Interview to Liam Robertson, Business Development Manager (Tourism), Holyrood Distillery
1. Tell us about Holyrood Distillery, what sets you apart?
Holyrood Distillery opened in July this year and is Edinburgh’s first malt whisky distillery for 100 years. We’re also the first in the city to be distilling both Gin and Whisky, and unique in basing our visitor experience around the fun part – flavour! We offer a range of tours: taking in both spirits, more in depth tours on each; or a masterclass with our head distiller. Tours are fun, interactive and sensory, allowing visitors to get hands on with the ingredients. Of course we include samples of each, then the tour ends with a liqueur in our bar. The distillery is just half an hour’s walk from Edinburgh city centre, and makes use of an old railway building from 1835. The bar offers lovely views over Holyrood Park & of course extra drinks can be enjoyed there! Visitors can bottle their own cask whisky in our shop, and we offer facilities to hold evening dinners or receptions.
2. How important is sustainability for your business?
Being a new venture, we can see the increased importance of this and we make sure we don’t offer plastic (tasting glasses/straws etc) and we of course recycle as much as we can. We are looking at ways to reuse our whisky and Gin bottles in future. The whisky distillation process itself is quite sustainable, with all of our waste barley (draf) going to feed local cattle in the Edinburgh area. Before opening, we worked closely with the local community to hear their views and are looking at opportunities for volunteering/student placements. All of our event menu ingredients are locally sourced as far as practical.
3. Why did you join ETOA and what do you hope to gain from your membership?
Having previous experience of ETOA membership in my last position I felt that membership was one of the best ways to promote our visitor experience across Europe. Having just attended GEM; I now realise the value that particular event offers in attracting groups/FIT from across the entire globe! The team at ETOA are extremely knowledgeable & welcoming and membership almost stands as an accreditation for some. The market insights and representation that ETOA offer in the sector is invaluable. We will certainly attend GEM again and perhaps look at additional events which are all highly regarded by my industry contacts.