Carrying the Torch – The Gin Sessions

Recently I wrote an article on By Ginvitation Only, a new gin experience started by two of my friends who used to work in the Events team for Gin Festival Ltd. And, two of the staff of the twenty seven that found themselves out of work when Gin Festival Ltd announced it was going into administration.

Since the sad collapse of the company, I’ve taken great comfort in seeing the team blossoming into life post Gin Festival Ltd. They’re such an incredibly talented and hard working bunch and with their rich experience, morals and work ethic, they’ve got a lot to bring to the table.

Many of the people that I’ve spoken to since the festivals finished, have said how sad they are as they were such a good event. Well, I’ve got some very good news for you, someone has picked up that torch and is making a run with it.

Naomi Good, another Gin Festival team mate has started ‘The Gin Sessions’. In her words it’s “a much more scaled down version of Gin Festival Ltd”. Naomi wants to focus on putting on good events, working with excellent brands and continuing to share the love of all things gin.

“Over the last four years I have worked endlessly to manage our events program but sadly couldn’t control the commercial decisions that were being made so I saw a slow collapse of a business and community that I loved.”

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She acknowledges the determination needed to start up. “My competition is fierce. I have no external funding just me, a lap top, passion and some awesome contacts. I know I can throw a good gin event, my biggest challenge is selling that to people, getting them on board and getting them to purchase a ticket and attend an event.”

“Starting out with zero social presence is terrifying. So far, I have launched two events and the response has been really positive. I’m getting positive responses from previous work colleagues, brands are being very supportive and potential customers are getting on board.” So far Naomi has set up a Facebook page and Twitter page and due to her being known from Gin Festival Ltd is already picking up lots of followers which bodes well.

“It is with great pleasure I present to you, The Gin Sessions, a small independent festival driven by passion and the desire to explore new and exciting gins.”

“At The Gin Sessions you can expect to find a large selection of gins over 4 bars, some live music to keep your toe tapping and masterclasses from industry experts. We love gin and want to share out passion through a fantastic session packed with a carefully selected variation of gin styles. You will be presented on arrival with your copa style gin glass and a booklet with tasting notes.”

Naomi has organised 2 ‘Sessions’ so far with more on the way.

First up is Bristol, Naomi’s home from home, where she studied Photography in previous years.

The Bristol festival is on:

Saturday 27th October: 12.30 – 17.00
Saturday 28th October: 18.30 – 23.00

The House of Gin cancelled their dates so The Gin Sessions took over. It’s at the Paintworks which is a fantastic venue, an ex factory converted into an events space. Tickets available here.

The second festival is on Hayling Island and is on:

Saturday 3rd November: 12.30 – 17.00
Saturday 3rd November: 18.30 – 23.00

The event will be held at Hayling Community Centre. It will be the Islands first ever gin festival. Tickets available here.

Tickets are £10 (plus £1.37 booking fee) per person. This includes entrance to the festival, your gin glass, gin talks and the gin booklet. Book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets are available through Eventbrite, with built in refund cover.

Naomi’s plan is for five bars. Two classic gin bars, one international gin bar, a flavoured gin bar and a gin cocktail bar. In total there will be approximately sixty gins exhibited with several brand ambassadors which is a great touch. When attending these sort of events it’s so much better when you can meet people who can tell you more about the gins, how they’re made and whats so special about them. There will be focus on local brands for each location as people are proud of where they come from and their local gins. There will also be masterclasses hosted by the brands along with other topics, such as the history of gin and gin cocktails.

In addition to all the gin, Naomi’s well aware of making it a good night with all the extras so there will be local street food and live music.

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“It was really sad when I lost my job, but I’m feeling optimistic. I’m keen to work with as many people from GF as possible. I’ve had awesome support from ex colleagues and I’m hoping to get some of them on board. I’m focusing on small events, no sell out stadiums. I’m wanting each customer to get the opportunity to chat to bar staff, and feel like they have space to roam. No sardines!”

If you have attended any of the previous Gin Festival Ltd festivals, you’ll be able to see where her structure is similar. The bars, masterclasses, copa glass and gin book. What Naomi has been very clever in, is recreating the good aspects of Gin Festival Ltd before it got too big. An event that is intimate, including real interaction with characters in the industry. A genuine, warm and wholesome event that is driven simply for the love of it. Naomi has an enormous wealth of experience in both gin and organising events and her focus is in just the right areas to create some amazing experiences. Well done on picking up that torch and running with it, Naomi. We’re all behind you.