Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Pays Tribute to Festival Manager

 Mary Hemsworth, the Manager of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival for the past three years, is moving on to take on new challenges after helping to steer the event to several years of success.

Under the leadership of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival board, Mary has helped to grow the event significantly and has introduced key new events to the programme.  She leaves the Festival in an excellent position to achieve further growth.

Festival chairman James Campbell says, “Mary has worked enthusiastically to cement the Festival’s position as one of the leading events of its type anywhere in the world. Her hard work and input has been instrumental in the Festival almost doubling in size and opening up to new global audiences.

“The board would like to thank Mary for her hard work over the past 3 years and for her commitment and dedication to the Festival. We would like to wish Mary the very best of luck in the future”.

Mary joined the Festival as Manager in 2011 and implemented the board’s strategic vision to expand the range of events and raise the bar on quality. She worked to increase the number of events from 220 in 2011 to 431 this year.

During her period as Manager more distilleries have participated in the Festival, including some not normally open to the public and the Festival’s members have organised a wide range of events. Mary worked closely with EventScotland this year to introduce a new musical element – the Spirit of Speyside Sessions – as part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 programme.

Hubs in Dufftown and Aberlour, which together have attracted 2,500 visitors, were also launched, along with a brand new website and the social media campaign was significantly enhanced.

“It has been an amazing three years and it is now time to pass the baton on to someone new.  Working with everyone involved in making the Festival such a success has been one of the highlights of my career.” Mary commented.  “To play my part of growing the Festival and reaching a global audience that has raised Speyside’s profile worldwide was very rewarding and I hope the Festival continues to grow and prosper in the coming years”.

Mr Campbell says that the board of directors will now be looking at the overall strategy for taking the event forward and the staffing structure of the organisation.

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