St Albans prepares to welcome city’s first gin festival

St Albans Gin Festival

St Albans Gin Festival - Credit: Archant

Herts Ad food and drink writer Becky Alexander checks out what’s in store at the inaugural St Albans gin festival.

St Albans Gin Festival

St Albans Gin Festival - Credit: Archant

It’s back to school and work after the summer and I am sure we all need a large glass of something delicious to ease us back in.

Gin has become a huge thing in the UK in the last few years, with new independent distillers popping up everywhere, and with it we have all become gin experts.

Any bar that takes itself seriously has a gin menu, and our love of gin has been duly noted – we now have, not one, but two gin festivals taking place this autumn in St Albans.

The Alban Arena hosts the famous CAMRA beer festival each year, and this September sees the first gin festival at the same venue, taking place over the weekend of September 15-16.

St Albans Gin Festival

St Albans Gin Festival - Credit: Archant

Organised by, the event will showcase more than 100 gins and gin cocktails.

The idea came from Jym and Marie Harris, who wanted to create an event where people could try new gins and meet indie distillers.

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The first release of tickets sold out very quickly, showing that St Albans is definitely ready for this kind of event.

A few more tickets were released last week so do check their website for last minute availability.

Jym told us: “We’re delighted that this event has been so popular, especially as it’s our first time in St Albans. Our cocktail manager Peter Barrett has been working hard developing six new incredible cocktails and we have some new gins to try including White Rose from Leeds, Addingham Cranberry and Orange and Zymurgorium Rose.”

Each festival-goer gets a copa glass and a gin explorer book which you take around the event, making notes. Fever Tree will be there with their full range of tonics (do try the elderflower) to dilute the alcohol and you can choose which garnish to go with your gin too.

Entertainment will be from The After Hours Trio, a 20s-style Gatsby swing band who perform jazz, jive and electro swing. Hog roast will be available from Striped Pig. The Friday and Saturday evening sessions are 6.30pm–11pm and the Saturday afternoon session is 12.30pm–5pm.

If you need more gin after this, head to the first Gin and Jazz Festival on George Street on Friday October 6 which is being organised by the new St Albans BID (Business Improvement District) team.

The road will be closed from 7.30pm–10pm and you will be able to buy drinks from Dylan’s, Suckerpunch, ThirtyNine10 and The George Street Canteen.

The shops will be open too, and music is being organised by local company Headliner. Glitterbox will be there to make everyone look fabulous. I’m delighted that we have two such great events coming to St Albans: cheers!