Last weekend we travelled to the wonderful city of Amsterdam for our first European whisky festival. We were invited to attend the Spirit of Amsterdam, a festival now in its fourth year, held in the magnificent Zuiderkerk. The Zuiderkerk is a 17th-century Protestant church in the Nieuwmarkt area of Amsterdam. The church played an important part in the life of Rembrandt and was the subject of a painting by Claude Monet.
We arrived a day before so we could familiarise ourselves with Dutch culture and enjoy the highlights of Amsterdam. The organisers were so friendly and accommodating to our requests.
Once set up we went about meeting some of the other exhibitors and Brand Ambassadors. Our friends at Chivas were quick to say they had heard of us and knew of our products in their distilleries. This was encouraging and we really wished we had brushed up on some Dutch.
The doors opened to a huge queue of thirsty whisky drinkers and we were delighted to see our friends Ansgar & Thomas Speller from @Whiskyspeller.
We found telling the customers about our product quite easy as many had heard of The Angels' Share or had seen the film. Demonstrating the dropper led to lots of interest and also lessons on how and why you should be adding a drop of water to a single malt or cask strength whisky. We were told some excellent stories and also learned about the Genever produced very commonly in The Netherlands now. The ambassadors at Zuim Distillery, Holland's flagship whisky were great craic and helped settle any nerves we had about exhibiting. Their whisky was pretty tasty too.
The organisers made sure we were fed and watered with traditional Dutch fayre and we all had full bellies going into the second late evening session.
At the second session we spoke with the owners of a new distillery being planned for The Netherlands. The Whisky Plan and their crowdfund process to try and fund the build.
By 10pm our feet got tired but there is always banter at a whisky festival even in Dutch the same old jokes and japers work.
We left the venue happy and educated and looking forward to many more European trips with our glassware.
The evening finished off with a late night restaurant visit and some night cap drams.
Proost!! ( Dutch for Cheers!)