Monday, February 28, 2011

Chicago Whisky Fest 11 Sold Out! What are the Other Chicago Options?

For some this may be old news, but for the first time in years, if ever, that Whisky Fest has sold out in February. For those unable to get tickets, all is not lost. There will be other Malt Advocate Promoted events during Whisky Week Chicago in April including Binny's World of Whisky.  Also, the U.S. Annual Ardbeg Committee Meeting will be in Chicago on Saturday. Some of us delayed our purchases due to the price increase, while others capitulated to new ownership and quickly paid the increase.  Frankly, I was frustrated with the minimal VIP discount, but ended up with the vanilla envelope ticket. I know its a bargain.

Malt Advocate's  membership program appears in limbo after the new management takeover. In a world with at least two top names in whisky magazines and a third or fourth in their genesis, it is unclear how some stalwarts will react to change.  If Chicago is any indication, it will make no difference. However, a few notable players including Binny's will not be at Whisky Fest. This, according to Malt Advocate is due to Illinois Law

Apparently, Malt Advocate informs us that its lawyers fear that retailers cannot sample whisky at the off site events.  However, I am told that the Illinois forms allow for retailers to do so and the license is for the individuals working for the retailer. In addition, we understand that tasting sites may be registered, as well.  Perhaps, new management overlooks one of the most renown retailers in the U.S., let alone the U.S. due to Binny's Event which is on the day before Whisky Fest Chicago. Perhaps, there is confusion over Illinois law.  Maybe eliminating a big retailer from the floor is better for the smaller ones.

Excuse the digression. Whisky Fest is a popular event in Chicago, so expect more competitors, one of which is Whisky Live, which will be at the Scottish Festival and Highland Games on June 17 and 18 in Itasca. That is a bit of a drive from Chicago.  However, I'll be in California, so Binny's Event and Whisky Fest remains more of a priority. Also, watch for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Extravanganza in October.

Meanwhile, check Binny's Website and the Malt Advocate Website for more information in the weeks before April 15, 2011.

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