Major Whisky Exhibition Coming to Moray and Speyside
A major whisky exhibition showcasing the lifecycle of Scotch whisky – From Grain to Glass – has arrived in the drink’s spiritual home. The exhibition, which contains dozens of artefacts and pieces of memorabilia, will take centre stage at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.
From Grain to Glass was originally created to celebrate the centenary of the Scotch Whisky Association. At the close of the exhibition, the SWA returned all the artefacts that were on loan to their owners and donated all the story boards and tables to the Festival.
The display was stored at Glen Grant Distillery in Rothes until financial support was secured to enable the Festival to stage From Grain to Glass locally. The board has now received generous support form Highlands and Islands Enterprise and a number of local companies have also provided help in-kind.
All of the distilleries which had donated artefacts have also now come forward to make them available for the latest showing of the exhibition, which takes up residence at St Giles Church in Elgin from April 17 to May 5. The free exhibition will be one of the major new attractions at this year’s Festival, which gets underway in three weeks.
The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the industry, from distilling to bottling, labelling to marketing and exporting of Scotch whisky, all highlighted through images and artefacts collected by Scotch whisky enthusiasts and producers.
James Campbell, chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, says, “It is fantastic that we will have this window into the life of Scotch whisky right here on our doorstep. To have such treasured artefacts in the area in time for the Festival is such a privilege.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to all of those that have helped make this possible, especially the SWA and distillery companies throughout Scotland.
“Transporting this vast exhibition from Glasgow to Elgin via Glen Grant and then putting everything together in the beautiful setting of St Giles Church has not been without its challenges.
“However without the financial support from HIE and the help in kind by a number of local companies, we might not have been able to offer such a wonderful educational insight into the industry for the many thousands of visitors who will be coming to the Festival.”
Visitors to the exhibition can expect to see a vast array of artefacts, including a mini pot still, mash tun and spirit safe. Further items include a reproduction of the Illicit Highland Whisky Still painting by Sir Edwin Landseer, 19th century maps of railways that served distilleries, classic advertising campaigns, blended whisky recipes from 1912 and much more.
One particularly striking artefact is a famous, full size, fibre glass white horse which illustrates the White Horse brand of Scotch whisky – a dram which remains very popular in many global markets. The brand has a long history, stretching back to the late 19th century, and is named after the White Horse Cellar Inn which still stands in Edinburgh’s Canongate.
Also featured in the exhibition are the people who make Scotch whisky: visitors can hear masters, coopers, master blenders, marketing professionals and many other employees talking about their skills and passions in recordings made especially for the exhibition.
Festival directors are looking for a permanent home for the exhibition tables and equipment. It is hoped that they can be handed over to a local community in Speyside so they can, with the help of distillers, put together a more permanent exhibition, possibly on a slightly smaller scale.
From Grain to Glass started life in the foyer of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh in 2012, and more recently has been housed in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. Festival directors will be working with communities in Speyside in the coming weeks to identify a permanent home.