Spirit of Speyside: Distilled returns to Elgin

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Spirit of Speyside: Distilled brings the region’s food and drink producers together under one roof

The flavours of Scotland’s most prolific food and drink producing region will combine in a taste sensation at Spirit of Speyside: Distilled this week. Around 1,000 enthusiasts are expected to descend on Elgin for a two-day celebration bringing together world-leading brands and artisan producers.

Dozens of producers are lined up to take part in Spirit of Speyside: Distilled this Friday and Saturday (August 31 and September 1) and visitors will be able to get a taste for the region’s very best whisky, gin, rum, beer and cocktails as well as a wide range of different foods.

A highlight of the event, which takes place at Elgin Town Hall, is the inaugural Spirit of Speyside: Distilled Oatcake Eating World Championships, in which visitors will be invited to take a crack at the title by eating as many oatcakes as possible in two minutes.

The contest is being supported by Walkers Shortbread – one of the world’s best-known oatcake producers with a history spanning over 100 years – and will take place during the Saturday afternoon session at 3pm. Contestants can sign up to take part on the day.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is an off-shoot of the internationally renowned Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, and is a unique platform bringing together the region’s food and drink producers under one roof.

Now in its third year, Spirit of Speyside: Distilled has largely attracted a UK-based audience, but this year tickets have been sold as far away as Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Malaysia and the USA.

Festival chairman James Campbell said: “The fact that we now have small groups of international visitors wanting to travel to this smaller event underlines the global appeal of Speyside’s food and drink industry.

“I don’t think there’s another event like this where you will get major, best-selling brands participating alongside small, craft producers that are just starting out, perhaps ready to become Speyside’s next worldwide success.

“The other unique thing about Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is the fact that visitors will be able to come face to face with the people at the coal face of our food and drink production – the master distillers, blenders, bakers and creators.

“There is always a great, friendly atmosphere at the event and I think our oatcake eating world championships will only add to it. It’s going to be a really fun competition, and what better way to showcase one of our greatest exports?”

In addition to almost 40 different exhibitors, Spirit of Speyside: Distilled will include a series of masterclasses in which visitors can get a deeper understanding about whisky and gin with tutored events led by some of the drinks industry’s leading names.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, is split into four sessions – two each on Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the slightly shorter Friday afternoon session cost £15, while the four-hour sessions on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening cost £20.

The entry ticket includes full access to the event, a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass, a lanyard and vouchers for six tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer. Additional vouchers can be purchased at the event. Some of the masterclasses still have availability, and tickets cost £15.

There will be an opportunity to buy products from those exhibiting, and Spirit of Speyside: Distilled merchandise will also be on sale. Tickets can be bought at www.distilled.scot

Distilled is active on social media at www.facebook.com/distilledscot on Twitter and Instagram @distilledscot.  Follow the festival at #distilled18