World Whisky Day 2023: When is it, when was it created and how to celebrate it

World Whisky Day falls this month, and it's a perfect excuse for a dram or two.

Published 14th May 2021
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

This month sees the 11th World Whisky Day being celebrated by fans around the world, but what it is and how did it come about?

World Whisky Day was set up in 2012 by author and consultant Blair Bowman, who, when he was at university, decided to buy the domain name and set up a website that explored our national drink.

This was a time when the industry wasn't as booming as it is now, so it was a bit of a gamble for Blair - but one that has paid off.

When is World Whisky Day 2023?

World Whisky Day falls on the third Saturday in May and this year will be celebrated on Saturday 20 May.

Blair explained that this date made sense at the time, saying: “2012 was to be the year of Scottish food and drink, and May was designated as whisky month, which is still is.

“The Spirit of Speyside Festival is the first weekend and the Islay festival is at the end of the month so it made sense to have World Whisky Day bang in the middle.”

How did World Whisky Day come about?

world whisky day
Wood plays a huge part in the final flavour of the whisky. Picture: Shutterstock

Speaking to The Scotsman's Scran podcast Bowman explained its origins.

He said: “In 2011 I was living in Barcelona and I was very into whisky and had set up a whisky club at Aberdeen University where I was studying.

“Whisky was in a very different place in 2008/2009 when I set up the club but by 2011 I was deeply embedded with being involved in this club and had connected with lots of brands because of this.

“When I was in Barcelona it was World Gin Day and I saw it was a global trending topic on Twitter, which I think was still fairly new back then.

World Dram Day 2024: Date, how to take part and cheap drams - including Macallan, Highland Park and Talisker

"I thought it was an interesting concept that was obviously popular so I wanted to find out when World Whisky Day was.

"I Googled it and couldn’t find anything about it. World Gin Day had a great website with ideas of things to do on the day and places that were celebrating it.

"I typed in ‘world whisky day dot com’ and the domain was available, so I bought it straight away, and then made a very similar kind of simple landing page with a Google map with pins to tell people what we were doing.

"It then just grew very quickly and very organically from there.”

How to celebrate World Whisky Day

For those keen to meet up for a dram, we've picked some whiskies that won't break the bank. We also have a list of the best whisky bars in Scotland, or if you want to make a weekend of it, the top whisky hotels.

Whisky in your diet: Is whisky gluten free, is whisky vegan and how many calories are in whisky?

Here's our pick of the most scenic beer gardens, for al fresco inspiration or if you want to stay at home then why not try one of these whisky cocktails?

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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