SB visits: the Isle of Man

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The Isle of Man’s Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture hosted its annual food and drink festival last month and SB was invited along to find out more about the island’s producers.

In less than an hour, you can flee the hustle and bustle of London and fly into a place that could be considered the capital’s opposite – the Isle of Man.

With a population the size of English city Lincoln, just 87,000 people, the island has a “small-town” mentality that spreads across taxi drivers recommending a visit to their friend’s pub, hotel staff suggesting I try their neighbour’s home-made cider, and even a chance encounter with the uncle of a fellow London-based drinks writer – spooky.

The island has a tight-knit community, and its residents are immensely proud of everything it produces – although a few people I speak with say the Manx people aren’t very good at celebrating their achievements.

Despite this, the Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival (14-15 September), organised by the island’s Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, is one opportunity for people on the island to really celebrate what it is good at.

With a Made on the Isle of Man origin marker printed across the island’s produce, there is a huge variety of products on display at the festival – from chorizo to vodka.

Across this family of producers, it seems the island’s community spirit is integral to each brand’s success, with distillers working alongside farmers and winemakers collaborating with brewers.

Over two days on the Isle of Man, SB delved into the island community, meeting with the distillers producing gin and vodka, wine makers creating drinks with island-grown fruits, cider brewers turning to excess apples from the region’s orchards and even a soon-to-launch Isle of Man rum.

Click through our gallery to find out more about the drinks producers on the Isle of Man. 

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