The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has honoured hotelier Penny Ellis for her outstanding contribution to the event and the wider whisky industry. Penny was presented with an ambassador award for her services to Scotland’s national drink at the Festival.
Penny, who was named Ambassador of the Year, is the owner of the Knockomie Hotel, Forres, and will be stepping down as a director of the Festival this year. The ambassador award was presented to Penny in honour of the work she has done to promote the festival over the past five years, and her long-standing service to the Speyside whisky industry.
The hotelier, who has had a keen and passionate interest in whisky since moving to Speyside over 20 years ago, has written a book - Distinguished Distilleries - and also wrote a regular whisky column for Scots Magazine.
Penny and her husband Gavin have run the Knockomie since 1993 and have been actively promoting and selling whisky to their customers ever since. However, she has worked in the hospitality industry for over 30 years and previously looked after the corporate guests of J&B Rare Whisky and Cutty Sark Scots Whisky.
Penny has also been a regular judge at numerous whisky competitions, and is the main organiser of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Whisky Awards.
Festival chairman James Campbell says, “Penny can be credited with introducing people to the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival and importantly, the passion that is behind it. She has been successful in introducing Scotland’s national drink to a new and global audience, and we’re honoured to reward the hard work that Penny has done for both the Festival and the wider industry.
“Penny is as passionate about Speyside as she is about whisky, and her input over the last five years has helped to propel the Festival into one of the leading events of its kind anywhere in the world. We wanted to present her with this award to show our appreciation for the incredibly impact she has made.