The Crafdi Online Conference for Distillers is next week! 27th – 29th April!

Some of you may have noticed a distinct lack of posting from me on my site in recent weeks. I’m sorry for this. It’s a busy time of year as a spirits judge. Two weeks in London at IWSC then one week at home remotely for Gin Guide Awards, then two weeks in San Francisco for the ADI International Spirits Competition, then in the last couple of weeks I’ve been in London a bit for World Drinks Awards and the Spirits Masters. Trying to keep up with my work around this has been incredibly challenging, but also rewarding – as it always is. And now, we are in the final days of organisation for the Crafdi Online Conference which is next week. After I wrap that up I’m hoping to get back to a few things on my site here, a bit of cooking, the distillery photography (which I’ve almost sorted but not quite, bear with me on that one). Of course I have a few bottles to write about. And travel, and an incredible event I intended in London recently, the launch of Artingstalls Gin.

If I didn’t love doing this, then I couldn’t do it. Each day comes with it’s own challenges, mostly related to time and stress management! However, I love it, and apparently I can’t get enough of it. For any day I worry I’ve taken on too much, there’s another where I feel like I’m on top of things and that feels amazing! Just a quick thank you to anyone and everyone who has any dealings with me and has showed me patience in recent weeks!

Anyway, that’s my brief update. Let’s talk about the Crafdi Online Conference.

I’ve been involved in the Craft Distilling Expo and Crafdi events for the last few years. The Craft Distilling Expo is a live distillers conference held in London in October, which brings together the world’s pre-eminent Master Distillers, Still Makers, Packagers and Marketers, Professionals and Connoisseurs in an Exposition and Conference offering talks, workshops and displays. It’s a wonderful event with stalls, networking and talks. It’s the talks that I have a hand in. During Covid, the event obviously had to be cancelled, so we moved it online, with a ‘Crafdi Online Conference’. The event worked well. Despite the lack in stalls and face to face interaction, it was wonderful to still have the talks and that sense of connection in the community. Both talks and panels discussions were recording in advance, with live Q&As during the event, where our ticket holders could watch and send in questions based on the videos they’d seen.

The first one in Oct 20 was such a success that we held another one the following April, and since things have reopened, we have been holding the virtual event in April, and the live event in October each year. They serve two different purposes really. The live event is more of a day out and the face to face networking is wonderful, the talks are more immerse when you’re there in the crowd. The online stuff is an opportunity to keep up to date with the distilling world, to learn about everything from processes, to branding, from bottles to sustainability. There are so many different topics covered and you still get to send those questions in. So especially for people who are a little far out to travel to London, it’s a nice way to stay linked in and up to date.

An amazing panel discussion on RTDs I recorded just yesterday, with Bruce of Brentingby, Carmen of 58 and Hayley of Liquid Fusion. RTDs are so much more complicated to make than people realise. It is fascinating.

David and me were clever enough to start recording content before those busy weeks of judging. Still, even with that, we have been recording like mad this last week, getting in everything we can to make the event as good as we can. As he has just told me on the phone, the content is some of the best we have recorded to date, and that’s a win for sure. We have one more video to record tomorrow, and a few slots to finalise on the agenda and that’s it, we’ll be ready to go. The only thing missing is you.

And, I would argue that this event is for drinks writers, even enthusiasts, as much as it is for distillers. This is an idea I’ve been pushing the last couple of years and I’ll tell you for why: me. Having worked with this team and participated in these conversations, my understanding of spirits and spirits production has grown tenfold. It has improved my capacity as a spirits writer, as well as a spirits judge, as well as a spirits enthusiast. If you have any interest in the spirits world then come and get involved, and join our wonderful community of spirits geeks. All are welcome here.

If you want to find out more about the event, including some of the talk topics, how it works and how you get you ticket, then just click the button below. If you do, then I really look forward to asking your questions to our speakers.

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