Whisky clubs distils first York festival

Whisky clubs distils first York festival <i>(Image: supplied)</i>
Whisky clubs distils first York festival (Image: supplied)

The recently-formed York Whisky Society is staging its first whisky festival this month.

The 90-member group is hosting the event at Micklegate Social in York on Friday December 16.

The ‘micro-festival’ will also be the eighth tasting the society has staged over the past year.

Co-founder Jasper Hegarty-Ditton says the idea of the group came several years ago when he used to work with fellow co-founder Jim Deal.

The pair used to work then together at Leeds University Students Union and they “bonded over a love of whisky.”

Jasper, who lives in York, said: “At that time, the [Hunmanby-based] Spirit of Yorkshire was yet to release its first whisky and we swapped samples of their maturing spirit.”

“We had both been part of whisky clubs before and there didn't seem to be one in York, so we thought we'd start one.

“We didn't want to start as a virtual club so waited until after the lockdowns of 2021. This also directed part of our ethos - helping small businesses and the hospitality trade bounce back and our first tasting was on February 25th, a cheese and wine pairing at Love Cheese on Gillygate.”

Jasper, who is the student union’s director of data, further explained: “There are many whisky tastings and there are many whisky festivals.

“What's exciting about this is that it is an attempt to combine the two - the intimate setting of a whisky tasting involving like-minded people with a much larger range of whiskies to try, as you would find at a festival.”

Cooper King [at Sutton-on-the-Forest] is the closest distillery to York and they will release whisky next year so it's a great opportunity to find out what it will be like before it launches and we've been working hard to source really exciting drams for people to try from the 'you can't buy this anymore' to the 'out right now and hot'.”

Over the year, the club has introduced more people to whisky and being part of the York Food and Drink Festival, with paired tastings involving cheese and chocolate. Drams have also ranged from the new and unusual to old and rare, from Orkney to Australia.

Jasper said: “We achieved our aim of supporting both the whisky industry and local food and drink community, partnering with a huge range of organisations that we promoted worldwide through our growing social media presence.”

In addition to Cooper King, other festival highlights include Whisky Nest, a whisky subscription service co-founded by Benjamin Roy of York, Grimston Bar wine merchants Field & Fawcett, give-aways from the York Whisky Santaprovided by the Whisky Pioneer, who turn waste plastic into whisky bottles. There will also be 2022 Special Releases such as the Glen Scotia Seasonal Release.

Fore details and to book a place, go to: York Whisky Club