A Toast Tae Families!
Manager of our Cupar store and all round lover of great whisky, Stuart, shares his musings on the folks at Springbank in this lovely article.
Probably my first lesson in the history of whisky on arriving through the doors at Luvians was about Springbank Distillery. The history teacher on this subject matter was of course our director, Vince. You could say he has been an avid supporter of Springbank since the birth of Luvians in the early 1980’s.
“Springbank! The unique and frustrating Springbank”, he would say.
We will come back to frustrating later…
One of Vince’s many Springbank stories is about a visit to the distillery with a small group of gentlemen, some years ago. Of course they were treated like royalty when they arrived and had a wonderful tour with quite a few drams before they set off back to Fife. Vince thought he would have a fair few toilet stops on the drive home but, to his astonishment, they never stopped once! Upon arriving back in Cupar he commented: “Gentlemen, I’m very surprised you made it all the way without a toilet break!” Their answer: “Aye, that delicious liquid wis too precious tae leave on any bush, tree or parking bay!”
That story is unique, which is a word we often use for Springbank and I am as eager to tell Springbank’s history to customers as Vince was then to me.
But this is not a history lesson…Springbank, I am positive, has its history talked about daily in the whisky shops all around the globe, and rightly so…
My story is about two things: quality and honesty!
And so first to quality… The folks at Springbank oversee 100% of the production of their whisky, from traditional floor malting and maturation through to bottling at the distillery in Campbeltown. It is one of the only distilleries to have never chill-filtered, nor do they add any artificial colourings to any of their single malts. It is the only distillery in Scotland to produce three different single malts – Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn- using three different production methods. But apart from this they understand the market place and, most importantly to me as a retailer of whisky, they make their malts affordable to the consumer.
And so to my second point: honesty. When the world of whisky is going mad, crazy, bonkers with increased prices, Springbank can hold their head high. The reason for my bold statement is simple: Springbank understands the market place, they see the right path and the long game. It is commonly accepted that the current trend of price increases cannot be sustained indefinitely. If and when this trend changes, everyone will return to the basics: quality, price, value for money. When the glamour, marketing and global hype is stripped back, this is what really counts. The folks at Springbank understand this: they are not being shortsighted. They are not riding on the coattails of the current whisky marketing success. They are remaining true to themselves: producing liquid of the highest quality and releasing it at honest prices. Their passion for whisky includes the firm belief that it is a product to be opened, shared and enjoyed.
Which leads us back to my earlier mention of why they are so frustrating…..they just don’t make enough for us all!
So here is a toast to the Mitchell family and all at Springbank from the Fusaro brothers ….long may we continue to work together and thank you for being honest!
To give you a wee bit of insight into the fascinating world of whisky production, we asked Grant MacPherson, UK Sales Manager at Springbank and Mitchell’s Glengyle, one or two questions…
Hey Grant! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? – On the 1st of May 1999 I started my career within J&A Mitchell & Co Ltd as Regional Sales for the West Coast of Scotland. My first business card I had the likes of 1966 Local Barley, Springbank 21 Year Old, the Millennium series, along with an exceptional Cadenhead range. What a journey it has been, from working in the Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop (formally Eaglesome), to travelling the world selling the full Cadenhead range, then becaming the shop manager of the whisky shop in Campbeltown, before working within the UK market for Springbank Distillers Ltd, where I’m presently the UK Sales Manager.
Describe a typical day at the distillery – A typical day for myself at Springbank would include working on allocations, replying to customer emails including general email enquiries (I usually get the emails from customers enquiring about historical bottlings looking for additional information), arranging tastings, customers visits and the many festivals within the UK that we attend.
What is your favourite Springbank dram? – My favourite Springbank/Glengyle product would be all of them! But I do enjoy our Kilkerran 12 year old…
What is your favourite non-Springbank dram? Don’t say Kilkerran, Longrow or Hazelburn, please! – Favourite non-Springbank dram would be Clynelish or Highland Park, yet I’m also partial to Rosebank and St. Magdalene if my budget allows.
If you could share a dram with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? – I recently hosted a charity event where the likes of James and Oliver Phelps (Weasley twins in Harry Potter), Tom Lister who played Carl King in Eastenders and Mikey Graham from Boyzone attended. Sharing a dram and talking about whisky is always great, but a star-studded audience and a good cause always make it sparkle that wee bit more!
What is the most “Campbeltown” thing you’ve ever seen or heard at the distillery?
One big Campbeltown saying is “It’s Hoora-va good!” For the uninitiated this means that something is not just good, but very good indeed! Obviously we hear this at the distillery on a daily basis…
Another regular feature on the rugged shores of the West Coast is: “It’s blowing a hoolie out there!” If you know, you know…