London Cocktail Week by Drink.Up London has grown over the past 10 years into a huge consumer-facing event spanning 10 days. The focal point is a cocktail village featuring 40 bars, in The Old Truman Brewery during 9-13 October. Associated events including product launches, pop-up bars and parties will take place across the city. Back when it all started, 5,000 free tickets were given away to a trade audience, but now more than 25,000 keen punters are expected to engage with the event.
It’s not just alcohol brands getting in on the action either; entering the village, you’ll find Schwepps in a botanical garden, Coca-Cola hosting a not-so-secret speakeasy and Fentimans delivering a taste of the tropics.
Siobhan Payne, festival director of London Cocktail Week, said: "We reach such a broad spectrum of consumers, so a broad spectrum of brands want to be involved."
Payne is passionate about the consumer experience and believes that it is further enhanced by levelling out the playing field in terms of price. Drinks across the festival, including many of the outside events, are priced at £6.
She added: "The reason we have a £6 price point is because we want to take the price factor out of it. So people are then able to choose based upon what sounds good and what they may not have tried before. At £6, you’re not really risking too much of your cash, so you might try something that you might not traditionally like and be a convert."
The London Essence Company helped to kick off this year's celebration with "Essence house", open for three days from 3 October. Visitors received cocktails paired to their palates made with Diageo Reserve alcohol and London Essence’s distilled botanicals.
Bacardi has taken the week as an opportunity to launch its Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez rum in a stand-alone space, also on The Old Truman Brewery estate. A launch party on 9 October was reflective of the brand’s Caribbean heritage and a series of cocktail masterclasses will be run until 13 October.
Jack Daniel’s rival bars, The White Rabbit and Red Dog Saloon, helped to showcase the diversity of the spirit, its drinks capturing a crowd in both the elegant lounge and the dive bar.
This year, a space was also opened in Covent Garden – where London Cocktail Week was based in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Future plans for London Cocktail Week will be focused on continued growth, with the consumer staying firmly at the forefront. Plans include expanding the cocktail village, incorporating more events and letting people get hands-on with the cocktail-crafting process.