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Nanaimo’s Wee Tipple whisky festival makes a return

Crimson Coast Dance Society fundraiser happens March 3-4
The Wee Tipple whisky and whiskey festival returns this coming weekend, March 3-4. (Adrianna Furlan photo)

The Wee Tipple is a big deal for the Crimson Coast Dance Society and anyone who appreciates a good glass of whiskey or whisky, and the event is back in 2023.

The Wee Tipple: Nanaimo’s Whisk(e)y Festival will return with its grand tasting event Saturday, March 4, at the Grand Hotel.

There will be two dozen tables with whisky and whiskey reps pouring close to 100 brands, from blends to single-malt scotches. There will be live music, a silent auction, cigar sales, hors d’oeuvres and some entertainment surprises from Crimson Coast.

“It’s quite jovial. People have a really good time…” said Holly Bright, Crimson Coast’s artistic director. “The star of the show is the whisk(e)y and I think the elegance of the Grand Hotel and their whisk(e)y knowledge has really created a home for this event.”

In addition to the grand tasting ‘main event,’ the Wee Tipple festival features two other related events. On Friday, March 3, there will be a Macaloney Whisk(e)y Masterclass at the Nanaimo Bar, with a dance party with DJ Allgood happening after the tasting. All the Wee Tipple events are for any gender, but Bright said the Friday event is specifically meant to “open the world of whisk(e)y to newbies and people who maybe don’t identify with the usual whisk(e)y crowd.”

There will also be a Scotch Malt Whisky Society master class at the Grand on Saturday, March 4, in the afternoon leading up to the grand tasting.

The Wee Tipple was last held in 2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic, and Bright said people had been “reaching out” for its return.

“The demand was really quite high, and other whisk(e)y events were happening throughout the province and we thought, let’s do this,” she said. “We’re really excited about it.”

The Friday night event at the Nanaimo Bar is from 5-7 p.m. with the dance party after dinner, the Saturday afternoon master class is from 3-4:30 p.m., and Saturday’s grand tasting event is 7-10 p.m.

Wee Tipple is a fundraiser for the dance society. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available by visiting, calling 250-716-3230, or by stopping by the Grand Hotel.

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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