A new chairman has been appointed to take whisky festival, Spirit of Speyside, to new heights as it makes its return to in-person events for the first time in two years.
George McNeil, managing director of Johnstons of Elgin’s retail division, will take on the role in time for the festival’s next live event this November.
The Spirit of Speyside was first launched in 1999 and has been an annual celebration of Scotland’s national drink since its inception.
George will take over from James Campbell, who has held the position for more than a decade, during the November festival.
Under James’ leadership, the festival has been transformed into a six-day event with 50 plus distilleries from around the region taking part.
It is now one of the largest whisky events in the world.
Taking place from Wednesday November 3 to Monday November 8, an array of events which will allow festivalgoers to explore, tastes and learn about whisky, will take place.
Having lived in Speyside for 14 years, George is looking forward to taking the reins of the popular event.
He said: “Speyside has been very kind to me and my family. I’m looking forward to giving something back to this amazing region by looking after this iconic festival.
“The Spirit of Speyside is on to a winning formula by bringing together a huge variety of whisky companies with local communities and nearly 140 business members in the region and I’m really looking forward to continuing that legacy.”
James Campbell, current chairman is proud of the festival and the team and all they have achieved over the years.
He added: “It’s been my pleasure to act as chairman of Spirit of Speyside for the last decade and give visitors from around the world a taste of Scotland in miniature.
“Over the years, we’ve seen the festival grow to become an important part of the region and to help support the local economy.
“Earlier this year we brought the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival online with 688 guests from 15 countries around the world logging in but nothing beats being together to celebrate the world’s largest producing whisky region.
“I look forward to enjoying a dram with George at our first in-person event in two years in November when he officially becomes chairman.”
The full programme of events will be listed on the festival website and tickets will go on sale online in September.