James Campbell, Chairman at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, said: “Given whisky lovers won’t be able to come to Speyside for our annual festival this April, we have decided to take the festival to them until it is safe for visitors to return to Malt Whisky Country hopefully later in the year.

We can’t wait to welcome new and returning visitors from the UK and further afield to this beautiful part of the world. In the meantime, we hope that our online programme of events in April will lift everyone’s spirits and give people a taste of what to expect from the festival in November. We will then revert back to our traditional date in 2022.”

Home to the highest concentration of distilleries of all whisky regions in the world, Speyside also produces the largest volume of whisky and contributes significantly to the sector that is worth £130 million to the region’s economy.

The idea for a festival began when a few distillers decided to give something back to the local community and showcase not just the whisky but what the area had to offer.

There had been high hopes for the 2020 season coming off the back of record-breaking years in terms of growth for the distillers in the area for 2018 and 2019.

Spirit of Speyside Festival to go virtual but with hopes of an event in November

Spirit of Speyside Festival to go virtual but with hopes of an event in November

The virtual festival will go ahead in April

Highlights of the festival in 2019, its 20th anniversary included a blending masterclass at GlenAllachie Distillery in Aberlour, the Whisky Awards Ceilidh and the Speyside trail run along with riverside tasting.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said she was pleased to hear one of the regions most popular events was going ahead in a slightly different form.

Ms Robinson said: “This continues to be an incredibly challenging time for Scotland’s tourism and events industry. I applaud the organisers of the Spirit of Speyside for their creativity and commitment to ensuring that virtual visitors can still celebrate our national tipple and learn about the region’s world famous whisky products and experiences. I wish the event the best of luck and will remain hopeful that a full festival can take place safely later this year, should restrictions allow. Whisky tourism is an important part of Moray’s offering and this new online festival will help whet the appetite of whisky lovers far and wide until travel is possible once again.”

Iain Allan, Board Member of The Malt Whisky Trail and Glen Moray Visitor Centre Manager, said: “We are really looking forward to hosting our virtual ‘Taste the Trail’ event at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in April. It’s a great opportunity for whisky-lovers world-wide to join us here in beautiful Speyside from the comfort of their own homes. We hope that The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival can go ahead in person as planned in November as we are all looking forward to welcoming people back to this iconic part of Scotland when it is safe to do so.”