Due to the popularity and the growing industry, whiskey events are popping up everywhere.
The whiskey industry has become what the craft beer industry has become. Whiskey is on track to become the largest grossing spirit of the year 2022, so it’s no surprise in the increase of awareness that is coming through. Last year was the first I had heard of the Whisky X whiskey festival. I thought it would just be another overpriced event, feeding off of the growing industry. An event where whiskey samples would cover tables that were covered by cheap tablecloths. I felt that hipsters and stuffy old men in suits would gather in a hangar at Santa Monica airport and occupy each other’s space for a couple of hours. Regretfully, I passed on The Whiskey X event last year. This year, I bought a pair of tickets for myself and my brother. My brother Scott shares the same excitement for whiskey as I do, so this event was perfect for us.
On January 25th, 2019 Scotty and I made the 35-mile drive.
The Whisky X staff greeted us with a wristband and a souvenir tasting glass as we entered the hangar. Slightly overwhelmed we slowly started making our way from one vendor to the next, then to the next and so on. Hipsters and stuffy old men in suits were the minority and the building was filled with guests just like us. Guests who enjoy a nice 2 finger pour of whiskey – neat, just like us. While the inside contained 60+ whiskey brands, a large stage, and a mobile barbershop. Outside there was a long line of food trucks and people sharing tables, meeting new friends, and having whiskey talk.
In our short 4 hour visit, we tried every whiskey at least once, we found new whiskeys we like and others that we’d wish we never tried.
The Whisky X experience gave us the chance to socialize with like-minded enthusiasts, brand owners, and distillers. We appreciated that we weren’t just greeted at every booth by a pretty girl handing us a 1/4oz pour. Every booth had someone there that was knowledgeable, someone that seemed grateful that you were trying their whiskey. Meeting brand ambassadors and master distillers gave us the opportunity to hear the story that their whiskey had to tell. Every booth told the story of the brand and created the culture that the brand represents.
Logistically, I think there could have been some improvements made to make this event top notch – but it’s the second year, so I anticipate it only getting better from here. The Whisky X is not a typical boring Tradeshow. The Whisky X is a festival, a gathering of like-minded folks who enjoy the spirit of America.
This was a social networking event that brought people together to have fun like whiskey is supposed to do. I will be keeping the event on my radar for next year. I hope that this event stays around, but should it not I will still have the memories of attending at least one of The Whisky X festivals.