Course bids to boost whisky knowledge


A NEW training scheme designed to improve the level of whisky knowledge among Scotland’s bar staff has been launched.

Victor Brierley, who runs Glasgow Whisky Tours, said he set up The Whisky Ambassador after being “shocked by the lack of knowledge” bar staff had of Scotch.
The scheme, which is backed by tourism body VisitScotland, aims to give bartenders the knowledge and confidence to explain the differences between whiskies and tell consumers about the history of Scotland’s national drink. Bartenders successfully completing the course and exam will be awarded the title of ‘whisky ambassador’.
Brierley said although there are already a number of excellent whisky bars in Scotland, “many bar staff, even in high-end bars and hotels, don’t know what they are talking about”.
“Bar staff should be able to talk about what whisky is, the colour, the age, the peatiness, the sweetness, and how it has come to find its way into bars all over the world,” he said.
“They should be knowledgeable and confident enough to ‘up-sell’, encouraging people to try a malt, even if it costs a couple of pounds more than a blend, and to experience the very best whiskies. If they can do that then bars can take in thousands of pounds more a year, helping them to be more viable and vibrant.”
The one-day Whisky Ambassador course costs £199.