The popularity of drinks festivals is immense. People pack events like the Great American Beer Festival because they are great places to sample a huge range of new brands and reacquaint one's self with old favorites. There are a number of events coming up that are worth attending. Here are just a few:
Whiskey Fest in Chicago, April 4: The folks at Malt Advocate bring together 200 of the world's finest, rarest, and most expensive, single malt and blended Scotch, Irish, Bourbon, Tennessee, Japanese, Welsh, Canadian and other whiskies from around the world for one night. General admission tickets for the event are $110 and you can get early admission VIP entry for just $150. Besides all of the whiskey, you will also find sipping rums, Tequila and beer. During the evening a number of seminars are held with distillery representatives taking guests through sensory experiences while providing history, humor and hard to find samples of great whiskey.
Craft Distilling Conference in Louisville, Ky., April 6-9: This is not a consumer event, but if you have ever wanted to open a craft distillery, then the American Distilling Institute's fifth annual event focused on whiskey is the place to be. The program includes informative distilling seminars, trips to area distilleries, still makers and cooperage, and the chance to interact with some of the top names in the business, including Chris Morris and Dave Scheurich, Brown-Forman; Jess Graber, Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey; Ralph Erenzo, Tuthilltown Spirits; Rick Wasmund, Copper Fox Distiller; Don Poffenroth, Dry Fly Distilling; and Sonja Kassebaum, North Shore Distillery.
SAVOR in Washington, D.C., May 16-17: A total of three sessions (tickets are $85 for each) will give attendees the chance to taste some of the best American craft beers matched with interesting food combinations. The Brewers Association has hand picked 48 breweries to take part and some of the biggest names in American beer will be on hand to talk with attendees, including: Tomme Arthur, Port Brewing; Adam Avery, Avery Brewing: Peter Bouckaert, New Belgium Brewing; Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing; Greg Koch, Stone Brewing; Jim Koch, Boston Beer Co.; Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery; Hugh Sisson, Clipper City Brewing; Carol Stoudt, Stoudts Brewing; and Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing.
Golden Nose Award in Corning, N.Y., May 30-31: If you ever wanted to know what it is like to judge wine in a competition, this one is for you. This event features Finger Lakes Wines and starts off with a reception on May 30 at the Rockwell Museum of Art and the judging and tasting the next day at the Corning Museum of Art. Award ceremony tickets are $50, but for $200 you can help pick the winners as an official judge. All amateur judges get a morning training session and then take part in sampling and judging hundreds of Finger Lakes wines.