Supporting our Independent Whisky Bars: Guest Blog by Angus MacRaild

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The Independent Whisky Bars of Scotland is exactly that: a union of independent, often family run, whisky bars around Scotland that represent some of the nation’s greatest places to discover, learn about and enjoy Scottish whisky. The group is composed of the Ardshiel in Campbeltown; The Malt Room in Inverness; Dornoch Castle Hotel; The Bon Accord in Glasgow; Fiddler’s in Drumnardochit; Artisan in Wishaw and the Highlander Inn in Craigellachie. Together they represent a diverse swathe of Scotland’s geography, people and whisky culture. They’ve also been some of the longest standing dedicated whisky bars and have helped make a profound mark on Scotland’s national drink with their promotion and celebration of it over recent decades.  

Which makes it all the more important that in times like these we do what we can to support these types of businesses. When lockdown eventually eases and the frustrations of Covid recede, it would be a travesty if the on-trade was so decimated that all we had left were the chain pubs of this world. Small, independently minded, family run businesses like those that make up the IWBOS offer so much to so many people. From the weary traveller, to the whisky pilgrim, to the thirsty local; these are establishments that express the personality of their hardworking and passionate owners. They offer vast, varied and ever-changing dram lists, often with beer selections to match, terrific food and unique atmospheres in which to relax and indulge.  

The original aim of the group was to source official single cask bottlings which would be exclusive to the member bars. A way of working more closely with the industry, promoting Scotch Whisky as well as the network of bars. But most importantly offering something different and special to their customers. The ultimate expression of this endeavour is the Daftmill single cask that was made available exclusively by the dram and not for sale as full bottles. The set of bottles which are being offered for sale by Whisky Auctioneer are the only bottles of this Daftmill release which will ever come to the market. And they are being sold with 100% of the profits going to benefit each of the member bars of IWBOS. It isn’t a huge amount in the face of the struggle these businesses face, but given how much pleasure, enjoyment and knowledge these bars have brought to the whisky world, it’s a worthy and timely cause.