Stockholm in February means the annual Viking Line Whisky Show and the 2017 version was to be the 16th edition. It is a unique four-day event. Each day a passenger ship sails out on a short cruise to a nearby island with the car deck transformed into a whiskey-lover’s heaven with hundreds of whiskeys on show. Representing Walsh Whiskey Distillery, we showcased Writers’ Tears Copper Pot, Writers’ Tears Red Head and Irishman Cask Strength in association with Altia, our Travel Retail distributor in the Nordic and Baltic countries.
The Viking Line Whisky Show is one of the largest whiskey shows in the world, with almost 6,000 attendees. It is unlike any other show I have worked before and not just because it is on the sea and held in the car deck of a huge cruise ship. The crowds are very knowledgeable. They lined up patiently beforehand and when the show opened at 4pm on Thursday, they came storming in like their Viking forebears to quickly secure exclusive and rare bottlings. Many were limited and they know from previous shows the faint-hearted are left disappointed. It was like scenes from pre-Christmas Black Friday sales…but more civilized of course! After the frantic initial rush, people settled down and started tasting whiskey.
Swedes are both very knowledgeable and passionate whiskey drinkers. Many take notes and ask very detailed questions. Lots of people were familiar with Writers’ Tears Copper Pot but it was their first time trying the new Writers’ Tears Red Head and it went down a storm.
However, the whiskey that generated the most reaction was The Irishman Cask Strength. It simply kept selling out! Poor Hayry Bjorn from Altia (our distributor) had to run to his car on a few occasions to get yet more cases to satisfy demand. Many people who came over to try it did so on the advice from others, it really generated buzz. The Swedes loved it and I was more than happy to get as many people to try this great whiskey as we could physically serve.
I am already looking forward to attending this great show with another range of our whiskeys in 2018.