Waitrose announces return of Drinks Festival

Waitrose’s consumer Drinks Festival is set to return for a second year, the retailer has confirmed.

The festival is being held at County Hall between 17-19 November, with more than 200 Waitrose producers scheduled to take part.

The festival will be split into four sessions over the weekend, and will include themed rooms dedicated to the main drinks categories – wine, cider, beer, dark spirits and light spirits – as well as masterclasses, workshops such as ‘Make your own Gin’ and ‘Blend your own Whisky’ and demonstrations from the Waitrose Cookery School.

The festival will also include a new drinks lounge where well-known drinks personalities will be giving talks throughout the weekend.

Customers attending the Lounge customers will also be able to go on personalised wine walks with the Waitrose wine buying team.

The highly successful consumer wine event was added to the retailer’s repertoire last year, and was attended by more than 2,000 consumers. The event was a culmination of six months’ work by the buying teams, who were not only active in planning and implementing the festival, but also provide ‘tours’ of their respective categories on the day, explaining the wines that they buy directly to the 200 or so customers who took part.

In a weekly trading statement, the retailer reported strong growth of its spirits portfolio in the week to 23 September 2017, seeing spirits sales up 24% on the back of promotions on rum and gin. It follows an earlier promotion on wine, when the 25% off 3 bottles of wine promotion saw wine sales increase by more than 31%.

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