Spirits are high following the success of this month’s inaugural Fife Whisky Festival – so much so it’s set to become an annual event.
Organisers Justine Hazlehurst and Karen Somerville announced the move after the festival – opened by Scottish cycling legend Mark Beaumont – was praised for boosting the local economy.
More than 500 whisky-lovers from across Scotland, and as far afield as Argentina and Germany, attended tasting sessions held at the Corn Exchange in Cupar.
They enjoyed drams from a wide range of distilleries and independent bottlers, music from Fife-based duo The Coaltown Daisies and the chance to chat with guest of honour Mr Beaumont.
Mrs Somerville said: “It was a brilliant day and given all the positive feedback we’ve decided to make it an annual event.
“We had visitors from Argentina, France and Germany who were in Scotland on holiday and made the trip to Fife specially to visit the festival.
“And it was great to have Mark there – he really enjoyed the festival and ended up meeting some of his old school friends.
“We’re delighted with how the day went and looking forward to doing it all again next year.”
Cupar councillor Karen Marjoram praised the event for boosting the local economy.
She said: “I very much enjoyed the day – it was such a friendly event with people who’d never met before chatting away to each other.
“It certainly put Cupar on the map.
“It was a real boost to the economy and wonderful to see the town so busy with the shops and restaurants full of people who stayed to see more of Cupar after their whisky session.
“I met people who had travelled a long way to come to Cupar and bringing the tourist pound to Fife in this way was a great bonus.
“With all the new distilleries in Fife, having the festival helps put the region on the whisky map so I’m pleased it’s becoming an annual event.”
Endurance cyclist Mr Beaumont also welcomed the news.
He said: “This is a fantastic event for Fife and having partly grown up in the Kingdom I am proud of all it has to offer.
“This festival and events like it are so important in putting Fife firms on the map for travel and business.”
The inaugural festival was launched by businesswomen Justine Hazlehurst, founder of Kask Whisky, and Karen Somerville, managing director of Angels’ Share Glass.
They joined forces to organise the festival in a bid to bring whisky back to the Kingdom of Fife.
Ms Hazlehurst said: “After years of attending whisky festivals around the world, we wanted the chance to bring an exciting new event to Scotland and are over the moon with how it went.
“People loved it and were asking when the next one will be held so we are pleased to announce it will be an annual event.”
The festival, sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, showcased the renaissance of whisky-making in Fife with exhibitors including the Kingdom’s well-known Kingsbarns Distillery, Creative Whisky Company, Glen Moray and Isle of Arran Distillers.
Nearly 300 whisky-lovers attended the first session with 250 at the second taster, while drinks specialists Luvians, who have bottleshops in Cupar and St Andrews, were on hand as on-site retailer.
Graeme Dempster, from Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, said: “We were delighted to support the inaugural Fife Whisky Festival and having our corporate ambassador Mark Beaumont there to open the event was particularly special.
“As well as great entertainment, it was a chance for us to meet our existing distillery clients and talk to owners of private whisky collections who were there to support this exciting new event.”
Plans for the second Fife Whisky Festival will get underway later this month with dates for the next event announced soon.
For more details about the Fife Whiskly Festival visit www.fifewhiskyfestival.com.