Little known fact: Houston has its own whiskey festival. Last year was the exciting kick off of the inaugural Houston Whiskey Festival, and at the urging of enthusiastic attendees, they’re doing it all over again on March 21.
2nd Annual Houston Whiskey Festival
March 21, 7-10 p.m.
Bayou City Event Center
9401 Knight Rd.
Reserve 101 and Poison Girl-goers can rejoice, as this year’s Whiskey Fest is sure to whet your appetites for diverse tastings of bourbon, whiskey, and scotch. Held in the Bayou City Event Center, the Festival has quite a spread. General admission is priced at $65 and includes access to the tasting tables of Texas local, as well as international whiskeys, ryes, single malts, and much more. This year’s admission also gets you access to the new beer garden area, a gourmet hors d’oeuvres buffet, first-come first-serve seating at seminars and talks given by distilleries, and the enjoyment of live bands and entertainment throughout the evening.
Ticket prices go down to $35 if you happen to be a designated driver, but why would you be? Each attendee gets a free $20 stipend for an Uber trip home, provided by the festival to make sure everyone can enjoy their spirits.
If you’re looking to make this year’s Whiskey Fest a two-day event, then investing in VIP tickets is the choice for you, as VIP tickets get you invited to the Smith & Wollensky’s private VIP steak dinner and whiskey pairing hosted by Highland Park Distillery on March 20. For the rest of us, the "Serious Cigar" pouring lounge will have to do on Saturday, though with Rebecca Creek exclusive samples in the cigar lounge, who wouldn’t feel like a VIP?
This year’s hosts are KHOU meteorologist Chita Johnson and Chester Pitts, KPRC sports analyst and one of the original Houston Texans, drafted for the first team roster in 2002. The live entertainment announced includes a performance by Hustlers Brass Band, a group that combines the nostalgic 1940s brass jazz with modern beats, as well as three-time Grammy nominee Scott Gertner (who, despite the Grammy nods, is best known here for his eponymous, now-closed Skybar).
Last year, there were some admitted mistakes on the part of the festival. With far more attendees than were anticipated, crowding made access to tastings, seminars, and water a bit of a challenge. But if you’re going to have problems, it might as well be over-popularity—and this year the Houston Whiskey Festival is prepared for a larger crowd. A new location and an expanded whiskey list makes for an exciting sequel to the 2014 festival. With a much needed expansion and some added features, the 2015 Festival is suiting up to be exciting.
Take all your whiskey loving friends and family to go check it out. Ticket prices might seem a little steep, but proceeds are being donated to the Santana Dotson Foundation to give back to the community after a night of high spirits and revelry.