On your marks, get set, go – scramble expected as exclusive tickets for Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival go on sale

Tickets for the 2017 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival will go on sale next week – and organisers expect a scramble for a handful of exclusive tickets that will allow visitors to enter the doors of distilleries which have never before opened to the public.

It is anticipated that tickets for tours of Speyburn, Knockdu and Balmenach distilleries – all taking part in the Festival for the very first time – will sell out within a matter of hours when the event website opens for business on February 7.

In previous years, whisky connoisseurs from the UK and overseas have jumped at the chance to step inside distilleries which are only open during the Festival and tick another visit off their ‘bucket list’.

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival manager Pery Zakeri says she expects many hot tickets to disappear within hours of going on sale on Tuesday.

She adds, “If you are a real whisky enthusiast then you will understand and appreciate just how special it is to be able to access these distilleries, and it is why tickets for these events sell out so quickly.

“It is almost like belonging to a small and exclusive club because so few people can say that they have stepped across the threshold. For those who are truly passionate about Speyside whisky, being able to say they have visited somewhere only a handful of other people have been is like wearing a badge of honour."

Visitors will have the opportunity to plan their visit and draw up a hit list of events they want to attend today (Thursday, February 2) when the programme for the Festival is revealed at www.spiritofspeyside.com.

Tickets will go on sale a few days later at 12 noon on February 7. The time has been selected so that people across different time zones have an equal chance to get their hands on the most popular tickets.

However, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival offers more than just distillery tours that will appeal to die-hard whisky fans. The programme has been designed to appeal for everyone from connoisseurs to those with a curious interest in Speyside whisky – and it’s possible to visit without touching a drop of the region’s most famous export.

During the five-day event, visitors will have the opportunity to go take part in whisky tastings and nosings, learn how to match the amber nectar with food, enjoy Scottish traditional and contemporary music, take tours of whisky country on foot, by road, by rail and even by canoe, and enjoy fun activities like glass blowing and whisky tumbler carving.

Festival chairman James Campbell says, “For years Speyside has been a bit of a hidden gem, but we now welcome visitors from all over the world and a huge number travel to the event from outside Scotland.

“We’ve previously welcomed visitors from Australia, North America, South America, Africa and Asia as well as Europe and we are standing by to see yet another increase in international guests when the tickets go on sale on Tuesday.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, says, “The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is a fantastic event, attracting people from all over the world. Whether you’re a connoisseur or just discovering the delights of Scotland’s national drink, the Festival offers everyone an exciting and innovative programme of events to enjoy.

“EventScotland is delighted to again be supporting the Festival, which is the perfect stage for celebrating whisky and the cultural heritage of Speyside.”

Based in the heart of Scotland’s malt whisky country, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place over five fun-filled days from April 27 to May 1, 2017. It comprises over 500 events, taking place from Kingussie in the south to Forres in the west and Buckie in the east.

More information about the event is available at www.spiritofspeyside.com and tickets are also available to buy on the website. The Festival is active on social media – facebook.com/WhiskyFestival and @spirit_speyside on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #dram17.

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