2017 and all that Jazz!

IMG_3809They say time flies when you’re having fun….but really, where did 2017 go?

Before I let you into the know about some of the big plans for 2018 let me say a heartfelt thank you for your interest and support this year. Long before my facebook and instagram adventures it was the readers here on the website that tuned in and you’ve stayed with me along the way- so thanks.

Top Five Articles

In case you were wondering, the website has seen a big jump in visitors by some 30% on last year so to some 50,000 visitors per month!

I’ve been kept busy updating my lists of Aussie spirits and their makers, with new distilleries appearing almost weekly, plus new reviews along the way, that said the most popular articles were:

  • The Espresso Martini
  • Review of the Botanist Gin
  • Martini Garnishes
  • Australian Gin List
  • Tonic Waters in Australia.

The State of Australian Craft Spirits

In November I attended the Australian Craft Distillers Association (I’m an Associate Member) at the stunning McHenry Distillery in Tasmania. I was there doing research (see below) but it was the perfect opportunity to get a read on the industry as a whole.

Whilst only 3% or so of the overall spirits market in Australia, it is expanding at a rapid rate and there are well over 200 distilleries in the country, many in rural or regional Australia and family businesses. What was evident was the collaborative and supportive culture that exists, even in a tight market.  The way people shared their insights and knowledge was admirable and I think the future is very bright overall for the industry in that it has a very long way to go before it reaches its potential.

It has some challenges such as high costs and tax (about a third of a cost of your bottle in a shop is tax excise, the highest in the world) and capital costs are high. But the quality is there, and a professionalism in the way people are going about their business gives one confidence for the future of the industry.

Events and Media

I did get about a bit this year media wise- with interviews on national broadcaster ABC radio several times (you can listen to one  interview here), local AM, and the Canberra Times did a feature about one of my events, plus local lifestyle magazine HerCanberra showcased my home.

Event wise I hosted several public events such as the World Gin Day dinner, masterclasses at Pialligo Estate, a fun soiree as part of the Canberra Modern Design Festival, a VIP function to mark the debut of a new Australian play, was part of the Canberra Centre’s new wing festivities, French Gin Degustation dinner, as well as several private functions including for a delegation of parliamentarians who drank down my Martinis like professionals.

This was in addition to private events for clients, and not to mention some deep bar dives in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide!

In short, I was doing something every fortnight or so, which kept me inspired by the passion and enthusiasm of the people I met- both for the spirits I showcased, but also the iconic ideal of the Martini.

Looking Ahead to 2018

I’ll be introducing several new contributors to the website next year following my request in recent weeks, some from Australia, others from overseas such as the USA. They’ll each focus on particular areas, and you’ll see more frequent articles and reviews, plus we’re going deep into the other spirits such as vodka and single malts to complement the range of Gin reviews currently on offer.

The big news is that I’m in pre-production planning for a documentary series I’m co-producing and writing (and starring in!) about craft distilling and cocktail culture in Australia. One of the reasons I went to Tasmania recently was to interview potential distillers to be featured.

We’re aiming to shoot next year and we’re pitching to national and international networks, and it be a high quality production that tells the story of the passion, inspiration and dedication that makes the great spirits possible and how they end up in great bars around Australia. Stay tuned for more details next year!

I’m also planning to offer some of my Martini masterclasses nationally also during the year. So reach out if you want me to come your way!

Building on the success of Gintonica’s Australian Gin Advent Calendar (read about it here) which saw 1000 sets sold out- which included insights and tasting notes by yours truly- we’ve also collaborated on the first ever Guide to Australian Gin- this will debut in the first few months of 2018.

Plus of course locally, my World Gin Day dinner each June in Canberra and a World Martini day soiree a week later….. and I daresay other adventures yet to be imagined!

Here’s the year in review in video form, grab a drink and enjoy!

So until then, be safe and well, and may your cocktails and company be perfect for each other.