The third and last day was all about exploring BCB for Jan and me. We had worked with DeKuyper/Rutte and Fever-Tree respectively during the first to days. Although we had gotten many new impressions, the easy stroll was to start now. But was it really all an easy stroll? Go on reading to find out…
After creating a video with Philip Bischoff which I recently uploaded to my Instagram-TV we made our way through the various main and secondary floors of the venue.
Rolling up the field from the very end: Hall 8
Here is my first critial point to realize that day: Hall 8, designed with a bunch of really small booths, was located on the very end of the BCB venue “Station”. In fact it was so hidden back there, that many visitors never even made their way there. The sign indicating a Smokers’ Area behind Hall 8 was even larger than the hall’s announcement itself. This was a pity for both exhibitors and guests, especially since we got to meet some really cool people there.
Meeting old friends from near and far
This is precisely why I want to start our virtual tour here. We met our “neighbors” from Hamburg, Helmut Wermut. I featured their red vermouth back in Negroni week, a really sweet and deep red one with lots of spices and herbs.
Furthermore, we found a booth displaying various Scandinavian spirits. While my connections to Europes very North aren’t as established yet, I spotted a few very familiar gin bottles: I’m talking about Kalevala Gin from Finland. Moritz, the owner and master distiller, unfortunately wasn’t pesent himself. We found his fine spirits there anyway – cheers, Moritz!
Getting new inspiration
Amongst the brands hidden in Hall 8 we actually found some real gems. First, we met Tim and the guys behind Tarsier Gin. An English Dry Gin with Southeast Asian influences from Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand – very interesting stuff.
Next up was Manchester Gin, a collection so broad you could fill an own shelf with it. Harry told us how the rebuilt the distillery and warmly invited us over to visit them in Manchester some day, as they do fine food pairings at the distillery. Definitely something to seriously consider, let’s see if we find an occasion to fly over.
A third discovery was made towards the end of the day. One could say we saved (one of) the best for the last: Mermaid Gin. The Isle of Wright Distillery has had the potentially best bottle re-design in 2019, at least if you ask me. The flask of their Mermaid Gin and Mermaid Pink gin is absolutely unique in style and completely sustainably sourced. They don’t use any plastic at all, even the bottle’s sealing is organic. Besides its great looks, the gin is a super solid and juniper-lead gin that Jan and me will further evaluate as we were lucky to sneak out a bottle each.*
In the meantime, check out the cocktail I posted on Instagram to get a first glance of this BEAUTY.
Following our friends’ suggestions in Hall 1
Another part of the BCB venue we hadn’t really been able to pay proper attention to yet was Hall 1. In fact, it was home to some brands which had been specifically recommended to us by friends.
Sláinte! – Gins from Ireland
One of these, The Boatyard Distillery. Since I had seen those eye-catching labels on Instagram quite a lot I was very keen about getting to know them. Nice to see that only the gin(s) are true gems but also founder and master distiller Joe was cool to talk to. More about the Boatyard Distllery sometime very soon, hopefully!
John aka the_ginthusiast told Jan and me to go visit the people of Drumshanbo from Ireland. We paid them a visit and the team were happy to hear about this while presenting us both their Gunpowder Gin as well as the Sausage Tree Vodka in their respective super recognizable bottles.
Austria, Switzerland and England
On our way through the long aisles we suddenly stopped at Loewen Gin from Austria. I remembered this gin since a colleague of mine brought me a few little samples quite a while ago. What I had not realized that time was the fact that all bottles and the super thin glassware are mouth-blown! I can’t think of anything similar in a gin hence it was worth mentioning.
Chase Distillery from England is famous (among other things) for the bow-ties attached to their gins. We got to chat to the humble people behind the brand and I’m sure there will be some sort of feature here quite soon, as well.
Last stop in Hall 1 was a gin from our Swiss neighbors going by the name of Weisshorn. A spirit distilled at 2,000 m (6,000 ft) above sea level in a rather abandoned village aiming to bring a few more people there. Not only a nice idea but also a delicious sip! Speaking of bringing people there: at BCB they had set up their own photo booth which resembled an old ski cabin. Quite the attraction for many visitors who stopped and took a professional picture there. As you may guess already, Jan and Marius missed out on taking an action shot of that sort…
What’s in the halls on the opposite end?
