The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has cemented its position as one of the world’s best-loved whisky events after 24 hours of record-breaking ticket sales. Income increased by over £30,500; 794 additional tickets were snapped up; and 25 more events were sold out on the first day of the Festival programme being launched compared to last year.
Customers from all over the globe, from India to Italy and from Tanzania to Turkey, logged into the Festival website to buy their event tickets at noon on Tuesday (February 7) and in doing so also set a new record for the diversity of customers’ geographic locations recorded in the first 24 hours.
On the day of the website launching, tickets were sold in a total of 24 different countries compared to 22 in 2016, with the majority being for customers within the UK. However, Switzerland and Germany leapfrogged ahead of Scandinavian countries as the next biggest market, with the USA following very closely behind in fourth place.
Festival manager Pery Zakeri says, “After setting new opening day ticket sales records for the last couple of years, we didn’t actually think it was possible to achieve this scale of growth. The level of interest has been phenomenal: as more and more tickets disappeared we couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing before our eyes.
“All credit must go the many event providers for developing such a diverse programme of events that has captured the imagination of the whisky-loving public. I think this success underlines that we are a world-leading event and that for the true devotees – as well as whisky novices – it is a festival that they simply must attend.”
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place in a region of Scotland widely regarded as the spiritual home of Scotch whisky. Situated directly between the cities of Aberdeen and Inverness, Speyside has over half of all the nation’s distilleries and is the base for many high-profile international brands.
This year’s Festival runs from April 27 to May 1 and the programme comprises almost 500 different events. Organisers revealed that a staggering 85 events have already sold out – many of them offering the chance to see inside distilleries that have never before opened to the public or which only run exclusive tours during the Festival.
Ticket sale income generated in the first 24 hours stood at £121,683 and the number of individual tickets sold was 4,185. However, Pery stresses that there are still hundreds of tickets available for unique activities that will only take place during the five days of the Festival.
Pery adds, “We always knew that exclusive behind the scenes tours – and events where people get to meet the key players in the Speyside whisky industry such as master distillers and expert blenders – would prove to be the most popular.
“The limited tickets on offer for many of these events sold out within a matter of hours, but even though there is still an incredibly packed programme to choose from. The Festival is very much the gold standard for whisky connoisseurs, but equally we ensure there is plenty to attract those who are not as knowledgeable about Speyside malts or indeed who have never even tasted whisky.
“We are particularly pleased to see our international market growing. We are unashamedly passionate about our whisky, and for us to share that passion with visitors from so many different countries – as well as home-grown enthusiasts – makes all the effort that goes into organising the Festival so worthwhile.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, says, “It is great to see that tickets are once again selling at record rates for this year's Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Speyside is the perfect stage for hosting this unique festival that attracts people from around the world and EventScotland is proud to be supporting them to once again delivery a fantastic event.”
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 almost 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