Tragic passing of legendary Speyside landlord set to leave huge hole in community

Speyside residents and members of the whisky community have taken to social media to pay tribute to landlord Joe Brandie following his death at the age of 88.

Published 25th Sep 2017
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Considered to be a legend within the local community - and further afield - Mr Brandie had served drinks at the Fiddichside Inn in Craigellachie for almost 60 years, having first taken a shift in 1959.

A well known face, Mr Brandie worked there with his late wife Dorothy, whose family had owned the little riverside pub since first buying it in 1919.

So dedicated was he to the bar, that the only time the licensee took off from manning the pub was to mourn the passing of his wife in 2009.

More recently, concerns for his health were raised after he was forced to take another period of time off work due to illness.

Remarkably, these are the only two recorded instances of Mr Brandie taking a break from serving customers.

Picture: Julia Fletcher Smith

Considered to be one of the area's most famous traditional pubs, tourists and residents alike flocked to the Fiddichside to be served by Mr Brandie and to hear his stories of his previous jobs as a cooper and a ghillie on the Spey, as well as to receive some of his renowned hospitality.

The Inn, which sits on the bank of the River Spey, was famous for its welcoming and friendly atmosphere and was built in 1840 as a meeting house for the men working on the nearby railwayline.

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Picture: JFS

Tributes continued to pour in from around the world following the news of Mr Brandie's death with two of the area's best known politicians, Angus Robertson and Richard Lochhead, taking to Twitter yesterday to pay their respects.

While on Facebook, Craigellachie Village Council posted: "It is with great saddness we learnt that Joe from the Fiddichside Inn passed away this morning.

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"This will be a huge loss not only to the village of Craigellachie, but also to the wider community and beyond. He was famed the world over and both Joe and his late wife Dorothy, along with their iconic wee pub should be classed as national treasures. Such a lovely man who will be sorely missed by many."

MSP Richard Lochhead added: "Joe Brandie was a one off - a very special man who was a much loved character throughout Speyside.

"Enjoying a dram at the Fiddichside Inn was unique and memorable experience due in no small part to Joe's presence over many decades.

"The loss of the lovely friendly man that was Joe marks the end of an era."

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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