Mixed bag for whisky month

VisitScotland praises increasing diversity of event

WHISKY month is underway and this year’s events could help further broaden the appeal of Scotland’s national drink, VisitScotland has suggested.

The tourism body said there has been an increase in the number of women, young professionals and overseas visitors attending whisky-themed events around the country and has predicted further success during this year’s “unique programme of events”.

Organisers of the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival estimate one third of attendees were women.

Organisers of Whisky Month event the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which ran from April 30 to May 4, agree there is growing diversity among whisky drinkers.

Festival organisers believe one third of their attendees are women, whilst a fifth of visitors are thought to be aged between 18 and 34.

Whisky is also said to have a broadening international appeal, with last year’s Speyside festival thought to have attracted 27,000 visitors from 31 different countries including traditional markets such as Germany, the USA and Scandinavia and nations such as Peru, Brazil and Malaysia.

Ann Miller, one of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival directors, said organisers have “certainly noticed an increased number of women and young visitors attending the festival” over the last decade.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said that it is “fantastic to hear that events, tours and whisky experiences are now actively catering for a diverse range of enthusiasts”.

“Widening the appeal of whisky amongst less traditional audiences is important if we want to encourage more visitors to come to Scotland, particularly during the Year of Food and Drink 2015,” said Roughead.

Events taking place during this year’s Whisky Month include the Whisky Stramash, which is now entering its fourth year with the addition of a third evening to the programme.

Stramash co-founder Scott Martin said organisers are “excited to be adding something completely different with a stand-alone bash on the Friday”.

Whisky Month 2015 events include:

Create:Eat:Whisky (May 14-17)

The Hive & The Still at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (May 15)

World Whisky Day (May 16)

Whisky Stramash (May 23-24)

Islay Malt and Music Festival (May 22-30)