This year marked the second ever Scottish Whisky Awards, an event we’re proud to have been a part of since it’s inception. It was a slightly different awards dinner from the usual evening that we have become accustomed as it took the form of a digital awards ceremony. Imagine Microsoft Teams meets MSN Messenger and this was the setup for the this year’s awards.
The Scottish Whisky Awards aims to recognise the efforts of Scotland’s whisky producers by rewarding the people and teams working to deliver the country’s greatest global product.
This year, it involved a scrupulous judging process with a panel of 40 experts and the blind tasting of 155 Scotch whiskies. The event is hosted by KDMedia Ltd who have also established the Scottish Beer Awards under the guidance of the company’s founder Kirsten Speirs. “The independent competition is judged by a panel of experts drawn from across the sector, bringing together industry experience and market knowledge to recognise the greatest achievements in the production of Scotch,” said Mrs Speirs.
This year we sponsored the Community Contribution of the Year award and the honour fell to our Commercial Director Alan Williamson to announce this year’s finalists. “In a year that has been particularly challenging for us all, it was fascinating to read how some of the finalists had responded to the crisis. All of the finalists placed huge emphasis on supporting their respective communities and this year it was more important than ever.”
The winner for Community Contribution of the Year 2020 was awarded to Diageo.
They donated hundreds of thousands of litres of alcohol to make sanitiser for hospitals and distributed their own hand sanitiser to communities around Scotland. Alongside this they provided financial support to the pub and bar communities of which they are a part of with the aim of ensuring they emerge stronger from the crisis.
Despite being a virtual evening this year it was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended and a welcome sight in the calendar.
To read more about the finalists entries in this year’s Community Contribution of the Year Award keep reading below.
Chivas Brothers, the Scotch Whisky business of Pernod Ricard, came to the aid of its community at the height of COVID-19, producing over 160,000 litres of hand sanitiser and making hundreds of contact-free deliveries to distribute it to local health and social care providers and charities.
Chivas Brothers was named NHS Scotland’s first pro-bono hand sanitiser supplier and has received recognition in both Scottish Parliament and Westminster for supporting community groups across Scotland and the national effort more widely in response to COVID-19. All whilst supporting its existing charitable partners here in Scotland and on a global scale.
Distell International Limited
At Deanston Distillery (part of Distell International) we have focused on creating a community spirit which reflects the great whisky we produce. Lockdown resulted in the ceasing of visitor operations.
Our team is committed to help the community for as long as it is possible. For this reason, during these difficult times, the distillery has been working on a number of initiatives to support our community in the UK, that includes providing food to those in need, producing and distributing hand sanitisers to our local NHS hubs, and donating 10% of the sales to The BEN Society.
Diageo is committed to building thriving communities everywhere it operates around the world.
During the COVID19 crisis we have endeavoured to meet the urgent needs of our communities, including: direct financial support to thousands in the bartender community; donating hundreds of thousands of litres of alcohol to make sanitiser for hospitals; distributing tens of thousands of our own hand sanitiser to communities around Scotland; providing millions in financial support to pubs and bars to reopen safely.
Each initiative has been aimed at ensuring the communities of which we are a part emerge stronger from the crisis.
Deeside Distillery were early adopters of hand sanitiser production when Covid-19 hit. We have since produced 2 million litres of hand sanitiser, which has been widely distributed across Scotland.
We successfully campaigned and garnered support from local and national businesses to apply pressure on the government to remove duty costs from the production of hand sanitiser, allowing more distilleries to begin production.
Deeside Distillery partnered with Scottish businesses to create a centralised database of distilleries producing sanitiser in the UK. This allowed organisations, charities and key workers to acquire sanitiser from local producers enabling their teams to operate safely.
Highland Park’s purpose is to honour the proud spirit of Orkney. We place great importance on developing partnerships in our island home to support our community.
Our whisky is a product of our unique environment, from the temperate climate and heather infused peat, to our stories inspired by our Norse ancestry. Scotch Whisky has been made here for more than 221 years. We believe the characteristics of our islands capture the essence of the Orkney motto: ‘The north is our home, the sea is our friend’. Throughout the year we’ve worked with the community to bring that motto to life.
Loch Lomond Group
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Loch Lomond Group have been working hard to produce essential hand sanitiser and have donated over 30,000 bottles to those most in need throughout the local community and wider Scotland, including frontline staff, key workers, care communities and charities.
Additionally, their site in East Ayrshire which has over 100 employees, has developed a well-being initiative to improve the lives of their employees through healthy eating, physical health checks, physical activity, mental health support and increased wellbeing communication on site.