Whiskey tasting festival brings 200 distilled favorites back to Austin for 2024
With more than 20,000 different whiskey brands in the world, exploring the diverse flavors and nuances can be an expensive endeavor. But the upcoming Whiskey Riot festival is the perfect opportunity for whiskey lovers of all levels to expand their palates without breaking the bank.
Featuring more than 200 whiskies to sample, and exclusive access to rare bottles, the festival promises to be a spirit-filled event for aficionados and novices alike. The festival returns to Austin's Fair Market on April 27 for a day of sipping.
“It's a great way to really taste and do side-by-side comparisons across a large portfolio of whiskies” says Whiskey Riot co-founder Bobby Finan.
Whether your preference is bourbon, rye, or scotch, you'll get to taste a wide range of styles and brands. The final list hasn’t been released yet, but “historical partners” are listed on the festival’s website. Among them are:
- Jim Beam
- Maker’s Mark
- Wild Turkey
- Devils River
- The Macallan
- Sazerac Rye
- Jack Daniels
- Woodford Reserve
- Uncle Nearest
- Milam & Greene
- Still Austin
- Garrison Brothers
- And many more
Whiskey Riot is also a valuable learning opportunity for newcomers to develop their whiskey knowledge. Guests can learn directly from brand ambassadors what distinguishes different whiskey styles.
"You can just learn little tidbits and stuff about the brands, little pieces of the story that would be hard to find online," says Finan. “By understanding what you’re tasting, sometimes those stories make the whiskey taste even better.”
In addition to the tastings, specialty cocktail bars will serve drinks made with featured brands like Bardstown Bourbon Company, with each guest receiving one complimentary cocktail coupon. The final brand list will be released in March 2024.
In case keeping track of all those sips gets to be a little much, the festival supplies a tasting worksheet for email subscribers. There will likely be more than enough time waiting in lines to make careful notes. These events can be logistically challenging (unless you’ve perfected your bare-hand multi-item claw grip), so if you plan to fill out a worksheet, consider bringing a bag to free up your hands.
Tickets ($90 general admission) are only available online at whiskeyriot.com, and include access to the tastings, an official glass, and one cocktail made with your choice of featured brands. For $120, VIP ticket holders get early entry, access to exclusive rare bottles not available during general admission hours.