Plan Your Junipalooza Journey!
Junipalooza is the behemoth of Gin Festivals. Call it the Gin Juggernaut, the Juniper Giant or whatever you like, it has more stands than any other (we love gin!), it takes place over a larger footprint than any other (we hate feeling compressed) and there are both new, established and emerging distilleries showcasing at the same time, spread everywhere (they are all great, so they all have an equal presence).
A little forward planning goes a long way in maximising your Junipalooza experience, so we’ve compiled a few handy tips to ensure you get the most out of this year’s festival.
Accept that you can’t try every gin
Sorry, but it’s true. Rushing around trying to taste them all is, plainly, reckless. It is also pointless, as it’s literally impossible in a four hour session to try upwards of twenty gins. Even professional tasters who have it all lined up, spit everything out and only make very quick notes would fail at such a task. With 65 distilleries, there are well over 250 gins at Junipalooza. Please don’t try it. You won’t enjoy it.
With that in mind, if you don’t want to have missed out on something really interesting, have a look at the distilleries exhibiting (more on this below) and mark the ones that really capture your imagination. You can follow the Junipalooza Insta and Facebook pages to find out more about the people behind each stand too. Mark out the kind of makers you want to meet, make a beeline for them first and use them as a guide to help navigate your way around the festival. We suggest marking up a dozen, as in a four hour session 10 – 15 distilleries is just about right.
It’s okay to ditch the gin
No-one will be offended if you you don’t want to finish a gin, and there are spirit bins everywhere for you to be able to discard the rest. Distillers don’t mind at all, and we at Gin Foundry actively encourage it. Your mouth (and your head) will thank you for being sensible.
The more you spit, the more new gins you get to taste, and the better your tastebuds are at receiving them. You’ll get to know them better, you’ll understand the stories in more depth and you’ll come away with far more knowledge than you ever anticipated. Basically, make this your mantra: ditch it, don’t down it. The spitoons are there to be used!
It’s not all about gin
We love everyone at Junipalooza London, so equal care has been given to the six fantastic mixer companies taking part in the show, from tonics to botanical brewers as well as an entire Fever-Tree experience to delve into. Get to know what you’re pairing your gins with and learn how these tonics, ginger ales and alternative mixers are made.
There’s some brilliant innovation going on in the mixer world and Junipalooza is a unique chance to compare so many side by side. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a learning experience, either; making a quick pitstop at the tonic stands gives you a much needed break from all that gin.
Eat food before & drink lots of water (and eat some more during the show too)
Full English x 2 or the largest smashed ‘avo on toast that’s ever been made – whatever tickles your fancy, Junipalooza is not the place to head to on an empty stomach. There are tasty nibbles to be enjoyed at the show, so feast at the street food stands there, but good planning starts at breakfast and lunch before you get there.
Water is an obvious one to be laden with, and we go to massive efforts with our amazing partners Hildon Mineral Water to make sure it’s readily available. Hildon will give everyone a mini bottle on entry and each stand will top you up with more water, free of charge. Stay hydrated!
How to get to Junipalooza and back
It sounds obvious, but just take a look at how best to get to Tobacco Dock and back. We always hear of guests who arrive half way through, having underestimated the journey times.
Junipalooza is unique in that you can buy from the makers directly, as well as the show having the fabulous team from Gin Kiosk on hand to do it all in one go. Often, the prices across the show will be reduced a little as weekend specials, too, so keep your eye out for some bargains. Gin Kiosk is price matching all of the distilleries, so – with their click and collect service -are a very convenient option!
If you love something and think it may be the one for you, make a note of it! And if you really love it, order it right away – we have a lot of sellouts each year, and a lot of disappointed people heading away from the shop at the end of the show. There isn’t a cloakroom and no bag drop option, so your best bet is to order from Gin Kiosk during the show, and collect at the end.
Have a look at the map
Tobacco Dock is a vast space, and a cavernous one at that. You’re not going to get lost, but make sure you look at the map to ensure you don’t miss an area filled with your favourite makers! It’ll be printed in the show guide and in huge 1 x 1 metre posters, so no need bring your own – but here is a large scale PDF of it for all of you looking to plan ahead: Junipalooza London Map
It’s also worth keeping it in mind that we cap the numbers at the show. So if an area is a little busier, there will be others that will have more space. There’s no need to sharpen elbows, just head a little further into the Junipalooza experience and you’ll see there’s loads of room to have a comfortable chat with the distillers!
Here is a handy way to list the people you want to see
We mentioned planning ahead and noting your “go-to” stands, so – separate to the map – here’s a useful PDF to download / print and scribble all over, featuring everyone taking part in the show, alongside some space to make your Must Visit list. It’s almost like we do one ourselves each year…
T- 3 Weeks to go….
Happy Junipalooza’ing folks!
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