Scotch Whisky road trip
30 Jun 2014
Twelve Scotch Whisky distilleries, an archive, a cooperage and a
maltings - not to mention a bird of prey demonstration and a
traditional woollen mill - were all on the busy itinerary for 15
journalists visiting Scotland from the USA this month.
The USA is by far the biggest market in terms of value for
Scotch Whisky. Last year, exports of Scotland's national drink
reached a record £818 million, up 8% on 2012. It's vital that the
industry continues to promote Scotch effectively to consumers in
North America and differentiates itself from competitors.
One way to demonstrate the unique attraction of Scotch is to
invite journalists to the country so they can witness Scotch Whisky
production first hand and learn all about its history and the
reasons for its ongoing success. That's exactly what the Distilled
Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and its members, with
the support of the SWA, have been doing since 2002.
Arriving in Glasgow Airport around 8am on a sunny June morning,
the group, fuelled by some much-needed coffee, were whisked off to
Diageo's new archive in Menstrie. This archive houses bottles
spanning many decades and is an in-house resource providing
inspiration for new product development.
Next stop was a cooperage to learn how modern techniques and
traditional skills are combined to ensure a supply of quality casks
to meet increasing demand from distilleries.
Then the whirlwind of distillery tours across Scotland began.
The group were fortunate enough to visit the Scotch producing
regions of: Highland; Speyside; Lowland and Islay. Distillery
managers and brand ambassadors explained what makes each brand of
Scotch different and the defining characteristics of their Single
In just under a week our guests were welcomed at: The Famous
Grouse Experience at Glenturret; Dewar's of Aberfeldy; Aberlour;
The Glenlivet; Royal Brackla; Glenmorangie; Mortlach; Auchentoshan,
Ardbeg; Bruichladdich; Bowmore and Laphroaig, travelling by bus and
boat across Scotland.
I joined the group on part of their visit and it was a reminder
of what makes Scotch Whisky, and Scotland, special. The group
marvelled at the rugged scenery, the long Scottish evenings with
their late sunsets and, above all, the passion of those working in
I'm sure they will spread the word about Scotch Whisky to
consumers in the USA who are new to the product as well as those
who have enjoyed a dram for years. Some may also return in the
future to visit the plethora of new distilleries currently being
planned and built.
Rosemary Gallagher, Scotch Whisky Association communications