North Hop
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2014 Hop Highlights

Wednesday 31st December 2014

So there was a social media launch, our first gin tasting, a pairing of beer, cheese and music, lots of market research, lots of press coverage, the Highlands first large-scale beer festival, our first festival brew with Windswept Brewing Co, lots of fun photo shoots, an amazing response from beer and gin loving fans across the country and our very first 'Hop'Up' event with lots of tasty beers, phew, it really has been quite a year!

North Hop was officially launched back in February across the social media channels to coincide with the monthly #scotlandhour on Twitter with the theme of festivals. At that stage we had a logo (designed by the amazing Fergus at Wee Epics), a strapline, a web holding page, a newsletter sign-up, a concept of where we were heading and that was about it. But before long and thanks to all the support we were receiving from people near, far and wide we had the dates in the diary and the venue confirmed for North Hop 2014.

The concept of North Hop was born out of the need for a festival in Inverness that not only celebrated beer but all the other great things, like gin, food and music that go so well with it. This then also developed into giving everyone 'A Taste of North Hop' through a schedule of carefully planned taster events celebrating all these elements. The first taster event took place in April at the Heathmount Hotel and introduced folk to a whole range of gins, tonics, garnishes and cocktails with the help of Elias from 10 Dollar Shake. The second taster event was a rather tasty pairing of Windswept Brewing Co beers, Cromarty Cheese House Dutch cheese and music in June at Velocity Cafe. And then our final taster event of 2014 was our first Hop'Up event with a Halloween theme featuring Loch Ness Brewery at The Phoenix Ale House.

And then there was the festival…well what else can we say that hasn't already been said! It was an absolutely immense two days, from the beers to the banter and the gins to the music. It was an indoor festival with an outdoor feel and a very unique vibe and atmosphere. Over 50 different beers and ciders, just under 10 gins, tasty Scottish food to compliment the drinks, numerous live bands, acoustic acts and DJ's and over 800 festival go'ers across two days.

So how can we top this year you may ask? Well tickets are already on sale for North Hop 2015, with an immense line-up in the making. Booking has already opened for our first taster event of the year, an evening of gin tasting with 10 Dollar Shake and Eden Mill Distillery and Brewery in February at Velocity Cafe. Planning is underway for a special 'meet the distiller' event with our friends at Rock Rose Gin in March and possibly the most exciting news yet, we have confirmed dates for our very first Aberdeen festival…stick Saturday 11th April 2015 in your diaries now and get ready for more news very soon!

And we couldn't let 2014 go by without naming some of our highlights outside of North Hop HQ…the legendary BrewDog Punk AGM 2014, the first Scottish Juniper Festival at Summerhall, the launch of Rock Rose Gin, the opening of two new fab venues in Aberdeen, Rye and Soda and Bos'n for 10 Dollar Shake, lots of tasty food and drink inspired trips to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, making lots of amazing food and drink friends, the very first Scottish Craft Beer Rising festival at Drygate Brewery, Glasgow and the list goes on.

So as you can see 2014 was where it all began for North Hop but it certainly isn't the end. Let's raise a glass to a hop filled 2015, slainte!