A SHOWCASE EVENT is being planned to compliment the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival that brings leading producers together on their own doorstep for the first time.
Brand rivalries are to be set aside when the annual festival organisers bring distillers from throughout the region under one roof to celebrate the region’s most famous product.
Plans for the inaugural event to take place in September next year were unveiled at the Spirit of Speyside AGM on Tuesday. It will offer an alternative weekend devoted to Speyside whisky in its home and heartland – complementing the now internationally renowned Spirit of Speyside festival held annually in May.
Elgin has been selected as the central location for the new Speyside showcase, which will feature not only whisky but newcomers to the drinks industry in Moray, gin and craft beers.
The new event will be held from September 9 to 11 next year in the Elgin Town Hall and is expected to draw visitors to the region after the summer season, helping to provide an economic boost to the area. The showcase will include tastings, cocktail making and a food court – while a series of masterclasses will also be part of the offering.
Distilleries, businesses and partners will be encouraged to develop themes to add to the visitor experience. Festival chairman James Campbell said: “Our annual whisky festival has grown in size and stature to become one of the leading events of its kind in the world.
“We are now creating a brand new weekend event with the big difference that the distilleries will be together, under one roof, and that’s something that doesn’t normally happen on their home territory.
“We’ve chosen Elgin for the venue because it is central, with good transport links, and we’ll be encouraging businesses and other partners to get involved too. Further announcements on what people can expect from the new event, including its official title, will be made in the coming weeks and months.”
Mr Campbell added that the new event provided an ideal opportunity for distilleries along with other food and drink producers of Speyside to showcase their products and share what they do.
He added: “While the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has an international audience, and overseas visitors may be among the contingent, we expect our September event to have a particular appeal to the home market, including people from the local area.
“We look forward to developing our plans and helping keep one of Scotland’s most famous whisky producing regions well and truly on the map, inspiring more visitors to develop their interest and knowledge of our national tipple.”