Olly Smith is one of the UK’s leading wine experts, working as The Mail On Sunday’s Event Magazine wine editor, and he could not have more praise for Manchester’s drink scene.
The wine aficionado is also known for regularly appearing on the likes of BBC Radio 2 and This Morning.
MM caught up with him while at Manchester’s first Ideal Home Show at Christmas last weekend and he was keen to talk about just how exciting the drink scene in the city is right now – and not just for wine.
“Generally speaking the drinks scene in Manchester is one of the most vibrant I’ve come across. You’ve got an amazing wine scene here,” he said.
Olly is not just passionate about wine though and particularly not when it comes to Manchester where the beer is what really gets him going.
“I’ll tell you a little secret, when I come to Manchester my favourite place to drink is the Port Street Beer House. I love my craft beer, I’m also desperate to go see Beermoth which I think’s a brilliant name for a shop because they’ve got an incredible collection,” Olly said.
The city is leading the charge for real ale in the country with the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival set to hit the Velodrome again in January and Olly is delighted with the way craft beers are performing.
“It’s really great to see craft beer taking off. What’s more exciting for me about craft beer than wine is the people who are enjoying it because it’s so informal. Look at the packaging, look at a bottle of wine it’s pretty formal still.
“A craft beer label is going to be anarchic, fun, celebratory. I’m thinking of BeaverTowns, IPAs – crazy cans with the kind of aliens shooting each other. They’re really eye catching they’re really fun and they encapsulate for me the spirit of adventure and that’s for me what any drink should bring to the table.”
The Ideal Home Show at Christmas was at Manchester’s EventCity, where Olly gave advice on the best wines for Christmas and discussed how excited he is about the wine scene throughout the country right now.
“I think there’s a surge in loving wine partly because people’s appreciation of food has really gone on the rampage in the last 10 years. Wine has no question benefited from that but also I think people are more fascinated by the flavours of the world.
“Wine is now a global phenomenon, it comes from all sorts of different countries if you’ve been on holiday to South Africa or Mexico you can come home and have a taste of those holidays. The great thing is the cost of wine has been coming down so you don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy great wine.”
Image courtesy of This Morning, via YouTube, with thanks.