A new gin festival is coming to Norwich

Paul Niven, from Cringleford, founder of the Big Time Gin festival taking place at Open in Norwich i

Paul Niven, from Cringleford, founder of the Big Time Gin festival taking place at Open in Norwich in September. Picture: Jenny Holden/MMS Marketing - Credit: Supplied

After a high-flying career in finance, a Norfolk businessman is starting his own business to celebrate his favourite tipple.

Former accountant Paul Niven, 55, hopes to share his passion for gin with drinkers around the country with new festival Big Time Gin.

The touring festival will take more than 100 different varieties of gin to seven locations this year – with the first event being held at Open in Norwich on September 16.

Visitors will be able to hear talks from industry experts, sample gin cocktails and purchase bottles of the spirit.

Mr Niven, from Cringleford, took early retirement from his role as a global management consultant last year and has spent months building his 40-strong team and developing links with suppliers.

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He said: 'I'd seen how other festivals had been run and the social format interested me, but I felt there was no excitement to them. I like to think that Big Time Gin is both festive and fun.'

Gin has been around since the early 17th century – having been first produced in Holland – but it is only recently in the UK that tax revenues from record sales of gin have overtaken those generated from beer.

Last year, 40 new distilleries opened in the UK and British drinkers bought 40 million bottles of the spirit – enough to make more than one billion gin and tonics.

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The mixer is becoming as important as the spirit, with companies like Fever-Tree capitalising on the revival of the G&T.

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