The Scottish National Whisky Festival will return to its “spiritual home” of Glasgow next week, with hundreds of exhibitors scheduled to attend. 

A jam-packed programme kicking off at 12pm on Saturday, January 27 includes cocktail pop-ups and the opportunity to sample over a hundred different whiskies from "delicate and approachable malts to peat-powered favourites". 

Speaking ahead of the event at SWG3, festival co-ordinator Gareth Croll has said that performances from the country’s leading musicians are set to be equally as enticing as the vast selection of drams being poured. 

The Herald: The Scottish National Whisky Festival is part of the world-renowned Celtic Connections festivalThe Scottish National Whisky Festival is part of the world-renowned Celtic Connections festival (Image: Finlay Mackintosh)

 “We originated in Glasgow as part of the world-renowned Celtic Connections festival, so it’s our flagship event. 

“We’re a bunch of whisky and music industry professionals and our core ethos has always been to bridge the gap between the two. 

“Both industries are so prevalent in Scotland and wider Celtic culture, so every decision we make for the festival centres on how we are going to exemplify that.” 

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Split into two sessions and promising ticket-holders a “deep-dive” into the modern world of spirits, a key challenge for the team is paying tribute to whisky’s historic and cultural roots in Scotland while also providing a showcase for the mavericks and innovators who are appealing to a new generation of enthusiasts. 

“There’s always a hugely diverse crowd at each of the events with people of all ages and different backgrounds. 

“Atmosphere is paramount, and I spend a lot of time trying to create an environment that goes beyond what people might expect. 

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m based in Glasgow and hang around in a lot of the city’s institutional whisky bars, but our festival doesn’t necessarily stick to that traditional small pub and trad session kind of feel. 

“We're forward thinking and thanks to our connections to the music industry, we approach each whisky festival as we would a rock and roll gig."

The Herald: Co-ordinator Gareth Croll has said the event is 'not what you might expect from a whisky festival'Co-ordinator Gareth Croll has said the event is 'not what you might expect from a whisky festival' (Image: Finlay Mackintosh)

Dedication to curating an unforgettable experience goes further still, with no two editions of the festival across Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow the same. 

“We don’t start out with one concept and apply it to each of our events. 

“Each city has its own identity and characteristics and I enjoy styling the festivals around the local people and cultures. 

“What’s more, we work with the distilleries that are based in each region and the sense of individuality this creates really speaks for the incredible range of whisky that is available in Scotland at the moment. 

“The Glasgow event is where we tend to really go for it and with one week to go it's looking like it will be bigger and better than ever.” 

A glance over the line up bodes well for this prediction, with celebrated Scottish musicians hand selected by Donald Shaw of Capercaillie fame including the Alana MacInnes Trio, Breanna Wilson, the Tom Callister Duo and Jose Manuel Tejedor. 

The Herald: Donald Shaw of Capercaillie fame has curated the programme of musicDonald Shaw of Capercaillie fame has curated the programme of music (Image: Finlay Mackintosh)

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Southside deli favourites Starter Culture will be at hand to take care of the food, while over on the bar will be award-winning East End team, The Gate. 

However, following a recent report showing that the Scottish Whisky had contributed a staggering £7.1bn to the UK economy in 2022, Croll is perhaps most eager to gather a collection of world-famous distillers and industry professionals under the roof of SWG3 once more. 

“The reason that I’ve positioned myself in the events side of the whisky industry as opposed to being a distiller or anything along those lines is because I want to be able to put on exhibitions or festivals that show just how far-reaching whisky is in our modern-day culture. 

“It’s mind-blowing when you start to think of the impact it has on everything from tourism to arts or even manufacturing businesses. 

“Its influence is profound, and we’ve got to support and nurture that. 

“While celebrating it with a good dram or two, of course.” 

The Scottish National Whisky Festival will take place at SWG3 in Glasgow on Saturday, January 27. 

For more information or to book tickets now click here.