From coffee tables to cars and from sofas to sheet metal – Elgin Container Storage director Stuart Harper thought that his lock-ups contained just about everything but the kitchen sink. But even he was stunned when organisers of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival asked him to take care of a very unusual item: a 6ft tall model giraffe.
The sculpture formed part of the hugely successful From Grain to Glass display staged at last year’s Festival and was one of the exhibits donated by Tain-based distillery Glenmorangie. The giraffe is one of hundreds of items which Stuart has agreed to store for the Festival as part of a sponsorship agreement.
Stuart, who launched Elgin Container Storage with fellow director and brother, Dougie, said: “We have quite a few unusual items tucked away in our secure containers, but this is a first for us. Our ears certainly pricked up when they told us what was going to go in the container – we thought for a minute it might be a real one.
“We have a soft spot for Geoffrey and it seems a shame to keep him hidden away, but hopefully it will not be too long before the Festival finds him a permanent home. As well as the giraffe, we are also storing banners, glasses, branded casks and all the other things that are rolled out during the Festival.
“We are happy to be able to support the Festival in this way because it is such a great event for the region, and brings in thousands of additional visitors. The whole area benefits from the Festival and the work of the volunteers behind it, so we’re pleased to be able to give something back.”
Stuart launched Elgin Container Storage because he felt there was a gap in the market for the service in the Moray area. The business suffered a set back last year when it was affected by flooding, but has bounced back and has over 100 containers on site, and an upgrade to the yard has seen the containers raised from ground level, electric gates allowing 24 hour access installed, and work still continuing on security lighting and CCTV.
The Grain to Glass exhibition charted the history of the Scotch whisky industry, with displays about the distilling process, historical artefacts and quirky marketing and advertising materials. Glenmorangie produces model giraffes because the long necks of the copper stills in the distillery stand at 5.14m – the same height as a fully grown adult giraffe.
The exhibition was originally put together by the Scotch Whisky Association, which has now gifted all the display stands, cases and interpretative panels to the Festival. The board of directors is currently looking to find a permanent home in Speyside for the exhibition.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival chairman James Campbell added: “We are very grateful for the support of Stuart and Dougie, and indeed all the other sponsors and partners that help to make the Festival the success that it is.
“We may only be visible to the public for five days of the year, but we have lots of equipment that needs to be looked after and stored securely for the other 360 days. Until now, all of our belonging have been stored at locations across Moray and Speyside, so it’s a real bonus to be able to access everything in one place.”
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has a packed programme of almost 400 events celebrating all things connected to Scotland’s national drink, from distillery tours and whisky tastings, and also taking in music, comedy, food, activities and arts and crafts.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place from April 30 to May 4, 2015. Visit www.spiritofspeyside.com to buy tickets and follow the Festival at www.facebook.com/WhiskyFestival or www.twitter.com/spirit_speyside.