World Whisky Day founder raises £10k for charity with distillery dash 

World Whisky Day founder Blair Bowman has raised £10,755 for water charity Just A Drop, visiting 60 whisky distilleries in one day and setting a new record. 

Published 7th Jun 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Accompanied by Bella Mytton-Mills, who works for the charity, ­Bowman and his team set off at ­sunrise from Balblair distillery in Ross-shire before finishing 17 hours later at sunset at Aberfeldy distillery in Perthshire.

As part of The Great Distillery Challenge, Bowman not only smashed the world record for the number visited in one day but also managed to collect bottles of whisky from all 55 of the distilleries which bottle their own products.

World Whisky Day
Blair celebrates getting to the finish line.

This formed a collection which was then offered as the main prize in a ­raffle, with profits raising much-needed funds for the charity’s work in Zambia.

The lucky winners of the raffle were then drawn on Friday (2nd June) with Mike Jackson from Salisbury taking home the grand prize.

Challenge Bottle Collection
Picture: World Whisky Day

Bowman said: “It was an incredible event. As far as we are aware, no one has even attempted to set a record like this before and, despite meticulous planning, there was always a risk that we might not get to all 60 of the distilleries on the day.

“We couldn’t afford for a single thing to go wrong. It just needed a few tractors or caravans to hold us up and we would have been under pressure.”

Bella Mytton-Mills added: “I ­wondered whether this would even be possible considering the number of miles we would be driving across the Scottish countryside. It was a long day but it was fantastic to be part of the distillery challenge team.”

The idea for the challenge came from Willie Wallace, who has been running whisky tours in Scotland for 20 years.

He said: “It’s been many years in the planning. With the amazing ­support of the distillers and our ­other ­sponsors, we can hopefully make a difference to the fantastic work of Just a Drop. We certainly had fun along the way on the day.”

Fiona Jeffery OBE, founder and chairman of Just a Drop, added: “The money raised, an incredible £10,755, can support a whole community in Zambia by providing access to one of life’s absolute necessities: a supply of clean water, which empowers ­people to lead healthier, safer and more ­productive lives.”

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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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