Calling all Glen Grants, Ben Riachs and Glen Murrays…a VIP invitation to a gathering of Speyside’s best-loved whisky distilleries is waiting for you.
People who can prove they share the same name as any one of Speyside’s famous distilleries are being offered free entry to Spirit of Speyside: Distilled – a brand new food and drink event that will bring together the area’s whisky producers under one roof - and on their own doorstep - for the very first time.
Spirit of Speyside: Distilled takes place in Elgin – the largest town in Speyside – from September 9 to 11. It will give visitors the opportunity to learn more about the area’s food and drink producers, and taste a fantastic range of whiskies, beer, gin and food.
Event organisers are prepared to waive the entry fee to those who can provide proof of their identity and while they do not expect to be overrun with people called Craig Ellachie or Rose Isle, they hope many other distillery namesakes will join the celebrations.
Spirit of Speyside: Distilled festival manager Pery Zakeri says, “I would imagine that there might be a few people out there called Glen Keith or Ben Rinnes. Who knows, maybe there are even some Mac Allans.
“Whatever the name, if they share it with one of our famous distilleries, then we will be happy to provide free entry to any one of the four sessions taking place at Spirit of Speyside: Distilled. After all, they are technically brand ambassadors for our Speyside whisky, spreading the name wherever they go in the world.
“Whisky is our most famous export but to the people who live here and who work in the industry, it is more than just a product to be bought and sold. It is the lifeblood of the area, so we salute all the Glen Grants, Glen Murrays, Ben Riachs - or Reiachs - out there who are flying the flag for Speyside.”
The event is an offshoot of the hugely popular Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which takes place annually over the May Day holiday weekend. The event has been running for almost 20 years and attracts an international audience of whisky lovers.
It comprises almost 500 events over multiple venues, but organisers thought there was scope to create a mini-festival in one place that would appeal to people who enjoy whisky but do not want to create an extensive itinerary.
Spirit of Speyside: Distilled kicks off at Elgin Town Hall on Friday, September 9 with an evening session from 7–11pm. There are two sessions on the Saturday – from 1-5pm and again from 7-11pm – with the final session on the Sunday from 12-4pm.
It features a huge range of distilleries responsible for producing world famous brands, including Cragganmore, The Glenlivet, Aberlour and Cardhu. There is also the chance to sample drinks from local craft breweries and gin distillers and try food from a number of local firms.
Visitors will be able to meet the people behind the products, from master distillers to brand ambassadors, and can also book their place on masterclasses covering topics from cocktails to food pairing.
Pery adds, “We’re delighted to be able to offer such a broad range of exhibitors, from global brands to small craft breweries that are just starting to make a name for themselves. There’s a really good buzz surrounding Distilled, and we can’t wait to raise our glasses and get things underway.”
Anyone who would like further information about entitlement to qualify for free entry should contact the Festival on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets, priced £20, are on sale now and the entry fee includes a lanyard, vouchers for five 10ml tasting samples of gin or whisky, a voucher for a tasting measure of a beer, a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass, and a snack using local produce prepared by event caterers, Good Highland Food. There is also an on-site retail outlet being run by The Whisky Shop Dufftown.
There are limited places for masterclasses, full details of which are available on the Spirit of Speyside: Distilled website – www.distilled.scot - where tickets can also be bought. Distilled is active on social media at www.facebook.com/distilledscot on Twitter and Instagram @distilledscot and Google+.