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Newcomers Zone at Junipalooza

Junipalooza London
Junipalooza London
Hapusa Dry Gin
NEWCOMERS, Juniplaooza
Written by Gin Foundry

We’re excited to be introducing a Newcomers Zone at Junipalooza London 2018.

When it comes to gin, we’ve always maintained that ‘new’ is just that: new. That it doesn’t matter whether you are all shiny and fresh off the bottling line or are a decade into your journey – Gin drinkers don’t count your experience, they count the quality of your spirit and where you are headed to with it next. There’s a disproportionately huge excitement around new distillers year-on-year though, especially at Junipalooza. Be they makers of gins that have launched since the last festival, or international superstars making their UK debuts – guests love discovering them.

Junipalooza is and has always been a chance to taste something new too. To see the evolution of a Gin  from concept to reality right there in your glass and to support these small, often mom-and-pop style businesses at a very early stage is something many remember about stands at the show.

And while it’s always nice to meet new faces and that they might be the ones that stick out at you… as always it not just new brands either; this year just like in 2017, there’ll be new gins coming from your favourite “old” makers as well!

Why have we made a Newcomers Zone at the show?

Over the years, we’ve worked hard to help foster up-and-coming brands that we see huge potential in, even offering bursary spots to the most promising (nationally and internationally) overall. We’ll be announcing the two Bursary Gins next week incidentally, so stay tuned for that…!

This year, though, there were just so many to pick from; so, so many excellent Bambi brands making their first, tentative steps onto the ice, that we had to try something new (literally) for as many as we could fit.

To accommodate this, we wanted to create a designated umbrella “zone” in which there could be smaller set ups, allowing gins that might not yet have the means to properly exhibit a chance to have you tasting their delicious gin. We wanted to give the spanking new and the super super small a space to be able to have some form of presence. The I-hope-I-will-be-by-June-but-not-quite-ready-yet gin brands, with their sometimes raw but always incredibly exciting ideas, a chance to meet a bunch of bonafide Gin geeks, to get people excited about what they’re doing and to hear live feedback from those that know the most about the spirit: you guys.

The Newcomers Zone allows us to cater for all of this; to have a slightly transient space in which we will only really know the exact line up with days to spare.

Some of these brands are up and running, some are still in their final stages of distillation, some will still be blowing the glass for their bottles and some don’t yet know if their gins will have made it through customs in time…

Whatever happens, though, there will be some scintillating new juniper juice available for you to taste, and some brand new makers for you to get behind.

We’re making sure there’s no massive pressure for these makers to build up their presence either, so we’ve not been trumpeting their launch from months away, nor calling for images and information (when some don’t even have a website nor have even finished their labels yet).

We’re letting them get on with nurturing their babies, safe in the knowledge that they can rock up to Junipalooza with nothing but a box of samples and a bunch of enthusiasm.

While the full line up will only be revealed within 10 days of the festival, we thought it wise to give you a glimpse of just a couple of those in the Newcomers Zone to get excited about on the 9th and 10th June.

Hapuså Dry Gin

Two years in the planning and a closely guarded secret for the most part – Nao Spirits has been kept tightly under wraps. The duo behind it, Vaibhav Singh and Anand Virmani hope their flagship gin, Greater Than will take the Indian market by storm and reading the early frenzy of column inches that have been dedicated to it – it seems to have already caused quite a stir…!

For you special folks, they’ll be bringing their premium artisanal gin Hapusa to Junipalooza, so you can get a taste of what the duo have in store for the international market. Hapusa (meaning juniper in Sanskrit), uses Himalayan juniper berries foraged by farmers in Uttarakhand, while haldi and gondhoraj limes, ginger and mango are being sourced directly from farms, too.

We’re smitten. It’s different, distinct and as the marquee brand for the first Indian Craft Gin producer trailblazing the spirit in a market that was in desperate need of quality local ginsmiths, it’s worthy of the mass attention it will receive too. You are going to LOVE it.

Procera Gin

“Kenyan Gin?” you ask. Yes, we answer. And it’s most probably the first Kenyan Gin you’ll have tried. Made using a completely different variety of juniper? Yes, and let us explain…

Many makers mention the variety of juniper they use as being a different variety, but what they really mean is that it’s the same species (Juniper Communis), but coming from a different region. Provenance affects taste, so the berries will give their gin a specific tone (from grassy green / to piny and resinous) according to where they come from. When Procera Gin say they’re using a difference variety of juniper, however, they mean it: juniper Procera is the sibling to Communis, and it certainly demonstrates some difference; it’s like the difference between cassia and cinnamon, between cubeb and black pepper, between finger lime and key lime… It’s the same genus, but a completely different beast, and this is the first time ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD that a gin has actually used an entirely different variety.

Geeking out? Yep, so are we. Have a little look and how they are making their bottles too (stick with it to hear more about the gin in the second half) – It’s set to be a fantastic launch!

T- 6 Weeks to go….

Happy Junipalooza’ing folks!