Glen Scotia Distillery Collaborates with Document Scotland to Capture Whisky History – Scotch Whisky News

Glen Scotia Distillery Collaborates with Document Scotland

to Capture Whisky History

Photographic Exhibition Unveiled as part of Glen Scotia Virtual Malts Festival 

A photographic exhibition showcasing the history and heritage of Campbeltown has been unveiled today (7 June 2021) as part of the Glen Scotia Virtual Malts Festival 2021.

Campbeltown was the whisky capital of the world in the Victorian era and as one of only three surviving single malt whisky distilleries located there today, Glen Scotia has collaborated with Document Scotland to shine a spotlight on the town’s whisky-making legacy.

• credit ©2020 Sophie Gerrard/Document Scotland • caption – A Hidden Gem – Iain McAlister, Distillery Manager & Master Distiller at Glen Scotia Distillery, on Dalintober beach, Campbeltown in the early morning with his dog, Troy

A collective of three Scottish documentary photographers, Document Scotland share a vision to witness and photograph the important and diverse stories in Scotland. Through the partnership with Glen Scotia, Sophie Gerrard, Colin McPherson and Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert have captured modern-day photography of Campbeltown by exploring the themes of People, Place and Process, to tell the story of Glen Scotia and Scotland’s fifth malt-producing region.

Combined with historic photography of the distillery and the region, these captivating images from the past and the present are featured in an interactive online gallery to celebrate Campbeltown’s contribution to Scotch and uncover Glen Scotia’s long, rich history.

Iain McAlister, Master Distiller and Distillery Manager at Glen Scotia, said: “Since 1832, Glen Scotia has been shaped by the people, time and events; as well as the history of Campbeltown itself, and this remarkable Document Scotland photographic exhibition brings our unique whisky history and heritage to life. Our single malt reflects centuries of craftsmanship and experience associated with the region and is renowned for its Campbeltown character.” 

• credit ©2020 Sophie Gerrard/Document Scotland • caption – The Long Wait – Glen Scotia Distillery worker, Archie MacBrayne in a warehouse at the distillery, where the precious single malt whiskies mature until peak perfection.

Photographer Sophie Gerrard focused on the ‘People’ who could tell the story of whisky in Campbeltown. From those who work at Glen Scotia to the farmer who collects the draff to feed his cattle, and from those descended from the ‘big three’ whisky families of history to the new generation of young people making their lives and livelihoods from whisky in Campbeltown. Using her method of environmental portraiture, she photographed these people in their homes, at the distillery and in the hills and streets around the town, each of them connected in some way to the unique heritage of Campbeltown.

Sophie said: “As a photographer I’m always interested in the people behind the story and for this project to make a series of photographic works about Glen Scotia and the unique story of whisky in Campbeltown, I turned to the individuals which make this whisky so special. Each character has an individual story and a distinct connection to the past and the future of whisky in Campbeltown.”

• credit ©2020 Colin McPherson/Document Scotland • caption – An Eternal Mark – A wooden door on a mothballed distillery building on Glebe Street exposes the enduring remnants the industry has left on the town that was once the ‘whisky capital of the world’, due to the immense number of distilleries that were located there

Photographer Colin McPherson captured the theme of ‘Place’ around Campbeltown, taking his inspiration from the connections between the town today and its past. He looked for remnants of the ‘Whiskyopolis’ boomtown of old and set these in the context of modern-day Campbeltown, using the intense colours and light presented so dramatically by an Argyll winter and the town’s architecture to make a series of images which transcend time.

Colin said: “Campbeltown has a special connection with whisky distilling, and it was fascinating to see so many traces of ‘Whiskyopolis’ – from disused warehouses, old gates and fences to buildings which are now used for other purposes. There is still a distinctive atmosphere in Campbeltown, one which evokes the past. A lot of this comes from the Glen Scotia Distillery, which is a living and breathing reminder of the town’s heritage, but one which is very important to its status today and for the future.”

• credit ©2020 Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Document Scotland • caption – A Handcrafted Process – Gareth Parker, Stillman, polishes the spirit safe in the stillroom at Glen Scotia Distillery.

Photographer Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert captured the daily lives of Glen Scotia employees and the patient ‘Process’ of distilling new-make spirit to fill into casks. His photographs illustrate the passion and human touch of the men and women for their craft, their immediate environment, the spirit and the all-important casks, which all bring unique ingredients, vital elements and distinctive flavour to the final whiskies.

