New Autumn whisky festival brings top distillers to one location

Pery Zakeri - revealed more details of Moray/Speyside's new Whisky Festival
Pery Zakeri – revealed more details of Moray/Speyside’s new Autumn Whisky Festival

PLANS HAVE BEEN revealed that will see a new festival in Moray bringing Speyside whisky producers under one roof for the first time.

The idea was highlighted on Friday at the Moray Speyside Tourism Conference at the Alexander Graham Bell Centre in Elgin.

Spirit of Speyside festival manager Pery Zakeri gave details of the three-day event to take place in Elgin on September 9 to 11 this year, saying that it would deliver a boost to tourism, bringing more visitors to the region at a time when the traditional summer season is winding down.

As many as 28 whisky distillers will join those producing local beers and gin as well as a wide range of food producers at the festival, while a retail shop will also be organised by Dufftown Whisky Shop.

Visitors will buy a ticket to attend one of four different sessions over the course of the weekend. Entry to each session will be limited to just 300 people, and demand is expected to be high when tickets go on sale later this year.

Festival manager Pery Zakeri told delegates at the conference: “This is a brand new weekend for Moray Speyside and we are hoping to attract a new, younger audience that will be different to the audience we attract to the May festival.

“We are looking to draw in people from Inverness, Aberdeen and the rest of Scotland and the UK, and while there might be an international audience, it will have more of a local focus in the initial years.

“It’s a unique event that will drive tourism to the region, and one that will add to the local events calendar and whisky events calendar.”

Although different whisky brands have been working together as part of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival for almost two decades, all of the activities for the that event tend to take place in their own distilleries.

For the September event they will all gather at Elgin Town Hall – chosen because it is the central point in Moray Speyside with good transport connections for road and rail.

Organisers believe the smaller, centrally located event will appeal to those who want to enjoy and learn more about Speyside’s whisky but do not want to plan a five-day itinerary for a major event like the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Commenting on what the new event will offer, Pery told the conference, “There will be world class whiskies, local gin and craft beers and of course a range of food producers. But the main thing will be the chance to meet Speyside’s whisky stars in one place at the same time.”

Tickets for the September festival are expected to go on sale in June this year and will be available at www.spiritofspeyside.com

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