Dear All,

As the year is coming to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for being a member of The Scottish Distillers Association. It is wonderful to see such a variety of Scottish spirits being produced, I am proud that as an association we represent distillers of whisky, gin, vodka, rum and even absinthe!

2018 has seen some significant changes in the Association; it is now supported by Scotland Food& Drink (and members benefit from all SF&D services, as well as our own) and we’ve emerged with a re-brand, along with a clear direction and definitive goals for the future.

With the main focus being to ‘protect Scottish’, we have worked hard to develop the website,and progress the accreditation scheme for distillers and their products, which we will promote going forward. As part of this, a new accreditation marque has been launched and will be used to help those within the trade and consumers make educated and well-informed decisions when buying Scottish spirits.

In late September we welcomed Emma O’Bryen, who has taken on the role of Business Development Manager for the Scottish Distillers Association. Emma comes from a distillery background and for those who haven’t yet met her, she will be getting in touch in due course to learn more about your distillery and update you with ongoing progress.

As we look to the year ahead, the board will continue to work closely with Scotland Food & Drink to ensure that Scottish Distillers Association members are supported and well equipped to grow within the drinks industry whatever stage business is at. The overall spirits sector has seen significant growth in2018 in both the UK and export markets, and predictions suggest that sales will continue to grow in 2019. We hope that by creating a transparent and fair platform, we can champion Scottish spirits and create a community for distillers to share and learn from each other during this important time.

Next year we intend to build upon our previous success with a programme of key events. The next board meeting will be held on Wednesday 6th March 2019 (venue tbc). The Board has already identified the need to reflect the changing membership within the Board itself and invites any interested party who would like to be considered to make themselves known and/or to attend the next meeting without any commitment either way.

My Christmas wish; In 2019, I hope you will join me in encouraging other Scottish distillers who fulfil our criteria, to join the Scottish Distillers Association as we accelerate our growth trajectory within the modern distilling industry.

I hope you all have a successful festive period and enjoy a well-earned break at some stage over Christmas and New Year!

Wishing you all the very best for 2019,

Alan Wolstenholme