Slàinte mhath! Thousands raise a glass for World Whisky Day


Whisky connoisseurs from all around the globe toasted Scotland’s own ‘water of life’ yesterday as they celebrated the very first official ‘World Whisky Day.’

The event, created by Blair Bowman, a 22 year old University of Aberdeen student, saw its inaugural, worldwide opening event with whisky enthusiasts from as far afield as Yellowknife in Northern Canada, to Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island raising a glass, or two, in celebration of all things Scotch whisky.

Over 17,000 people registered for the global celebrations, with over 150 events planned with all things whisky in mind.

Blair, who also co – founded Aberdeen University’s award- winning malt whisky society, was inspired to create the event whilst holidaying in Spain where friends of the enterprising Hispanic Studies student were creating a World Gin Day.

He added,

“I hope it will also be a way to introduce whisky to those who have never tried it before and to allow them to learn about and appreciate the wonderful variety of the spirit.

“I’ve had people from all over the world get in touch with me saying they are doing something where they are.

“People seem to love the idea of raising a glass of whisky across the world.

“I’m hoping that it allows more people to become interested in whisky and could also boost tourism for Scotland. Whisky is booming right now, all over the world. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this famous Scottish export.”

Revenue data for 2010 would support Blair’s view, with exports of the product totalling £3.45 billion, a record high and an increase of 10% on the following year. For overseas sales, this equates to a staggering £109 every second.

A half – year report on whisky exports for 2011 compiled by the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) reflects the overall optimism of the whisky industry with global shipments of Scotch whisky between January and June 2011 reaching £1.8 billion, up 22% on the £1.47bn achieved in the first half of 2010.

Yesterday new figures revealed that whisky exports broke new records, increasing in value by 23% to £4.23bn.

Scotch whisky export growth is encouraging new tourists from countries which are discovering a taste for Scotch to come to Scotland, according to the  Scotch Whisky and Tourism report commissioned by the SWA.

The report reveals that visitor centres and distilleries add £30.4 million in value to the economy and provides 640 jobs – directly and indirectly.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Campbell Evans, SWA Director of Government and Consumer Affairs, said: “Scotch whisky and tourism can be seen as the perfect blend and complement one another. Our survey shows the scale of the economic impact of Scotch whisky and how exports can help drive up tourism. Spending by tourists, and the jobs created as a result, is injecting new money into the Scottish economy.”