London Cocktail Week: Six Questions for Hannah Sharman-Cox

By Neat Pour Staff |

Starting on Monday October 1, the 9th annual London Cocktail Week begins with a host of events, and Neat Pour will be on the scene to bring you highlights. Before the festivities kick off, we sat down with London Cocktail Week founder, Hannah Sharman-Cox to get the inside scoop.

This year’s events are expanded, with over 40 pop-up bars in The Cocktail Village on Brick Lane. Featuring brands both big and small and a host of educational programming, this year’s festivities also offer increased evening activities. Sharman-Cox helped us make sense of the vast offerings.

What’s new at LCW 2018?
This year, we’ve moved the heart of the festival – The Cocktail Village – to a brand new, bigger location plus we’ve scored a later licence, to give people even more time to check out what’s on offer!
One of the parts of London Cocktail Week we’re most proud of – The Cocktail Tours (that’s £6 cocktails for festival pass holders in London’s best bars) has also expanded this year to include non-alcoholic cocktails, something we’re very excited about!
Lastly, our partner brands continue to keep things fresh, so once again we have an all-new schedule of events ready for people to explore!

It’s my first year at LCW, how do you recommend that I experience it?
We would recommend that you allocate at least 2 nights for the experience – maybe more! It’s worth starting your journey at our Cocktail Village, where you can meet the best in the business all in one place, however not to forget that London is home to some of the best bars in the world, so it’s worth getting out and about, using our handy DrinkUp.London app with its interactive map to see which bars are involved in the festival.
We’ve put bars and events into collections – so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. It’s definitely worth exploring the schedule to see what takes your fancy.
Also – it’s worth remembering that it’s impossible to get to everything! So it’s ok to be selective!!

LCW is unique among cocktail events in that its consumer facing  How does this effect programming?
It just means that we have to continuously ask ourselves – would consumers be interested in this, and can they get to this outside of their own working hours? We often have to push back on submitted events that have been put on during the day for example, because most of our consumers are at work! So it means ensuring there is a real focus around evening and weekend events.
Consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about cocktails and spirits, and so we certainly do not want to dumb anything down – but equally it’s important we think about some of the other aspects people might be looking for, as this is purely fun for people – it’s a hobby outside of work! So are there Instagram opportunitites, is this a fun night out with friends, is this good value for money? After all – in London there is a lot of choice for things to do, and it’s important that London Cocktail Week events stay the priority!

What are your personal favorite aspects of the week?
We absolutely love The Cocktail Tours. We love giving the opportunity for thousands of consumers to try drinks they haven’t tried before and go to bars they’ve never been to before. It’s also fantastic that we’re able to support venues across London – we don’t charge bars to be involved in the festival, or take a cut of their revenue, so it’s all about getting new customers through their door and more money in their tills!

What makes London special as a cocktail destination?
London is so special as a cocktail destination because of the sheer breadth of different types if venues across the city. From glamorous hotel bars – which London undoubtedly has the best selection in the world – to tiny underground owner-operated cocktail dens, there is just so much choice, and an ever-increasing list of bars to check out. London is also such a cosmopolitan city, which means there’s a really fantastic mix of cultures behind the bar, bring different perspectives and creativity. We love it! 

Finally, what’s the quintessential English cocktail and why?
It has to be a London Dry Gin Martini. The choice of the very British James Bond, and in our opinion, the king of gin cocktails, with gin being the most quintessentially British spirits

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