To boldly go…


Scotland is quite a small place. When it came to the creation of The Whisky Ambassador, it was always our intention to ‘Spread the Whisky love’ outwith the confines of Scotland. We realised from the outset that really, it would be a bit crazy to ignore the fact that 90% of all Scotch whisky is set to head out of the confines of our wee country.  Our mantra of Drink Less. Drink Better is aimed at starting the whisky journey for many Scots. Over the last few days, weeks and months, we’ve been forging alliances which are going to help cement Scotch Malt Whisky in peoples’ minds as ‘The King of Spirits’. We want to cement this in craniums, everywhere.

Lest week, we were privy to an amazing opportunity to see what developments had taken place in other Spirits markets. Because it’s not just Scotch Whisky that has been enjoying bumper sales. In the Worlds of Gin, Rum and even Tequila, the growth of artisan, vintage, hand crafted and limited edition bottlings has really taken off. We heard from World authorities and people actively selling these spirits into an enthusiastic and increasingly knowledgeable bar trade.

After all, the Mexican government has recently appointed it’s own ‘Tequila Ambassador’ and as we’ve been learning, Tequila isn’t made from a cactus, it doesn’t have a worm in the bottle and some of it can be very, very good indeed. Aged, crafted, designed to be sipped and savoured, sans salt, lemon and lime. So, if Tequila is going Global, Scotch needs to be wary.

Gin, with it’s cocktail-friendly flavour and its lack of need for ageing is also proving popular. A number of Whisky distillers are already getting in on the act and there are aged Gins out there which really are very tasty. Some of the best Gin is full of fresh ‘botanicals’ and produced using quality grains. The classic Martini, or the perfect Gin and Tonic can be a fine thing indeed. Because it’s quick (and cheaper) to produce, lots of new Gin distilleries are springing up. Islay, the very epicentre of Scotch Malt Whisky provenance even has one now.

And there’s Rum, or ‘Rhum’ or even ‘Ron’, depending on what line of British, French or Spanish colonialism you want to trace the heritage back to. Made all over the world and fast becoming a very different animal to the ‘grog’ forced on ‘press-ganged’ British sailors, during the Napoleonic Wars. For instance, we tasted a 23 year-old Rum from Guatemala recently and it was very, very, good indeed. Definitely slipping-in (or should that be sipping-in?) as a competitor to fine Scotch Malt Whisky, as an apres-dinner throat-charmer.

So, it’s not just other Whisky or Whiskey which will is posing a threat to Scotch, as being the sophisticated drink of choice, there’s lots of other spirits looking to move into this space.

Which brings us round to Lithuania. A bit of a forced link, you might think but actually, it’s not really. Lithuania, as one of the Baltic states is changing the attitude is has to ‘spirits’.  Being formerly behind the Iron Curtain, the drinking culture in Lithuania has been stunted over the past 50 years, a legacy of being a sub-station of the Great Bear’s thirst for Vodka. The Iron Curtain fell down a while ago, though. It’s obviously changing and as Lithuania is fast becoming a short-break mecca for people all over the World, they are now looking to ‘Internationalise’ their drinks offer. It’s for this reason that we’re going over on a fact-finding mission to Vilnius in Lithunia next month, to see how Scotch Whisky fits into this. Thanks to the hard work of our friends at Baltic Business Connections, we’re  meeting Government, finding out how Scotch is perceived and showing Lithuania that there’s a lot more to ‘Scotch’ than the drink itself.

There are a lot of parallels between Lithuania and Scotland. As well as being of a similar population, like Scotland, Lithuania is looking to move the drinking culture-on and educate imbibing audiences to Drink Less. Drink Better. As part of the process, there’s a possibility that Lithuanian barstaff could be coming to Scotland, to be trained in The Whisky Ambassador and return, with this knowledge, to train others in’ The Art of Scotch Whisky’. There’s obviously a mutually beneficial aspect to this and if it leads to an influx of Lithuanian bar professionals coming over to Scotland to visit distilleries, bars and Scotch whisky-related ‘experiences’ then we’re really behind this.

The Whisky Ambassador is really much more than the UK’s only Accredited Whisky Training course, we think there are many aspects of ‘Whisky Tourism’ which are inextricably linked to what we do. If we train bar professionals, they will develop a love for our National Drink, they will spread the Whisky love and as we’re finding out on a daily basis, this process isn’t just limited to Scotland.

Ireland and Lithuania are just the first of many overseas territories we’re investigating and with the help of Scottish Development International, we’re creating a strategy which will see us extend our reach to ‘Diaspora’ territories such as Canada but also to proven ‘Scotch Whisky-Loving’ areas, like Holland, France and Singapore.

It really is very excting.




  • Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could
    get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having
    problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

Leave a Comment