Scottish government backs whisky scheme10th May, 2012 by Gabriel Savage
A series of whisky training days for the UK on-trade launches this month thanks to backing from the Scottish government and tourism agency VisitScotland.
Set up earlier this year, The Whisky Ambassador programme has the combined aim of educating on-trade staff about the different styles of Scotch whisky as well as the product’s heritage and distillery information.
Through these twin approaches, the programme hopes to encourage trading up among customers by fostering a “Drink Less Drink Better” attitude, while promoting distilleries as tourist destinations.
At a time when the Scotch whisky industry is seeing impressive growth, there are signs of increasing consumer interest in discovering more about the drink. Between 2008 and 2010 Diageo alone reported a 20% footfall uplift across its 12 visitor centres to 210,000 people.
“There are some excellent whisky bars but so many people even in high end bars and hotels know very little about our national drink,” remarked Victoria Brierley, co-founder of The Whisky Ambassador, observing: “That’s seriously bad for the trade.
“Bar staff should be able to talk about what whisky is, the colour, the age, the peatiness, the sweetness, and how it has come to find its way into bars all over the world,” Brierley continued.
The programme, which is both ILA Scotland and BIIAB accredited, so far includes sessions in Edinburgh (11 and 15 May), Manchester (11 June), Perthshire (12 June), St Andrews (19 June), Oban (26 June) and Ayrshire (3 July).
The ILA Scotland accreditation means that on-trade employees earning £22,000 per year or less will qualify for funding assistance towards these day-long courses, which cost £200 per person.