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The Spirit of North Hop Festival Lowdown

Tuesday 24th October 2017

Only got 4 sleeps to go until the very first Spirit of North Hop festival in the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre so we wanted to give you guys that have bought tickets (and those that are to still grab them!) the full lowdown on what the festival is all about and what differentiates it from other festivals out there...

When’s it happening and where do I go?

This Saturday (28 October 2017) at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. Entry through the main entrance for both the afternoon session (1pm to 5pm) or the evening session (6pm to 10pm). Bring your ticket/booking confirmation. All Universe tickets are scannable so please have printed copies or your device/tickets ready at registration for scanning.

How do we get there/away?

There won’t be any Gig n’ Go buses for this one due to the evening session finishing at 10pm but you will still be able to use the regular buses to/from the AECC. Local taxi companies have been notified that the event is taking place and to be on standby.

For those of you wanting to make a night of it we have secured great deals with the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express next door to the AECC and all information for these deals and the booking link can be found here (scroll to bottom of page).

But where’s that awesome Spirit of North Hop glass?

You pick up your glass and programme at Festival Registration once you enter the AECC and hand over your tickets. Don’t forget the glass is yours to take home, so be careful with it (and don’t forget it!)! There are rinsing stations within the main room and most distilleries and bars will serve up your cocktails and perfect serves in these sexy hi-ball spirit glasses!

So, what will I find at Spirit of North Hop?

Within the Boyd Orr you’ll find all the bars, distilleries, market traders and food vendors. The distilleries floor space area is set out like a map of Scotland, with distilleries up along the top end (north, north east and islands) and down the sides of the room (east, west and central belt). You will then find market traders with all sorts of delights up the middle, and tasty food vendors and bars along the bottom end of the room with plenty of space to chill out with our Resident DJ, Alan Grant in the ‘Botanical Lounge’.

First things first, tell me about the bars and the distilleries?

With 18 different Scottish distilleries and 3 bars you will have no end of drink options at Spirit of North Hop!

On the bar front the AECC will be running a pop-up Prosecco Bar with some pretty tasty prosecco cocktails on offer, Finnieston Distillery Co will be showing off their recently launched, award-winning whisky cocktails cans (we love the Finniestion Fling!) and the North Hop Bottle Bar will have a selection of beers from Fierce Beer, Two Thirsty Men, Brew Toon and Brewgooder, as well as Scottish cider from Thistly Cross Cider.

But we’re guessing you want to know about the distilleries now...at the festival you will get the chance to meet the distillers and enjoy samples (included in the ticket price) as well as buy perfect serves or cocktails from each distillery, and of course purchase some bottles to take home and enjoy at a later stage.

At Spirit of North Hop you will find tequila, vodka, gin, liqueurs, whisky and rum (the clue is definitely in the name!) and a whole bunch of special ‘firsts’ too:

UWA Tequila
- Scotland’s first tequila company and this is their first Scottish festival appearance.
El-Gin’s newly launched Moray Mocha Liqueur.
LoneWolf Spirits - Craft G&T in cans, we like their style!
New Aberdeenshire distillery, Blackford Craft Distillery with their new Pictish Gin and award-winning Vesperis Vodka.
New Scottish rum company Wester Spirit Co and their first rum, a cheeky spicy number!
SeaWolf Rum - Scotland’s first white rum from the guys behind Edinburgh’s legendary Bramble Bar!
Shetland Reel showing off and selling their newly branded bottles a few days ahead of general public sale.
Scotland's first absinthe, Murmichan from local distillery, The Lost Loch Distillery.

You’ll also find some of Scotland's favourite distilleries at Spirit of North Hop:

Porter’s Gin
- Very local, always popular and definitely a bar you want to hit up for epic cocktails!
Eden Mill - Visiting from St Andrews with their popular gin range, some rarer blended whiskies, and new make spirit and their brand new range of gin liqueurs.
Esker Spirits - Having gone down a storm at our last North Hop Aberdeen we’ve no doubt their gin will be a popular one at this festival.
Stirling Gin - Grasp the nettle and join the journey, gin made using local nettles, definitely one for the gin bucket list!
The Glenrothes - Visit Andy to check out their Vintage, Bourbon Cask, Sherry Cask and Peated Cask Reserves plus 2 specially selected bottlings from the Berry Bros & Rudd range.
Colonsay Gin - Gin from the tiny Hebridean island of Colonsay, Scott will have some delicious serves and cocktails to enjoy.
Teasmith Gin - Finely curated botanicals and hand-picked tea go into this affa fine tea. They are planning some alternative G&T serves you don’t want to miss!
Persie Gin - A distillery that focuses as much on the nose profile as the taste profile of the gin. At this stand you are guaranteed plenty of gin innuendos!
Electric Spirit Co - Bright orange bottles and neon sign, you won’t miss James, and neither you should as ‘Achroous’ gin is a juniper fronted taste sensation!
Isle of Skye Distillers - Another island visitor to the Granite City with their delicious Misty Isle Gin and their brand new Tommy’s Gin with proceeds donated to local military charities.

What else is on offer?

Well it couldn’t possibly be a North Hop festival without oodles of lip-smackingly good street food and creative market traders to check out so here’s what you will find...

FOOD:
Yatai Izakaya - Japanese Gyozas & Steamed Buns. Their very first street food outing!
FreshMex - Mexican delights, the perfect pairing for exotic cocktails.
Salt + Sauce - Foot Long Hotdogs, Mac n Cheese, and Poutine, absolute food porn!

MARKET:
Bakery Lane - Cakes, Traybakes, Brownies and goodies to take home - Gin Marmalade, Chutneys and Granolas.
Juniper Press - The talented creator behind the Spirit of NH design! Illustrated creations, a number of them with a namesake gin theme.
Bon Accord Soft Drinks - The perfect mixers for all these fab spirits and perfect option for the designated drivers too!
Curated Stories - Pop-up store with lots of boozy themed delights - books, beer caddies, glassware, cocktails shakers and much more.

THE SPIRITUAL SESSIONS:
As a wee added extra during each session we give you guys the opportunity to have an intimate group experience with some of the distillers to find out more about the distilling process, their products and enjoy some special samples. You don’t need to sign up for these sessions, simply gather around the stage area when you hear the announcements to get involved (samples for first 30 or so folk to gather around only, so get in there quick!). The sessions will run as follows:

Afternoon - Colonsay Gin @ 2pm & LoneWolf Spirits @ 3pm
Evening - UWQ Tequila @ 7pm & El-Gin @ 8pm

Where’s the after-party we hear you cry?
Well, where else would we hold the official after-party for such an awesome spirits festival but the home to Aberdeen’s very own Porter’s Gin, Orchid Aberdeen. The legendary Orchid bar crew will be shaking up some pretty epic cocktails for the night using spirits from the festival and there will be live acoustic music from Mark Buchan from 10pm, be there or be square!

So folks, nothing left to do from our side but to pack the van and head down to Aberdeen to launch this new festival!

If you haven’t got your tickets yet, you are literally running out of time… buy them here and we’ll see you there!

#spiritofnorthhop