All change – Whats new for 2020

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Judging at the IWSC 19.

Happy New Year all!

Some of you may have noticed things go a little quiet towards the end of last year. Truth be told, I was a little stretched and had to hold fire from writing on here for a bit. As much as I love writing this blog, I have to juggle it in with other things and sometimes I can’t quite do it all.

For those of you who don’t know me so well, when I started writing Under the Ginfluence, I was working part time and studying a BA in English and Creative Writing. In the nearly 5 years (April time) I’ve been doing this, I’ve been slowly building my reputation in the industry and it’s leading to wonderful things. Nowadays I’m a self employed writer and spirits judge, as well as working full time and studying for an MA in Creative Writing. It’s a little more than before and sometimes it’s hard to squeeze it all in, especially with more deadlines to juggle.

So firstly, thank you for your patience.

Secondly, it’s got me thinking. I need to change things up a bit. The first step is to drop back down to part time at work. Luckily for me, I work in a University and they’re fantastic for supporting you whilst you do other things too. As of early Feb I’ll be dropping back down to 3 days a week, which means Mon-Weds I’m at work, Thurs-Fri will be my self employed office hours. Just to be at the point where I have official hours is a brilliant thing and something that seemed a world away when I first started. I have a small room in my house that I use as a study. More often than not it’s full of boxes and anything I don’t know what to do with gets chucked in and the door closed. Last weekend I cleared it out and I’ve ordered a few extra bits to transform it into a proper office. I’ve ordered a large corkboard for keeping organised, some filing trays and a shelf to put my plants on. After some organising, my desk actually looks like a desk. I’ve got a bookcase in there already that’s full of nonsense so I’ll be clearing that off to home all of the gin bottles I’ve been collecting around my house the last few years. I’ll have a real Ginfluence HQ. It’s all very exciting.

Secondly, I think I’m going to open my blog up to a little more. So far it’s really been just focused on the gin and just to assure you, the gin will still be the prominent feature, it’s Under the Ginfluence after all. However, I’m finding it tricky to keep up with reviews. Although I’ll have more time for reviews and I’ll certainly be keeping it updated with all sorts of gin related stuff, going forward, I’m going to loosely broaden the content. I’m going to be writing a little more on the judging, on the experiences travelling to events and maybe a little more on my life as a gin person too. This is for me as much as for you. I’ve found that having a few gins in the queue can really block up my ability to write anything at all, and I think having the option to write about more stuff would mean I write more in general. Don’t worry, I’m going to organise the categories so you can click a button and get all the gin reviews and nothing else, if that’s what you’re really into.

I’ll be starting this with a travel diary of my trip to San Francisco for the ADI Judging of Craft Spirits in February. I did have a bash at travel writing when I went last year and there was a great response to it, so much so that I made the joke that perhaps I’d gone into the wrong business. So, fingers crossed I can keep it as interesting this time too!

And with that, here’s my first post of this year, and my first post on here for some time. Boy, that sure feels good.

Thanks for all your support, here’s to a broader horizon in 2020, hopefully even brighter too.

 

Happy New Year! – What’s on in January? A lot, that’s what

Good Morning!

This is an usual post from me, more of an update than a feature. I’ve been getting involved in more and more projects, which I love. However, I have found it gives me a little less time to write large posts. So, one of my new years resolutions is to make a concerted effort to post little and often to keep you all up to date with my shenanigans. I’ll still be writing the larger pieces though, they’re my favourite.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! It’s been fantastic to have a few days off with loved ones, and a bit of a rest too. I also hope you enjoyed opening your Drinks by the Dram and Boutique-y Calendars as much as I did! They’ve really upped their game from last year. I’m consistently wowed by new gins. They keep coming, and with such good quality! The possibilities for creation really are endless.

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The next couple of weeks are going to prove rather busy at Ginfluence central. I’m finishing an article for Gin Magazine, judging at the World Gin Award finals and then wrapping up the first assessment of my MA. Needless to say, I’m feeling the pressure somewhat, but it is so very good to be busy.

On the 18th however, I’m going on an adventure.

I’ll be flying out to San Francisco to judge the American Distilling Institute’s Judging of Craft Spirits! It’s a great event and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the fantastic industry people out there (and taking lots of notes for sure!) I’ll also be spending a couple of days either side of the judging to take a look around San Francisco, to learn a bit of it’s literary history and get myself into some gin bars. Top of the list is Whitechapel, although I’ll certainly be heading for others too.

I’ll be there until the 27th, posting updates as I go, rather than writing a large piece when I get back. Please do get involved with suggestions! It’s my first time in San Francisco and although it’s only a short stay, I’d like to squeeze in as much as possible!

#ginfluenceinsanfrancisco

Happy January, you lovely lot!

 

What’s coming up

One of the main perks of my job are the wonderful people I get to meet through gin training. With permission I’m writing up small pieces on each and I wanted to let you in to what I have in the pipeline:

Paul Bower – Founder and distiller of the delightful Twisted Nose gin. Produced in Winchester, with hints of locally grown watercress and lavender, this gin is a homage to its surroundings and the wonderful gentleman who created it.

Luke from Fever Tree, cream dela cream of the tonic world. 7 of the top 10 bars in the world use them and for good reason, as they only use the finest ingredients in their range of topics and mixers.

An evening on HMS Diamond – 2 evenings on the new destroyer and I’m looking forward to both. A rum tasting evening with a representative from Pussers and a gin tasting evening presented by myself.

Tom Edwards of Warner Edwards is hitting our own Gin and Olive, Portsmouth for a decedent evening with his gin. Guests will enjoy a 4 course meal paired with each of his 4 gins (the rhubarb gin is a particular favourite) whilst he talks us through his gin story. I can’t wait for that one.

We’re also embarking on a distillery tour in the next few weeks.

All in all, lots going on here at ginfluence head office. As I said to my mother last week, she (as a non drinker) had always worried that drinking was a problem, and I am close to proving it’s my solution!