That’s what we thought as we headed towards number 4 and – right above it – Hall 5. Following our friend Jacopo (@gin.tonic.italy) we first stopped at the very extravagant EnGINe booth. Quite honestly, when I see a gin bottled in what appears to be small motor oil vessels my scepticism hits me hard. However, much to our surprise, the product inside was really not bad at all. Even that fact that EnGINe contains sage (let’s say I normally don’t love sage) did not have me shiver. And it made for a great Dry Martini, this all-organic Italian gin!
Portuguesee Ademaus Gin and The King Gin from Bavaria had been spotted the previous day already: both combine nicely with Fever-Tree’s Mediterranean Tonic and were among our surprise discoveries, as well. After saying hi to the “Juniper Bomb” aka Juniper Jack Gin from Desden, Germany, it was time to climb up some stairs to Hall 5. Was there even more to explore?
“Nice meeting you … again!”
Short and simple answer: yes there was! Yet again I was super happy to see some familiar faces. The couple from Twelve Keys Gin (who’s names we’re not going to mention) remembered our first meeting at last year’s Junipalooza Event in Hamburg as much as we did. Glad to see their gin journey is continuing for the good.
Right after this, I took Jan to meet Niccolò and Enrico of Winestillery, from the Tuscany region. I got to know them and their duo of gins at The Gin Day in Milan and I was more than curios about their Tuscan vermouth! A small Negroni and a Bramble twist later I was fully convinced that these are products we HAVE to have in the German market – importers, where you at?
Lastly, Tim form Northern Ireland took us through the story of how they completely rebuild both the distillery and the brand of Copeland Gin just recently. Fun and authentic dude, one we hope to be able to work with soon (once his super busy weeks come to an end).
Back to the main floors one last time…
Of course we couldn’t leave BCB without paying at least a short visit to the friends of Monkey 47! They were exclusively presenting their new Distiller’s Cut 2019 to the public for the first time so imagine how busy the booth was. A truly fun feature though was miniatures train which continuously back and forth between the Black Forest and Jalisco, Mexico. What? Yeah, this was a shot-train to be precise. Monkey G&T shots were exchanged with little Palomas by Altos Tequila. Fun to watch and tasty at the same time. The guys had fun, we can tell.
Right before leaving the main floors we got to try Tobermory Gin, something totally new from Scotland. If you know me you are aware of the fact that I’m a sucker for Scottish gins and this one was no exception to that. What makes it special is the approx. 7 % of their whisky “new make” that are blended with the ready gin and which one can really taste here. More on that discovery soon.
And then there was this
Have you really tried all the gins at BCB and not a single spirit that wasn’t gin? Well, no and no. We were of course far from trying or at least getting to know all the exhibited gins here. What we did taste, however, was a rum. Not just any rum but a super extraordinary one: Cinecane Rum, made and presented by our good friends Andreas and Waldemar of Tastillery from Hamburg! Cinecane is their first own spirit. They created a white and a dark rum infused with actual popcorn (!) to transport those typical cinema flavors to your living room aka home bar.
It was the first time I got to try this weird stuff and boy was it tasty! I’m not saying this because were friends with them or because they paid me to do so (hey guys, you should pay me next time!) but because it completely blew my mind. While my limited rum knowledge my not be the very best to be judged upon, all I can say is that Cinecane is a category of its own. The crowd’s favourite drink, a “Cinecane Old Fashioned”, was simply to die for…
See you again in 2020, BCB!
Well, we didn’t die after all, even though my feet felt a bit like they were dying after three long days at BCB. As we left the venue I was happy to head back home, despite the many great experiences made. Speaking of venue: this was apparently the last time at “Station” as BCB will be moving to the Berlin Trade Fair venue (Messe Berlin) next year, presenting itself in an even bigger and overall new shape. Let’s see in October 2020 what this will be all about!