Gin lovers rejoice! Junipalooza is back on Australian shores. This prestigious celebration of gin appeared in London, Hamburg and Sydney on a festival world-tour.
Junipalooza is a highlight on my gin-fuelled event calendar. Samples are included in the ticket price and the festival focus is squarely on the gin. With 50 distilleries and 250 tastings on offer, it’s an incredible way to discover something new. The meet-the-maker style event also means you’re chatting directly with the distillers and owners at their stands. Meeting a lovely person behind the brand and hearing their story always enhances my drinking experience. Junipalooza brought together international brands, local favourites, and new-comers under one roof. Well-known Australian brands including Four Pillars and Archie Rose made an appearance. New Zealand sent an incredible Island Gin across the ditch. Further afield, Hapusa gin from India aimed to capture the essence of the Himalayas with earthy flavours and cardamom pods on display. Whilst Singapore’s Tanglin gin poured flavorful floral drops. We also sampled Patient Wolf’s new agave gin spirit. Their South Melbourne distillery is a long way from Mexico, but it was tasty none the less. Additionally, the number of oyster gins on offer warmed my salty little heart.
The festival also gave a platform to new comers, featuring six distilleries less than six months old. We were charmed by Itinerant Spirits, a Ballarat distillery fresh out of the gates and looking to make a splash with their sumptuous new bar and dangerously drinkable gin.
When my plus one and I needed a respite, the Fever-Tree stand offered a dizzying array of tonics to try.
From South Australia’s Kangaroo Island Spirits 100% locally made gin to Taylor and Smith’s eye-catching bottles stocked at MONA, there was something exciting around every turn. My one hiccup was the festivals new digs. The Melbourne Showgrounds location afforded plenty of space for stands and patrons (it never felt too crowded). However, getting there on PTV proved quite the mission. (So much so, my plus one and I poured some of our gin dollars into an Uber.)
Despite the transit snafus, good fun was had by all. Cheers to Junipalooza for raising the bar! (Pun intended.)
Jenny S. is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a creative cocktail.
The Spirits Society runs festivals in London, Melbourne, and Sydney.