Manchester Whisky Fest 2012

Days later, i think i’m still recovering from the North’s largest Whisky event.

Hosted by The Whisky Lounge of York, I was actually on hand to help my friends and The Wright Wine & Whisky Company who were “the shop” for the day.

Up at stupid-o-clock (for a Saturday) on a beautiful, but frosty, North Yorkshire morning, we gathered the strength we could muster (aided by Bacon) and set off for Manchester with hundreds of bottles of Whisky.
From arriving in central Manchester at 8am, it took 4 people over 2 1/2 hours just to unload the van and set up. Tiered by 10:45, and the doors opened to an expectant crowd at 11am….

I’ve been told many times that “It’s hard in retail” and after this experience, i must concede, it’s true.

The doors srund open at 11am prompt, and hoards of whisky lovers poured into the room – tasting glass in one hand, bottles water in the other.
As the sales element, we were overlooked, for a while, although the Wright Wine Co’s ‘Whisky Sample Club’ held lots of interest. 3 hours passed at a steady pace – whisky drinkers doing special sessions, speaking to distilleries, brand representatives duly pouring more samples and so the circle went.

Then it got to 2:30. People realised they had 1/2 hour left, and so headed for the shop. I’ve never seen whisky sell like this..

Bottle prices varied from £20 to £225 and i think i saw something from each price range sell – but not just one per person.

This was an event for novices, enthusiasts – everyone. Cash exchanged hands, credit card machines beeped and bags were filled with bottles.

And then came the lull. For about 40 mins as we set up for round two.

From 4pm to 8pm was a blur. There were more people. Kilhoman was busier, The English Whisky Co had more people, Bruichladdich needed to clone himself and so it went on. Whisky was drunk, glasses were raised, the till rattled and some sections of the shelf emptied..

Needless to say, a long and tiring day – but great all the same. A few samples (from Glenfiddich) were gratefully received and enjoyed and then the re-loading of the van and the trip home.

Sunday, i was tired and ached. This time, not from a hangover, but from hard graft. Yep, it’s tough in retail.

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