Speyside Distillery – home to the SPEY Whisky and Beinn Dubh brands – has picked up two awards in the Highland Business Awards. (Friday, September 30). The boutique distillery was named exporter of the year and Cairngorms business of the year at the awards ceremony, which recognises the best of the region’s entrepreneurial talent.
Judges were impressed with the distillery’s recent growth into new international regions with both of its brands, and the effort it is making in putting the Cairngorms on the worldwide map with the introduction last year of Beinn Dubh.
Beinn Dubh, which is ruby-black in colour, is the Gaelic for Ben Macdui – the highest peak in the Cairngorm mountain range – and was inspired by tales of dark, mythical figures seen on the black mountain.
Since launching in August last year, Beinn Dubh has performed strongly in Europe and has achieved sales figures over 1,000% above initial projections. Part of this unprecedented demand is the result of an agreement to produce Beinn Dubh under license for the National Railway Museum in York to commemorate the full restoration of The Flying Scotsman steam locomotive.
SPEY continues to be one of the top-selling whisky brands in Taiwan, where chief executive officer John Harvey McDonough set up a base in the 1990s. He moved to the Cairngorms following the purchase of Speyside Distillery by his firm, Harvey’s of Edinburgh, in 2012.
The luxury single malt is now available in 28 different geographic regions – an increase of eight over the past 12 months – and continues to be one of the top five best-selling single malts in Taiwan despite an ever-crowded market place for Scotch whisky in Asia.
Mr McDonough says being honoured in the Highland Business Awards is one of the key achievements for Speyside Distillery in the past year. The distillery picked up the Cairngorm business of the year title in 2015, but a second win – and a second award – took him by surprise.
He adds, “We are truly honoured to have been recognised not once, but twice for the contribution we are making to the economy of the Highlands.
“These awards are very much for the whole team at Speyside Distillery as they recognise the commitment being made to getting our product out to whisky lovers around the world.
“We will never be able to compete with the global giants in terms of sales figures as we do not have that kind of production capacity, but we are entirely content with that.
“We put our hearts and souls into creating a boutique product, and I think the fact that we only produce in limited quantities is part of the appeal of whisky made by Speyside Distillery.”
“We are looking forward to a very busy 12 months ahead, with plans to enter even more new markets and increase the level of sales coming from outside our primary market in Taiwan.”