You might not have noticed, but last weekend saw World Whisky

Day – but because of lockdown

it was a very different occasion to normal. Here, Eric Campbell, explains how it went

WORLD Whisky Day is a global celebration that encourages people to enjoy a dram and connect with the whisky community. It was founded by whisky writer Blair Bowman in 2012, and traditionally takes the form of a series of events where people can taste, learn, and experiment with whisky in different ways.

We were slightly nervous about how the lack of face-to-face experience would impact the festivities last weekend in what was World Whisky Day’s ninth birthday; of course, it’s often the place and situation where it’s savoured that makes whisky such a special drink for many.

But it was heartening to see international participation was higher than ever – albeit digitally – thanks to the agility of the brands, bars and many others that hosted such fantastic online events.

From traditional tastings, interactive quizzes featuring industry experts, and conversations with the master distillers behind some of the world’s favourite whiskies, thousands participated online. There were even online sporting events being streamed on the day, encouraging people to get together with friends to enjoy with a dram.

It was this diversity and behind-the-scenes insight that helped draw in the crowds and spread the word. The #WorldWhiskyDay hashtag reached 24.4 million people on Instagram and 30m on Twitter. It also trended in countries including the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland and Australia. In the celebration’s history, we’ve never seen this scale of global engagement and it has inspired us to think even bigger for next year.

But it’s not just about the numbers when it comes to illustrating the positivity of this international community. This year, we launched a new nomination-style competition, “#YouDeserveADram’” to encourage people to share their stories and appreciation for the acts of kindness of others. It closed earlier this week with over 1,000 entries, and we’ll share our favourite stories on our website next week.

It’s clear that for Scotch, there isn’t much slowing down. Scotland’s national drink is worth an estimated £5.5 billion to the economy and it draws millions of visitors here every year. But for now, it’s the ability to connect virtually that will help keep the whisky world turning.

Next year will be World Whisky Day’s 10th anniversary and we are making plans to bring the community together in person, as well as online, to explore how this spirit has grown and is celebrated worldwide. Because what’s not to celebrate? Whisky brings people together, wherever they may be. Stay safe, and Slàinte.

Eric Campbell is owner and organiser of World Whisky Day