Bute’s pubs hail a successful first gin festival

Four different venues on Bute offered a selection of gins and tonics over the course of the weekend.
Four different venues on Bute offered a selection of gins and tonics over the course of the weekend.

Rothesay venues worked together last weekend to bring a gin and beer festival to Bute.

With gin growing into a huge UK industry in recent years, festivals to showcase the varieties of gins and tonics available are becoming a fairly frequent occurrence.

Glaswegian band Lynass, who played in the Black Bull on Friday and Saturday.

Glaswegian band Lynass, who played in the Black Bull on Friday and Saturday.

And earlier this year Bute’s resident brewer decided Rothesay should get in on the act too.

Aidan Canavan, who has managed the Bute Brew Co since 2014, proposed to three local pubs a collaborative effort across a bank holiday weekend in May, offering a multitude of gins, tonic waters and garnishes alongside Bute Brew Co. beer and plenty of live music.

So the venues that took part last weekend, May 26-28, were the Black Bull and the Golfers’ Bar in Rothesay, as well as Port Bannatyne’s Port Inn and the Bute Brew Co. brewery, with music events spread across the three days from Friday to Sunday.

Angie Phillips runs the Black Bull, and only started collecting gins shortly before the festival.

Glaswegian band Lynass played there on Friday night and again on Saturday.

Angie told the Buteman: “It was a great success for us, and I hope it has been for everyone else that was involved as well.

“There’s been lots of people from off the island for the bank holiday, as well as the locals.

“The band were brilliant as well, they added some atmosphere to the whole thing which is what we wanted.

“I hope there are more events like this in the future – I think more businesses could be involved next time, and we could promote it more.”

Tommy Walmsley of the Golfers’ Bar agreed that more pubs should be involved if the festival was to happen again.

He said: “If we do something similar again we should try and involve all the pubs.

“It had to be good for the island; people who were over for the weekend will go back to wherever they’ve come from and spread the word about gin on Bute.

“It’s good to support the brewers as well – if you’re going to sell real ale it might as well be the local brew.”

Aidan Canavan of the brewery was thrilled with the whole event, saying: “It was great for business, it was the busiest we’ve been yet. Of course we will do it again.

“We are now getting orders from around the country as people are going home and asking their bars and off licences for our beer.

“It was great to see a mix of locals, some of whom were experiencing the brewery for the first time, and also lots of tourists.”