The artisan gin revolution sweeping across Wales and the borders will be showcased at the first-ever Mid Wales Gin Festival in May.
The festival, which takes place on Saturday, May 27 at The Pavilion, Llandrindod Wells, will feature more than 30 small-batch gins from 20 local distilleries. Producers will be on hand to explain the gin-making process and describe the local foraging for botanicals and there will even be a gin still on display.
As these artisan gins are not readily available in local shops, the festival will provide a rare chance to sample a true taste of Wales and the borders. They will even be some new releases, literally fresh off the still and the launch of a brand new distillery, Copper Parrot in Llandrindod Wells.
Swing Time from the 1930s and ‘40s will provide the backdrop for the festival party, with a live six-piece swing band, Donnie Joe's American Swing, prizes for dressing up, a video DJ and swing dancing displays and beginners’ lessons by Mid Wales Jive.
Festival-goers will get a commemorative gin glass and brochure to take home and friendly staff will be on hand with information and recommendations for those new to gin.
Tickets for either the afternoon or evening session are £8 and available at eventbrite.com (booking fee applies) or Arvon Ale House, Temple Street Llandrindod. Those buying tickets before March 31 will be entered in to a draw for free gin cards covering the session.
The festival has been organised by Laura Gallagher and John Buckley, licensees of Arvon Ale House, who won the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Pub of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year for Wales last year.
The couple moved to Powys from London seeking a more peaceful way of life and ended up, two years ago, transforming an empty shop in Temple Street, Llandrindod Wells into a micropub, focussed mainly on selling real ales after spotting a gap in the market.
Laura began researching locally distilled gin after discovering that, unlike wine and some other drinks, it didn’t give her indigestion. After attending a gin festival in Cardiff, she and John decided to organise one of their own in Mid Wales.
“There are not enough Welsh gins to make it a Welsh festival, but when you add on the bordering English counties, there are plenty,” explained John. “We sell six different Welsh gins at Arvon Ale House and it’s amazing how many many flavours are crammed into them.
“The feedback we are receiving to the festival is very good and we hope to attract a couple of hundred people to each session. It does seem to have hit a nerve.
“Tickets are for sale online and 90 per cent to date have sold to women, possibly because we are making the festival a bit of a party with live music.”