The Hippo


Jul 21, 2019








Sample spirits at the second annual Distiller’s Showcase. Courtesy photo.

Distiller’s Showcase

When: Thursday, Nov. 20, 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: Radisson Hotel Downtown Manchester, 700 Elm St., Manchester
Cost: $60

Get in the spirit
Distiller’s Showcase brings rare spirits


 The Granite State is known for its Wine Week offerings — including the Winter Wine Spectacular and week of special dinners, tastings and seminars — but now in its second year, the Distiller’s Showcase is giving New Hampshire some recognition as one of the largest premium spirits tastings in the country.

“We could put New Hampshire on the map with our Distiller’s Showcase,” New Hampshire Liquor Commission spirits marketing specialist Mark Roy said. “Wine Week’s been around for a long time and is a hugely successful event. It’s one of the big events in the country. … I got thinking, why couldn’t we do a spirits one?”
In the future, Roy hopes the annual Distiller’s Showcase will feature bourbon, whiskey and vodka dinners, mixology seminars and special guest speaker events the week of the event, just like Wine Week. The Distiller’s Showcase is already growing, featuring more spirits ambassadors, restaurateur involvement and seminars during the event. 
The second annual showcase is on Thursday, Nov. 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel Downtown Manchester, and will include tastings from more than 400 spirits. Guests will be able to sample cocktail concoctions and food pairing creations from local chefs, including those from Amphora, Bedford Village Inn, The Granite Restaurant & Bar, Hanover Street Chophouse, Hooked, Ignite, bluAqua, Common Man, Triolo’s Bakery, Mitchell’s Fresh and more. 
Spirits ambassadors and owners will also be present during the event, including special guests Alasdair Day, owner of Tweeddale Blend; Megan Breier, Kentucky Bourbon Ambassador for Jim Beam; Philip Pepperdine, single malt scotch ambassador of Morrison Bowmore Distillers; and Chris Fletcher, assistant master distiller for Jack Daniel’s Distillery — who will be hosting a seminar during the evening on bourbons and whiskeys — among others. 
“The seminars themselves are really educational and informative, and a lot of the people putting them on are well-known names in the industry,” Roy said. “It’s not a boring, sitting-in-class type of seminar.”
“People learn about the actual distillation process of the particular brands,” says Rick Gerrish, director of marketing for the NH Liquor Commission. “They may not have known the differences between them.”
Gerrish said the spirits in the showcase will include unique items that attendees might have not been able to try before, including super and ultra premium spirits. One of the goals of the event is to introduce attendees to more spirits and higher-end products available at state Liquor and Wine Outlet stores.
The other goal of the event is to benefit the The Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire. When the event was first introduced last year, non-profit organizations entered a competition to work with the NH Liquor Commission on the Distiller’s Showcase benefit.
“We had a great response,” Roy said. “This year we’re offering more higher-end products and New Hampshire products.”
The Distiller’s Showcase will take place in the armory and half of the ballroom space in the Radisson. Mixologists, seminars and higher-end products will be in the ballroom.
The raffle and auction items have also expanded, including the live auction of four individual bottles of Pappy Van Winkle 23-year Family Reserve Bourbon. 
“If anybody knows anything about bourbon, they know about Pappy Van Winkle,” Gerrish said. “I’m curious to see what a person will pay for it.”
The state of New Hampshire will only receive a certain number of a product, and with a rare bourbon like Pappy Van Winkle (with so few bottles and high demand), it will make for an interesting live auction event. The Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire has purchased the four bottles and will be auctioning them off during the Distiller’s Showcase. Both the auction and ticket sales will benefit the Animal Rescue League’s resources, shelter, pet food pantry and services.
In addition to the live auction of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, the showcase will also feature rare spirits like 1995 Glendronach Single Cask Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, Angels Envy Bourbon, 16-year Aberfeldy Single Cask Highland Scotch Whiskey and 1994 BenRiach Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. 
Distiller’s Showcase attendees will also be able to use a mobile app during the event to purchase spirits. After the event, guests can pick up purchases at local NH Liquor & Wine Outlets. 
As seen in the November 13, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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