Spirited Conversation

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2016 WhiskyFest San Francisco

WhiskyFest is coming to town September 23 and the team at Spirited Conversation could not be more excited!  Spirited Conversation was founded because we saw the parallels between building a great company and the crafting of fine spirits.  

WhiskyFest is the longest-running and best-attended whisky festival in the U.S. It is unique, offering the finest whiskies from all over the world, poured by the people — the very living legends — who make them. It was created by Whisky Advocate (WA) magazine, the country’s leading whisky publication.

We contacted WA to find out how WF came to be. Amy Westlake, Sr, Vice President of Advertising and Events at WA was kind enough to give us the back story.

WhiskyFest was the brainstorm of Amy’s husband, John Hansel. This is how it emerged. He woke up one day back in 1998 and said he dreamt that he was in a grand ballroom; when he asked for a whisky, the manager handed it to him and told him how it was made. And it was then that he decided to create WhiskyFest.

Nobody had ever done an event like this before with the focus on the creators of the spirits. Meet the Makers became the theme and in addition to the tasting, they offered seminar times for distillery managers and master blenders. This was before the idea of “brand ambassadors.”

John and Amy met with the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, rented a ballroom and pitched their idea to the whisky companies. Some embraced the idea immediately while others wanted to know who else had signed up. In the end, they had about forty different companies pouring whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the United States. They sold out of tickets a month before the event. 

And since then the journey has seen more venues, more producers, and more sold out venues. The 2016 San Francisco event is no different so grab your tasting glasses and enjoy!

Check out the San Francisco WhiskyFest venue