World Whisky Day, a truly global celebration of whisky in all its forms, was toasted in more countries than ever before and even conquered Antarctica this year.

For the first time World Whisky Day, which was set up by an Aberdeen University student, was celebrated with events on all seven continents, including the most inhospitable place on Earth – Antarctica.

Tens of thousands of whisky fans all over the world raised a dram on Saturday May 16 with more than 160 events registered in 46 different countries.

In Antarctica, researchers from the Australian Antarctic Division held a celebratory whisky tasting session just over 9,500 miles from World WhiskyDay’s Edinburgh HQ, at Davis Station in the east of the continent and another at Mawson Station. The Davis Station expedition team brought some ‘liquid sunshine’ to the permanently dark Antarctic winter by sampling a variety ofwhiskies from their personal collections.

Even superstar, and Haig Club ambassador, David Beckham got in on the act appearing on US TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live! in celebration of World WhiskyDay and taking an ‘ugly selfie’ which went viral.

World Whisky Day Founder, Blair Bowman, said: “World Whisky Day just keeps getting bigger and better. To see it grow from a simple idea to something which has spread across all seven continents and is bringing together thousands of people to celebrate whisky is such a thrill. I wish everyone a great World Whisky Day, whatever you have planned. We’re going to have to work hard to top this next year – now space is the final frontier for World Whisky Day!”

Original founder Blair Bowman with new WWD owner, Fraser Allen, the CEO of White Light Media.

Original founder Blair Bowman with new WWD owner, Fraser Allen, the CEO of White Light Media

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added her support saying: “It’s great to see an iconic Scottish product bringing so many people around the world together.”

Other highlights included:

  • Events at sea, in distilleries, bars and homes from Bali to Colombia and from South Korea to Nigeria
  • Massive activity on social media. More than 3,000 uses of #WorldWhiskyDay in 24 hours resulting in 9 million timeline impressions
  • Our most isolated event on the sub-Antarctic Tasmanian territory Macquarie Island (1,000 miles southwest of Tasmania and 2,300 miles north of Antarctica), where the winter population of 13 will celebrate in style at their Macca Mash Tun event
  • In Scotland, around 300 hardy whisky fans will enjoy a tasting 2,000 feet up Aonach Mor.

World Whisky Day, which is run by drinks magazine Hot Rum Cow, has been well supported by the Scottish Government since its launch in 2012. Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, said: “Like Scotch Whisky, World Whisky Day is going from strength to strength across the globe. It’s great news that one of our most iconic drinks will be celebrated in so many different and unusual places.”

A motion supporting the event with cross-party backing is expected to go through the Scottish Parliament next week describing World Whisky Day as “an amazing opportunity to highlight and promote Scotland’s national drink.”

2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink (a Scottish Government initiative led by EventScotland, VisitScotland and Scotland Food & Drink) and May is Whisky Month.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “Whisky is one of Scotland’s most valuable commodities, with visitors from across the globe coming to our shores to experience an authentic Scottish dram. WorldWhisky Day is a fantastic initiative and a chance for novices and enthusiasts everywhere to raise a glass to Scotland’s national drink.

“Widening the appeal of whisky is important if we want to encourage more visitors to come to Scotland, particularly during the Year of Food and Drink 2015. Events are a key part of that and I hope this year’s Whisky Month celebrations, of which World Whisky Day is a key part, inspires Scots and visitors to Scotland to come and discover more about one of our most famous exports.”

James Wither, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “I am delighted that World Whisky Day has once again been a success, each year the celebration goes from strength to strength. With 2015 being Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and May being Whisky Month, World Whisky Daycontinues to be a great platform to highlight and promote Scotland’s iconic national drink, our culture and our traditions throughout the world.”

About The Author

Sean Murphy

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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