Plan Your Journey
It’s almost time for another Junipalooza, our never slowing juggernaut of a Gin festival! From humble beginning as a celebration of all things juniper-laced, Junipalooza has made its way across the globe, with London and Hamburg going off with a bang this year already, and now we return to Melbourne for the third year to share in the gin love that’s swept across Australia.
What separates Junipalooza from any other Gin event is our Meet the Maker ethos. We don’t just have brands and bartenders hired in for the day; we have the owners and the creators of over a hundred gins here in person. These are the people who have poured everything they have into their spirits and whose ideas and passion are captured and distilled into every drop that you have the opportunity to taste.
We are always asked the same question when guests arrive through the door; what do you recommend? In truth, we always rotate our answers to make sure we showcase all of the stands. To be fair, we love them all and there is something about each of that’s worthy to get excited about too! We do however; also have a sneaky list of who we would visit if we were fortunate enough not to be working. It’s our way of vicariously living through you. We plot paths, plan tasting comparisons and imagine ourselves in your shoes. While we won’t share that (it’s our little secret!), this year despite the uproar of those who we haven’t named below, we’ll share some ideas with you so that if you simply do not know where to start or what to taste, you have something to go off as you plan ahead.
Moreover, for those who do know, it’ll help sharpen your minds and hopefully help you pick wisely to maximise your time. There are simply too many gins at the show to try them all. Trust us. It’s too much. You’ll have to pick carefully and make sure you head to those you really wanted to try first and be choosey about which stands you prop up, and which you pass over. To do so, you can have a sneak peak at the floor plan ahead of time HERE.
We love heading straight to the mixers as a way of easing into the tasting. We’d start with Fever-Tree then vagabond over to Strange Love and get to know their ranges. Both have great offerings and it’s always a good idea to try them to have that locked in your minds as you go searching for it’s perfect dance partner – gin. Palates honed, go to see the legends and meet two iconic makers, who pack as much charisma as their gins, Desmond Payne of Beefeater and the Cameron McKenzie of Four Pillars. It’s a rare chance to talk gain insight from people whom have seen it all and who have travelled the world talking all things gin.
Right after, go for the contrast and depart from the established to the fresh faced and up-and-coming. Head over to see Seppeltsfield Road, followed by Teddy and the Fox. Different scales of operation, different stages of growth and equally as inspiring. In these four stands, you will have got a sense of what Junipalooza is all about – the people, the journey they go through and the sheer excitement of being a part of this brilliant category, no matter if it’s only been a few months, or if it is their 51st year.
A few gins in, it is time for a quick refresher. Head to see Fentimans and Capi Tonic to see what innovation they have been up to in the past few months. It’s then time to delve further into the micro experiences in the vaults and get involved.
Head over to see Never Never or Manly Spirits, discover their tasty gins and all there is to know about their blossoming botanical range and where they are headed to in the months to come. Then, hop next door to see Shene Distillery and their Poltergeist Gin. They’ve been talking about setting out a “vision” of what they are about as a distillery and a manor house, which sounds too exciting to miss out on.
You’ll have had a few gins by this stage and before you’ve gone the way of said ghosts and are three sheets to the wind… it’s time to hit up Burn City Smokers for some food. As you devour the deliciousness that they have created for you, take a seat, chill out and plot the next four on your journey. We’re handing out a free show guide to each person attending the festival, so it’ll be easy to flick through and compare offerings.
We’d recommend you go for:
The most exciting stand – whichever one caught your attention the most and has been glistening in the corner of your eye each time you’ve walked past.
The coolest looking bottle – whichever one looked too sexy to pass on not trying its contents. Does it taste as good as it looks?
The friendliest looking team – some makers are magnetic. You just can’t help notice them and be drawn in. You’ll know what we mean when you see it. Lean into the feeling, go with the flow and hear the ideas that are imbued in each drop.
Lastly – you’ll probably not be flying solo, so if you’re reading this ahead of the show to maximize your time there, the likelihood is that you’ll be the one who’s dragging them round to the gins you’ve been stalking ahead of the event – not that they’ll mind of course! Be the nice one, and ask your gin buddy where they want to go for the final tipple. They say sharing is caring…
This should leave just enough time to stop off at the shop in order to pick up your favourites of the day, or for some early gift shopping…
You’ll have visited a dozen stands, tried over 30 gins that encompassed the spirit of the show in its focus on the people behind brands, tasted the diversity of the category and what it has to offer, had some delicious food and a heap of fun. The ideal Junipalooza!
Have a look at the Junipalooza Melbourne Map to see the exhibitors and plan your journey.
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