Westminster was treated to a masterclass in the making of Scotch Whisky last night, 24th May 2016, when Argyll and Bute MP, Brendan O’Hara, hosted an event on behalf of Diageo, the world’s largest producer of this iconic drink.
Following World Whisky Day last Saturday [21st May], Diageo showcased the craft and skills involved in Scotch whisky production from the raw grain to the glass – including the malting process and the skills of a cooper in making the casks.
Afterwards Mr O’Hara said – with not a hiccup in evidence: ‘This is an ingenious way to allow parliamentarians to take a peek behind the curtain to see how whisky is made and meet the amazing people involved in this industry.
‘It is a wonderful opportunity to see at first hand the different stages of production that takes raw grain and turns it into the finest whisky in the world.
‘My constituency of Argyll and Bute is home to 14 distilleries one of which is represented tonight, with Lagavulin from Islay celebrating its 200th anniversary.
‘The importance of this industry to the local economy cannot be over-estimated with Scotland exporting 100 million cases of Scotch Whisky to every part of the world – that’s 40 bottles every second, earning the UK treasury £4 billion or £135 per second.
‘As the Member of Parliament for this constituency I am delighted to host this reception on behalf of Diageo ,who play a huge part in this industry in Scotland.’
Mr O’Hara is also the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group in Scotch Whisky – since his election in 2015.
It was, of course, Diageo who lobbied against the Scottish Government’s attempt to educe Scotland’s serious drinking problem by introducing a minimum pricing of alcohol.
Diageo used the branding power of Scotch whisky to ’emotivate’ their campaign – although Scotch has long been priced well above the Scottish Government’s planned price per unit of alcohol and would not have been affected by the introduction of the proposed measure.
What Diageo was in fact keen to protect was their range of cheap vodka based alcopops, attractive to young drinkers, habit forming and potent contributors to early and life threatening addiction.