A distillery brand home manager who has been delighting visitors for five years about Benromach Speyside single malt Scotch whisky has become a Keeper of the Quaich at an exclusive ceremony at Blair Castle in Perthshire.
Susan Colville was invited to join the international and select society which recognises those who have shown outstanding commitment to the Scotch whisky industry.
Susan, who was born and raised in Speyside, joined the Forres-based distillery in 2013 to lead a dedicated team of guides who deliver a highly personal and up-close experience to thousands of visitors from all over the world each year.
Throughout 2018, as Benromach celebrates its 20th anniversary since production restarted, Susan has been driving an exciting programme of activity. She began by leading the team that staged the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival opening gala dinner in May and is helping to host colleague and trade events throughout the year.
Susan was thrilled to be honoured by the Keepers of the Quaich She said: “This has been an incredible year at the distillery, and to receive this accolade during our 20th anniversary is particularly special for me.
“As one of only a few distilleries in Scotland where every whisky is handcrafted without any automated equipment, we’ve worked hard to deliver tours and tastings to our visitors that are truly unique. Since 2013, we’ve seen a 40% increase in visitor numbers from across the globe.”
Susan, who lives in Elgin, Speyside with her husband and daughter, was determined to pursue a career in the Scotch whisky industry from an early age having been inspired by her father who worked for over 30 years as a distiller at Glenrothes Distillery.
Beginning her career as a tour guide at Glenfiddich and Glenfarclas Distilleries over the summer holidays, she then moved to Edinburgh to work for Royal Mile Whiskies. With a natural disposition for customer service and a love of Scotch whisky, Susan relished the opportunity to develop her knowledge and hone her sales skills.
Sales and marketing roles with Douglas Laing, AD Rattray, Wemyss and Glenglassaugh saw Susan travel the world, conducting countless masterclasses and tastings to an audience keen to learn and enjoy Scotch whisky.
Susan was acknowledged by her industry peers in 2012 when she was presented with the Young Ambassador of the Year accolade at the Icons of Whisky Awards. Following this recognition, Susan was named Visitor Centre Manager of the year at the World Whiskies Awards in 2015.
The venue for the Keepers of the Quaich ceremony – Blair Castle – is home to the Atholl Highlanders, Europe’s only private army. The banquet is held in the Grand Ballroom of the Castle, famous for its ceiling decorated with 175 deer antlers.
Keith Cruickshank, distillery manager at Benromach, commented: “Susan’s tireless commitment and significant contribution to our wonderful industry makes her an outstanding candidate to become a Keeper of the Quaich.
“She is a terrific ambassador for Scotch malt whisky and is truly deserving of this honour.”
Last month, Benromach Distillery, which attracts more than 13,000 visitors per year achieved its Five Star Visitor Attraction status from VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme.
A ground-breaking initiative to create a new business park to strengthen Scotland’s diverse and world-renowned food and drink sector has hit a key milestone with the announcement that the site is open for occupation.
Perth Food and Drink Park – representing a £5m investment by Perth and Kinross Council – provides up to 11 serviced development plots across a 16 acre high quality and easily accessible site at North Muirton, to the north of the city.
The site has been specifically designed to create a hub for the all aspects of the food and drink industry in Scotland to thrive, and is being seen as having particular appeal to the whisky sector.
Perthshire has a very strong whisky heritage with world-renowned brands such as The Famous Grouse, Bell’s and Dewars all having distillery production in the region.
The Park is aimed at attracting inward investment opportunities as well as creating expansion potential for existing and start-up businesses.
It is predicted the Perth Food and Drink Park – the first dedicated hub of its kind in Scotland – could sustain up to 400 jobs once fully occupied.
Food and drink is one of Scotland’s key growth sectors with ambitions to grow from £13.1Bn today to £16.5Bn by 2017. Within Perth and Kinross, the annual turnover of the food and drink sector is estimated at £280m and there are an estimated 130 companies in the processing sector.
Councillor John Kellas, Convener of Enterprise and Infrastructure Committee at Perth and Kinross Council, said the Park offers a unique opportunity for businesses in the food and drink sector to occupy a fully-flexible, bespoke site to develop or expand their operations, in one of Scotland’s most attractive locations.
He said: “Perthshire has unrivalled heritage and credentials in food and drink, evidenced by the likes of its superb beef, lamb and venison, its soft fruit industry and world-famous whisky distillers, as well as a range of artisan and specialist producers.
“We are passionate about continuing to see the food and drink industry in both Perthshire, and Scotland, thrive.
“We have identified food and drink as an area of outstanding growth and have committed substantial investment into helping businesses in this sector through the creation of Perth Food and Drink Park.
“With Perth Food and Drink Park now ‘open for business’, it’s an unparalleled opportunity for companies to take advantage of creating purpose-built premises while enjoying the benefits of shared business infrastructure and support facilities.
“The Perth Food and Drink Park demonstrates the clear intent to position Perth as the most desirable place to live, work, visit and invest.”
Perth Food and Drink Park offers serviced development plots ranging in size from one acre to three acres – however, there is scope for units to be combined in larger premises – with each site providing medium pressure, HV electricity, superfast broadband, telecoms, water and drainage. Financial incentives are available subject to eligibility.
The Perth Food and Drink Park is located strategically close to the A9 trunk road, with good links to Perth city centre and train station, and only a 45 minute drive from Edinburgh International Airport. With its central location and excellent access, a million people live within an hour’s drive of Perth.
The new Park is in an established business location at North Muirton yet has an attractive semi-rural setting bounded to the north by productive arable land and to the east by the banks of the River Tay which is famed for its salmon fishing.
The marketing for the Perth Food and Drink Park is managed by Perth and Kinross’s global inward investment campaign Invest in Perth, alongside the council’s business development and investment team.
A comprehensive marketing programme – supported by marketing agents GVA James Barr – is being planned to promote Perth Food and Drink Park nationally and globally, including through the Scottish Cities Alliance and attendance at key industry events and exhibitions.
For more information, view www.perthfoodanddrinkpark.co.uk.
Issued on behalf of Invest in Perth by Holyrood Partnership.
For more information contact Brian Lewis/Chris Fairbairn on 0131 561 2244 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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