Kirkcaldy to launch new whisky festival

Steven Valentine and James Mackay of Spirits By Post.
Steven Valentine and James Mackay of Spirits By Post.

Kirkcaldy is to be the launch pad for a series of whisky festivals, with the first event being held in the Lang Toun.

The Scotch Whisky Festival, organised by Spirits By Post, is coming to town in September, with a wide range of whisky and gin suppliers already on board.

The event promises sampling and masterclass sessions, with the likes of Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie, Springbank, Kilchoman and Tomatin.

Gins will be supplied by Fife’s Darnleys and Edinburgh Gin.

Food pairings will complement the sampling experience, and renowned whisky consultant Charles Maclean will be on hand to open the show and also host some Masterclasses.

The show itself will be held over two sessions at the Adam Smith Theatre, each lasting three hours.

The festival will also have sales tables where whisky and gin fans can pick up a bottle of their favourite tipple.

Spirits By Post, which is based in Kirkcaldy, aims to take the festival on the road, with appearances across Scotland. Dundee and Glasgow have already been earmarked for 2019.

But the home town launch is creating a lot of excitement for the Fife firm.

James Mackay of Spirits By Post, said: “We’re Kirkcaldy based and looking to kick off in our home town.

“We’ve got local marketeers so it makes sense to have our first one here.

“It’s all we’ve been thinking and dreaming of. As we get closer, it’s something that’s generating a huge amount of excitement, not just in the business here but at the Adam Smith too.

“It’s something new not just for Kirkcaldy, but for the theatre, and it’s bringing a new client for the theatre.

“As a spirits retailer, we’re conscious that we need to do more to try and generate interest in our products, and if we can promote it locally then it makes a lot of sense.”

James said that the Adam Smith will provide the ideal venue for the launch.

“The Adam Smith is quite an iconic venue, when you walk in and see it,” he said.

“We’ve been to some festivals in the past where the venue has actually let the festival down, but we believe that the Adam Smith both with its location and the layout of the building just lends itself so well to the event.”

The appeal of whisky events can bring a committed fanbase, but James says even those who aren’t whisky experts can enjoy it.

“The distillers that we’re working with are always bringing out new products and this is an opportunity for people to try those out before they buy.

“It’s also an opportunity for someone who isn’t a whisky expert but wants to have a little sample.

“They can meet the distillers and sample their wares, so the event caters for all and makes it more accessable as well.

“You’ll also find that people who are used to these events will travel to each of them to try the new products that come out.

“The suppliers have been very supportive, and they’re obviously very keen to promote their products.

“There’s also going to be a bit of gin.

“Gin is a very fashionable product and I think it’s evolving so a lot of the gin companies are trying new things, new flavours and so on.

“They’re trying to appeal to a different, possibly younger market. And it’s spreading.

“Some whisky distillers have gin sitting in the background, for example the Wemyss distillery have got a gin arm so it makes sense that they’d bring both along.

“We’re keen to promote the idea that there’s something here for all. So if a couple come along, one might like whisky, one might like gin.”

The Scotch Whisky Festival will be held on Saturday, September 15, at the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy.

Tickets for the Kirkcaldy event are on sale online now.

Festival factfile

Tickets for the Kirkcaldy festival are available for sale through www.scotchwhiskyfestival.com/fife/ where there are also details of Facebook and Twitter for those who’d like to follow developments as the day of the show gets closer.

The show itself will be held over two sessions, each lasting three hours. The first of these will start at 1pm to let the first waive of ticket holders in to see for themselves what the excitement is all about, and it will close at 4pm.

Following a break in proceedings to allow the exhibitors to refresh their stalls and themselves, the second session will start at 5pm to a whole new audience.

The day will close at 8pm by which time there will have held a total of 12 masterclasses held.

After a period of sampling and possibly attending a masterclass or two, ticket holders may want to make a purchase.

Spirits by Post will have a sales table at the event with stock to take away.

Being an online retailer, there will be the opportunity to place orders for those who decide not to take their purchases home with them.

To help those making a purchase, a discount voucher will be issued to everyone who attends the event, with £5 off purchases on the day and a further £5 off for those who prefer to make their purchases online after the event has finished.

Charles McLean, who will be taking masterclasses at the event, is a writer, taster and major authority on whisky, who is often described as ‘whisky’s finest guru’.