By Jason White
The third annual Alhambra Whisky festival was all about bringing ‘liquor to the lips’ of Stirling as it promoted local whiskies from around Scotland.
Ran by the Scottish gantry, in the Stirling arcade, this year’s event was one of the most successful yet and with plans for another in March Jack Breslin, owner and director of the Scottish Gantry, believes it is an event of key importance for local products in Stirling as it showcases the vast provenance of Scotland.
“You’ll hear all the time that we drive past these disterillies but we haven’t tried it yet, so it’s taking that liquor to the lips, no one is ever going to turn around and say a Glengoyne whisky is their favourite whisky without actually trying it so it’s important for the local guys.
You’re getting to try a lot of nice whiskies and some of these whiskies cost a fortune, so it’s a good nursery as it lets you try a lot of different styles of whisky with people who are involved in making it right in front of you behind the stall telling you how it was done.”
The Scottish Gantry was opened by Jack in 2017 with the aim to show how good the national drinks trade is in Scotland.
It has always been self-run and they now sell over 170 whiskies from Scotland and beyond as well as running their own wine club plus whisky and rum tasting experiences.
The event gave them a chance to communicate to their customers as well as suppliers and this experience Jack believes is important for encouraging to buy locally.
“It’s very inclusive, one of our four main kind of ethos points here is that it should be inclusive, it’s about letting people try something, it’s not a formal setting, you can mill in, you can drop off your coat, you can grab a bit to eat, you can go and try that one and that one and ask the questions.
In Stirling there has been a move to gifting experiences, so rather than people having more things to enjoy, but rather just to enjoy themselves so I think it promotes that, it promotes the arcade, it promotes our local disterillies as well as disterillies further afield.”
Alcohol wasn’t the only product promoted by the event with local entertainment, food companies and others all in attendance.
One company that was of benefit was All Things Wood, an independent artisan wood company based in Stirling that designs and makes individually designed wooden products.
Chris Hodgson of All Things Wood was happy that the event could give a wider audience to show his products.
“I think it’s important, not only for locals but for the people that come from the surrounding areas in central Scotland. I think now a day’s artisan products, individually made products and small distilleries are definitely offering an alternative to the major companies, and people do like that individuality.”