Five worthy winners were recognised for their work in the whisky industry last night (27 April) when a crowd of almost 500 gathered at Glenfiddich Distillery to open the world’s biggest whisky festival.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which is on now until 2 May, is in its 23rd year and offers almost 600 whisky inspired events.

As part of the annual awards, five accolades were presented across four categories. These were Unsung Hero, Ambassador of the Year, International Ambassador of the Year and The Spirit of Speyside Lifetime Achievement Award. They were awarded to Billy Wright, Steph and Lauren Murray, Annabel Meikle and Alan Winchester respectively.

George McNeil, chairman of The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, said:

It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge the hard work and dedication to the industry that our winners have showcased over the years.

“Alan has spent his entire career promoting Speyside and the industry. Annabel is a longtime supporter of the Festival and Glenlivet’s Billy embodies the spirit of collaboration which the Festival represents. The Murray sisters’ constantly work to give something back to our community and have been the driving force behind the transformation of The Dowans Hotel.

“Today marks an exciting chapter in the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival story as we officially open our first full in-person festival in three years. The coming days are jam packed with whisky inspired events and after months of planning and hard work I’m thrilled the Festival is now in full swing and our team can welcome guests to this special part of the world.”

The Festival provides ticket holders exclusive access to world famous distilleries usually off-limits to the public, whilst allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the region and discover all that Speyside has to offer, from rolling mountains to the Moray coastline and the very best of Scotland’s larder.

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