews of their gins, then please do get in touch, I will be more than happy to help you out, cough cough, nudge nudge 😉

Once again good value for money, £20 entry fee, a nice Copa gin glass along with goody bag including some of Fentimans new range, a small price to pay for a few hours of gin heaven.

Me and Jason of The Brighton Gin Club

For those of you new to The Brighton Gin Club, Jo and Jason as well as putting on wonderful gin festivals, also hold numerous other events in and around Brighton, including cheese tasting with gin pairings, charity events, gin tasting, basically anything to do with gin -  you get the picture!
Check them out at  for details of upcoming events.

In conjunction with one of the distillers from the day and RH Uncovered, we will be having a competition coming soon where one of you fab readers can win a bottle of gin so watch this space for more details.

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