Junipalooza Hamburg – Why We’re Heading to Germany
Those of you who follow Gin Foundry on social media or who diligently studied their way through the London Junipalooza show guide will know that we’ve been planning a foray into Europe for quite some time. Yup! We’re branching out even further, with Junipalooza Hamburg taking place next month.
As the four week countdown strikes, we thought we’d take the time to explain why we’ve chosen to go to Germany and Hamburg in particular to hold our Meet The Maker festival.
Gin in Germany is big, but it’s not huge. It’s well liked, but not as adored as it is here in the UK. There’s deep-rooted respect for the G&T, but nowhere near the fever that surrounds it in Spain. Do you catch our drift? It’s a thing, was a little overhyped for a while and that put some people off, now it’s not such a big thing, but it’s on the way back up. It’s not been fully nurtured either; there’s still a lot to be done and a lot of fun to be had doing it. Crucially, when you look further than the obvious barometers, you’ll see a category in flux and a list of makers and places as long as it is impressive.
Germany is a country that has quality in both what it makes and how it serves it. There’s a visceral understanding of what “craft” means and both trade and casual drinker alike are keen to learn more about how something is made.
We’re not the only ones to feel this either – we caught up with three makers who will be joining us at Junipalooza Hamburg to get some insight into what makes them tick and what their views are on the scene across the country. Have a look at what Denis from Ferdinand’s Saar Gin thinks and hear the latest from Tessa of Elephant Gin or Martin from Skin Gin. All of them share our optimism and sense that Germany is a country where things are hotting up.
We’re holding Junipalooza there because we want to be a part of that movement. We want to be a part of the category’s journey and see if we could, in our own small way, help contribute to the push.
Germany is a country that keeps surprising us too. Just as we feel we get to know a part of it, another aspect becomes apparent. We’re incredibly excited to bring this to life through showcasing the best of it out there and showcasing gins, insights and articles into the German market as we come across it.
For example, few internationally realise just how many distillers there are in the country. Many consider themselves part timers and only might just produce eau de vie with surplus agricultural crops, but there’s a staggering amount of professionals too. We’ve counted well over 180 operations that are making a gin commercially and really going for it and that was just the tip of the iceberg – there’s well over 500 making the juniper juice. Take a look at our map in which we’ve placed a few to shine a spotlight on some of the names to get familiar with, as well as to simply visualise the sheer depth of offerings available.
It’s not just the amount of distillers that is impressive either, some of the world’s best known coppersmiths are based in the country. There are veritable titans of the production industry out there who forge and mould, one hammer blow at a time, the stills of some of the biggest names of the craft distilling industry. Carl, Holstein and Muller have made thousands of stills between them and are the makers behind the makers in this global craft revolution. We caught up with Sebastian Muller to bring you a glimpse of his views and ideas about what the German Gin scene is like, and given he’s got the best part of 2000 active stills in the country, he’s a man that should know!
It’s clear from speaking to those who are building their businesses out there, and being adopted by Gin enthusiasts that there will be no overnight boom, just a steady growing love for the spirit amongst a wider, dynamic drinks industry with a real focus on quality. There are hundreds of stories to be told about how this is taking place, and we hope to provide a platform to bring them to life by using Junipalooza as a vehicle.
So are all the international gins that are joining us too. Tina Warner-Keough mentions “We’re just beginning in Germany and getting a feel for the market and how we are being received. As a customer Germany sits in our top twenty overall by value and volume so we’re excited about where things could go!”
So Why Hamburg as a city? No, it isn’t because it’s the home of the Basil Smash (although you’ll know which bar to find us after the show!). Fundamentally, it’s because Hamburg is a city that gets what underpins everything we do – that the spirit of the maker, the how and the why, matters. The people behind the gins are as important as the gin they make and Hamburg is a city that is curious to find out about this part of the equation. They are gin kin and appreciate the endeavour that goes into craft spirits, and we’re sure that Junipalooza will almost certainly deliver on that thirst both for gin and knowledge.
We’re going to start off small. Thirty-two distillers (who make around 100 gins between them) will be joining us down at the Fish Auction Hall. It’ll be hosted in our usual style, with plenty of samples and a great chance to hear all about the stories behind the gins from the distillers themselves. By capping the numbers we’ll provide ample opportunity to meet, talk and get to know the people behind these tasty spirits. This enforced Meet the Maker policy, in which owners and distillers are present behind each stand, is incidentally, the first of it’s kind in Germany.
In time, we hope to add more distillers and grow the show, while maintaining a strong local emphasis, just as we have we have in Melbourne and London. Stay tuned for more updates in the weeks to come for our inaugural show, as well as more editorial reviews and insight to provide info about the best of the producers for those too far away to join us…
Which reminds us – if you haven’t already – get your tickets here:
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