A very familiar face joined the international visitors calling in at the Spirit of Speyside Festival – former England, Liverpool and Real Madrid footballer Michael Owen.
Michael is a global ambassador for SPEY whisky – insisting that the Speyside Distillery was his “spiritual home” when he called in on the closing day of the Festival.
Since retiring from the game he has been an ambassador for SPEY whisky in the Far East – but while familiar with the deluxe malt he is a newcomer to the festival – as is the distillery he now champions.
It is the first year that the small ‘boutique distillery’ has joined in the five day festival programme, sharing secrets by opening its doors to a series of exclusive tours hosted by distillery manager Sandy Jamieson.
Several visitors where surprised by Monday when the familiar face of the brand joined them in a rare glimpse behind the scenes of the distillery.
Michael said: “It was great to be able to visit the distillery and be with my SPEY family as they celebrate being part of the Festival for the first time.
“There has been a real buzz about the distillery today and I have really enjoyed meeting people who have come from all over the world to visit the Festival.
“You can tell that these people are very passionate about whisky, and it has been a great experience to see them learn more about SPEY and the distillery where it is created.”
Patricia Dillon, Managing Director of Speyside Distillers Co. added: “Michael has become a familiar Brand Ambassador for SPEY in Asia therefore I am delighted that he has joined us during the festival to raise awareness of the brand among lovers of whisky both in the UK and other parts of the world.”
By joining this year’s programme Speyside Distillery has extended the reach of the festival, including the most southerly distillery in the region to take part.
John Harvey McDonough, CEO of Speyside Distillery, is confident that the distillery’s connections with the festival will develop and grow.
He said: “We are thrilled that Michael, a true icon of international football as well as a great family man, is able to visit SPEY while the whisky festival is in full flow.
“We’re very pleased to be part of an internationally renowned festival that does so much to celebrate the industry and its heritage, its people and of course its produce.”
The 16th annual festival drew to a close on Monday having featured a packed programme of over 400 events including music, crafts and food activities running alongside a wide range of distillery tours and tastings – with some distilleries, like Speyside, have been open to the public for the first time in their history.
The Speyside Distillery is not normally open to the public but will be familiar to the public as it appeared in the BBC television series Monarch of the Glen as Lagganmore Distillery.
For further information about Speyside Distillery, visit www.speysidedistillery.co.uk.