A few weeks ago, the Scotch Whisky Association were trumpeting how whisky tourism is on the up and up in Scotland. Many people will be delighted to hear it and I just hope it will inspire more distilleries to open their doors to the public.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is one of countless trade bodies across the UK that is trying to prepare for the uncertainties of Brexit. Whisky is one of Scotland’s, and Britain’s, most valuable exports, earning more than £4 billion a year overseas and UK sales earning the Treasury zillions from excise duty and VAT.
Although the rest of humanity yearly becomes more appreciative of Scotch whisky, it seems the Scots themselves are becoming yearly more addicted to vodka.
The burnished copper stills seen in every malt distillery have become both a symbol of the whisky industry and, to a lesser extent, a sort of Scottish icon. And, as the industry continues to win new converts to the cratur across the world, the demand for stills keeps increasing. Which in turn is good news for the firms that make the stills and related distillery equipment.
For decades, Perth was a key centre of the whisky industry, its clout and repute built on three pioneering names—Dewar, Bell and Gloag.
Kalamazoo is a town in Michigan, midway between Chicago and Detroit, known to millions thanks to the Glenn Miller hit, I Got a Gal in Kalamazoo.
Few fathers tend to name their sons after motor cars, but it does happen.
Several times in Amber Lights I have urged distilleries without visitor centres to establish one, as it would be a good long-term investment. And I still adhere to that.
Although I try to appreciate all distilleries and their malts equally, there are some for which I have a soft spot. One of these is Bladnoch (pictured), first opened in 1817 near Wigtown, for decades the most southerly of the Lowland distilleries and indeed of all Scottish distilleries.
What never fails to amaze me is the enthusiasm for Scotch whisky I see in other countries. Indeed, Scotland sometimes seems to be the one nation that is losing pride and passion for its national drink — whereas, go overseas and in many places Scotchmania rules the roost.