Centenary poem unveiled

13 Jun 2012

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) launched its Centenary celebrations with the reading of a specially-commissioned poem by the Makar, or Scottish National Poet, Liz Lochhead.

Ms Lochhead's poem, "For the Centenary of The Scotch Whisky Association", draws on Robert Burns's famous declaration that "Freedom an Whisky gang thegither". It celebrates the growing and maturing taste for Scotch Whisky, and its association with poetry and friendship, as: 

'Distillations of history, language, weather
 in an usqueba o barley, burn, water, peat.'

Ms Lochhead said:

"I was delighted to be asked by the SWA to write a poem in a landmark year for them. It was a pleasure to trace the course of whisky-making from the rough to the smooth, and to try to evoke all aromas, the colours and flavours of this subtle drink. Writers and whisky have an even longer history than the SWA. Congratulations to the Association on its first hundred years."

The SWA will reach its anniversary in October, about 100 days from now, and last night's event (13 June) attended by Scotch Whisky producers, media and politicians, was the start of a number of planned celebrations. From the end of November the SWA will be holding a major exhibition at the Scottish Parliament. The exhibition entitled Scotch Whisky: From Grain to Glass will run in the Parliament's Main Hall for two months. It will bring together artefacts and images from distilleries across Scotland. It will be the first time many of these objects will be put on public display.

The Association has also launched a new website at www.scotch-whisky.org.uk which includes sections dedicated to its history and Centenary.

A brochure is being produced which will chart the landmark events of the last 100 years. An in-depth piece on the economic contribution of the Scotch Whisky industry will be published later this year.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA, said:

"We've come a long way since October 1912 when the Wine & Sprit Brand Association was founded in London, before becoming the SWA in 1942.

"Although the world has changed, our priorities remain remarkably similar. We protect, promote and represent the Scotch Whisky industry at home and abroad. We look forward to doing so for another 100 years and beyond."

You can see and hear Liz Lochhead read the poem, introduced by Ian Curle, SWA chairman, and Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive here: https://vimeo.com/44860119


Notes to Editors

  • The full poem by Liz Lochhead is available at www.scotch-whisky.org.uk where you will also find more information on the SWA's history and Centenary
  • You can now follow the SWA on Twitter @SWACentenary
  • For further information please contact Rosemary Gallagher, SWA communications manager on 0131 222 9230/0743 260 5385 or rgallagher@swa.org.uk