Jeremy said: “As photographers we are passionate about our craft, waiting for the right light, looking for the perfect angle and bringing years of experience to every photograph we take, even though it may only be a fleeting moment we capture. This is mirrored at Glen Scotia and we found a perfect partner in the distillery, where Iain McAlister and his team bring passion and years of experience to their craft, to create exquisite single malts. This collaboration is a meeting of minds between two teams of modern Scottish craftspeople, aware of their place in contemporary Scotland, but also of the history that has gone before them.”

• credit ©2020 Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Document Scotland • caption – A Cathedral to Whisky – Iain McAlister, Distillery Manager & Master Distiller tours the bonded warehouse at Glen Scotia Distillery where the sleeping casks quietly mature under his watchful eye.

Campbeltown was once known as ‘Spiritville’ or ‘Whiskyopolis’ and at its peak in the Victorian era, there were around 30 legal distilleries operating in a town with a population of only 9,000. The unique photographic exhibition forms part of this year’s Glen Scotia Virtual Malts Festival, which will welcome thousands of whisky fans from across the globe to experience a range of online tours and tastings from the distillery.

Glen Scotia 25 Years Old single malt was recognised as the ‘Best in Show Whisky’ at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition, with judges awarding it as the overall winner of the competition, and therefore the best whisky in the world in 2021.

For further information about Glen Scotia and to view the photography exhibition, visit

About Glen Scotia

  • Independent distiller Glen Scotia has been producing single malt whisky in Campbeltown since 1832.
  • Glen Scotia is one of three surviving distilleries in Campbeltown.
  • Glen Scotia 25 Years Old Single Malt Scotch whisky was awarded the coveted Best in Show Whisky award at the prestigious 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, making it the overall winner of the competition and therefore the best whisky in the world in 2021.
  • Glen Scotia Double Cask was awarded a Gold Medal at the Scottish Whisky Awards 2019 and a Gold medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Glen Scotia 18 Years Old won Best Campbeltown Malt at the World Whisky Awards 2018, a Double Gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a Gold medal at the Scotch Whisky Masters 2020.
  • Glen Scotia 15 Years OId received a Gold medal at the Scotch Whisky Masters 2020 and a Gold medal at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Images and interviews with Glen Scotia are available upon request.

About Document Scotland

Formed in 2012, Document Scotland is a collective of three Scottish documentary photographers brought together by a common vision to witness and photograph the important and diverse stories within Scotland at one of the most important times in the nation’s history.

Colin McPherson, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Sophie Gerrard are passionate about documentary photography and passionate about Scotland. They spend time working on individual projects, which are shared and showcased through the Document Scotland website and they also collaborate with other photographers to promote their work, and accept commissions and assignments in Scotland.

Document Scotland has been on an incredible journey for almost a decade, capturing photography, creating publications and staging and featuring in exhibitions around Scotland, the UK and Europe. They are committed to documenting Scotland through photography and are continuing their journey to making, exhibiting, publishing and sharing their work and that of fellow photographers in Scotland.

Sophie Gerrard began her career in environmental sciences before studying photography in her hometown at Edinburgh College of Art and completing an MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at The London College of Communication in 2006. Working regularly for clients such as The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Financial Times Magazine, The Independent and The Telegraph Saturday Magazine, as well as on long-term self-initiated projects, she pursues contemporary stories with environmental and social themes. A recipient of several awards, Sophie’s work has been exhibited and published in the UK and overseas and is held in a number of national and private collections. She is represented by The Photographers’ Gallery in London.

Colin McPherson was born in Edinburgh and has been photographing in Scotland and abroad for the last three decades. He undertakes long-term projects alongside commissions and assignments for a number of newspapers and magazines and is represented by Getty Images. Colin’s work is published internationally and held in archives and collections such as the Scottish national photographic archive and the St. Andrews University Library’s Special Collections. His photography has been featured in more than 30 solo and group exhibitions.

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert grew up in Scotland, where on his 13th birthday he received the gift of a camera. A few years later, he became a freelance photographer for editorial, corporate and NGO clients and his work has since appeared in magazines such as Time, National Geographic, Italian Geo, Le Figaro, The Guardian, The Sunday Times. Jeremy’s work for editorial and corporate clients has taken him to over 100 countries around the world and his personal and commissioned work, for which he has been the recipient of photojournalism awards, has been widely published and exhibited in Europe, Asia and the USA.

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