New digital initiative toasts finest Scottish pub & bar stories for the first time

Press release   •   May 08, 2014 00:00 BST

For the first time ever, a major new digital initiative launched today is celebrating the role that pubs and bars play in telling visitors the great stories of Scotland. The project recognises the importance of the licensed trade to the wider Scottish tourism industry, and is designed to drive more holidaymakers to visit a Scottish pub or bar during their stay.

Scotland’s Pubs and Bars – A Story to Tell, delivered in partnership by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, VisitScotland, Diageo and Tennent Caledonian Breweries, is match-funded with £55,000 from the VisitScotland Growth Fund.

The idea for the initiative came after the VisitScotland 2011/12 Visitor Survey demonstrated that:

  • at least 58% of all visitors, and 71% of foreign visitors, to Scotland visit a pub or bar when they’re here.
  • there is already a positive image of Scottish pubs, particularly in the UK and European markets.
  • this could be built upon to encourage existing visitors to visit more pubs during their visit and for pubs to be a must-visit place for new visitors to Scotland.

From ghostly goings on and tributes to local heroes, to the national bard’s nightly antics and the discovery of the next big band, the campaign tells of a wide range of intriguing and sometimes surprising stories that pubs and bars have to tell.

The project, which includes a website and app, will encourage UK and international visitors to Scotland to discover the stories behind public houses across the country. The app allows users to access information even when in some of the country’s most remote areas: whether at the top of Scotland’s highest mountain or (for those who have a waterproof phone) at the bottom of the sea.

120 of the country’s most fascinating licensed premises from almost every area of Scotland feature on the website and app, which will be publicised online, in press, through social media and in other marketing material.

Each pub or bar has nominated a resident storyteller among their staff, someone who can delight customers by sharing details of establishment’s exciting and often awe-inspiring history.

Paul Waterson, Chief Executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said:

“The SLTA is delighted that our Pub and Bar Stories campaign, the biggest Scottish pub and bar promotion ever, is now up and running. Every area of the country is represented from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles to Argyll and the Borders. The 120 pubs and bars involved can now share their unique stories, not only with their Scottish audience, but through various marketing opportunities, the international visitor. Scottish pubs and bars are an integral part of the communities they serve and have a vital role to play in the success of our tourism business.

“We are proud of our trade, our people and our heritage and are determined to make sure our stories help to make 2014 a special year for the Scottish Licensed Trade.“

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“A visit to a Scottish pub or bar is a great way to experience our country’s famous hospitality and that’s what this campaign is all about - finding, celebrating and sharing the finest Scottish stories from our finest pubs and bars.

There has been an excellent response to the initiative and we hope that these premises can benefit from this extra exposure and welcome even more visitors through their doors.”


Notes to Editors:

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to 
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to 
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to