It ties in with the birthday of Alexander Walker, son of John Walker, who turned the eponymous drink of his father into one of the world’s best-known brands.
Diageo coined the day in a bid to break down barriers and rally the entire community of producers, retailers and bartenders to tempt consumers into enjoying Scotch in different forms.
Brand ambassador Colin Dunn told OLN: “We are trying to break down barriers. In the old days whisky was perceived to be something drunk by the fireplace, drunk neat and you couldn’t really do anything with it. Now it is being drunk in lots of different ways and bartenders and chefs are really experimenting with it.
“It is down to companies like us to get people to talk about Scotch in different ways and drink it in innovative ways. International Scotch Day has created a lot of excitement. Lots of celebrities are on board, like Coco Rocha and Frieda Pinto.
“It’s putting a spotlight on the Scotch whisky category, not just Diageo. It is down to the ambassadors to continue to promote this, not just in the on-trade, but in the off-trade too. We want to get people from all walks of life to understand that you can take Scotch home and make it in all different ways.
“We released Haig Clubman to get new people into the category, to understand that Scotch is not one-dimensional. We have to train staff to talk about the brand. With neck collars, bar codes, educational leaflets and on-pack information can let people know that this category is alive and well and kicking. Millennials looking for something diverse can embrace it. We have to inform, educate and entertain staff and get people to innovate and bring more people in.”
When asked what sort of serves retailers can champion in stores to drive interest in the Scotch category, Dunn said: “If you go back in history cocktails all have a base spirit, a sweet ingredient and a sour ingredient. A highball glass with Scotch, ice, soda and a wedge of lemon or lime works well and can be made in 10 seconds. We have to create the opportunity for consumers to make drinks with ingredients that can are widely available in the off-trade, that can be put together with a minimum of fuss. It can’t be cocktails where you have to go to three different shops to get the ingredients. Simple drinks with whisky can be done so that enjoyment for the consumer than what some people would think. It’s busting the myth said in the past that you can’t mix whisky.”
He added: “There is a massive interest in Scotch. This is our time to show the general public at large that Scotch whisky is a category not just with history, but with innovation. It’s a great time for Scotch now.”