Organisers of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival are in high spirits after witnessing the busiest 24 hour period after launching the programme of events since the Festival began thirteen years ago.

Whisky enthusiasts worldwide wasted no time accessing the Festival’s website when it went live at 19.00 on Saturday, 21st January and within 12 hours, 33 of the 300 events were sold out, including the exclusive Opening Dinner which is being held at The Macallan Distillery this year.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, running from 3rd-7th May, has grown in stature year on year to become one of the most important whisky festivals in the world and one of the key festivals on the Scottish events calendar.

Mary Hemsworth, Festival Manager said that everyone was thrilled with the response to this year’s line up of events, but that there were still plenty of outstanding and quality events for visitors to book.

She commented: “Ticket sales for the first day were in excess of £50,000 with three months still to go until the Festival itself. It’s also encouraging to see that thousands of our whisky fans are keeping up-to-date with the Festival via Facebook and Twitter – they’ll be the first to know of any new events that are added to the programme, and any key announcements we may make over the coming months.”

The most popular events included exclusive tours of distilleries not normally open to the public, ‘ultimate’ tours of some of the finest whisky distilleries in the world, whisky and food pairing workshops, the intriguing Mystery Bus Tour of Speyside, a tour around the five distilleries of Elgin and the popular Seven Stills Bus Tour.

Visitors to the Festival will be coming from as far afield as Japan, Australia, Russia, South Africa, Canada and the USA with the majority making the journey from closer shores such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany and the UK.

Festival goers from across the globe come to Speyside for the authentic whisky experience in Malt Whisky Country where they are treated to a selection of events that showcase the true spirit of Speyside, with workshops, tutorials, tours, instruction, nosings and tastings on offer from some of the industry’s top experts – from blenders to coopers and mashmen to managers. And there are opportunities to delight in the dram in superlative surroundings – at the top of a mountain or on a train, straight from the cask or in the shadow of a historic castle.

Exclusive tours can be booked at distilleries usually closed to the public – including Glen Elgin, Glenlossie and Mannochmore, Glen Spey, Speyburn and Glenrothes – and visitors can enjoy a dram alongside some of the region’s award-winning produce at whisky and food pairing workshops and on the popular Whisky and Food Tours. This year sees the introduction of a Ceilidh Trail, and the Festival atmosphere will be buzzing with the sound of local bands playing in many of the area’s hotels, bars and traditional pubs.

Mary continued: “Speyside and the wider area benefit greatly from the Whisky Festival each year, both in terms of reputation and financially. So it’s important that we offer a strong line up of events to encourage visitors to return year after year to share their passion for the world’s finest whiskies, and to appeal to new visitors to come and experience Malt Whisky country and the Whisky Festival for themselves.

“From the response we’ve seen in these first few days we will be welcoming the usual big crowds, but hopefully this may be the best attended and finest Festival yet.”

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