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A match made in heaven for the nation’s favourite tipple

Press Release   •   Jan 06, 2016 17:03 GMT

Whisky and water, scotch on the rocks – now there is a new perfect match for the nation’s favourite tipple as Scotland gears up to celebrate its Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design in 2016.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which takes place in Scotland’s most prolific whisky producing region, will show how the multi-million pound global industry has been built on the exact principles which will be nationally recognised over the next 12 months.

The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative – led by national tourism agency VisitScotland and a number of partners – which aims to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding contribution to everything from technology to textiles and architecture to craft.

Festival chairman James Campbell says that the union of innovative design and traditional whisky production was a fitting achievement to be celebrated during the themed year. He added:

“From the bold, innovative moves of illicit distillers who pioneered production to the world famous architectural design of the pagoda which has become a hallmark of Speyside’s distilleries, whisky would not be the multi-billion pound industry it is today without these innovators.

“This amalgamation of heritage and innovation is what makes Speyside whisky so unique and we look forward to sharing our traditions and passion for Scotch malt whisky with visitors to the Festival.

“The five day event offers a rare opportunity for whisky aficionados, and beginners alike to learn more about the malts that have made our region world famous.”

The result of a successful marriage between traditional heritage and cutting edge production, Scotland’s national tipple is the reason why thousands of visitors will flock to the region for the 17th year of whisky festivities.

Thousands of visitors will flock to the 17th annual festival, which runs from April 28 – May 2. The five day celebration raises a toast to Speyside’s internationally acclaimed malt whisky through exclusive tastings, tours and appreciations.

The programme is made up of over 400 unique events, including a selection of new attractions, ensuring there’s something for everyone. For those who appreciate the region in equal measure to the whisky, the Festival has organised a range of entertainment from comedy and crafting to cookery and indulgent dinners, as well as heritage walks and scenic excursions.

Scotland’s first themed year ran in 2009 as the year of Homecoming. The success of the project brought about a range of benefits to the country and boosted tourism overall. Following on from this, the Scottish Government announced a series of themed years to showcase the country as a dynamic and creative nation through a yearlong plethora of programmed events.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:

“The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is a terrific success story and has attracted many thousands of overseas visitors to Scotland. Although an industry that has a long-established heritage, whisky production in Scotland embraces creativity and innovation to supply global demand.

“This fits perfectly with the theme of Innovation Architecture and Design and visitors can look forward to finding out about this interesting side of our national drink during the festival in 2016.”

Speyside contains more than half of all Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries – over 50 in total – and the vast majority of them will be staging events during the Festival, including many that are not usually open to the public.

Contrasting heritage with contemporary, the programme will, for the first time, feature the oldest operating distillery in the Highlands of Scotland – Strathisla, established in 1789 - and the newest - Dalmunach which was officially opened in June 2015 by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Information about the 2016 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival can be found on the website where tickets will be on sale from early February. The Festival is also active on, Twitter and Instagram @spirit_speyside.

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Picture caption: There’s whisky galore at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which takes place in Scotland’s most prolific whisky producing region from April 28 until May 2.

For further information contact:

Jennifer Kelly

Tricker PR


Office: 01224 646491

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’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • 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.
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy 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 events in Scotland go to

    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting