A north-east distillery is to be used to inspire businesses to consider developing within food tourism across the region.
The Legends of the Garioch Experience at Glen Garioch Distillery will be used as a case study for the next North East Scotland Food & Drink Network event.
Hosted by Opportunity North East (One) and Aberdeenshire Council, the best practice visit to the distillery will provide a taster of the Legends Experience and explore its use of regional produce.
Developing high-profile food tourism projects is a priority for One within the wider context of growing the food, drink and agriculture sector.
And the sector’s tourism industry also forms part of VisitAberdeenshire’s new strategy to grow visitor spend in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to £1 billion by 2023.
Launched in October 2017, the Legends Experience is a celebration of Aberdeenshire’s larder and the role it has played over 220 years at the distillery’s Oldmeldrum home.
It showcases regional producers, including Deeside Mineral Water, Huntly Herbs, Mackie’s, butchers Presly & Co, and Sutherlands of Portsoy.
The experience concludes with a whisky pairing menu prepared by the kitchen team at Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf Club.
Peter Cook, One’s director of food, drink & agriculture, said: “Food tourism presents a significant opportunity for growth across the region’s food and drink and tourism sectors.
“In the north-east, we have high-quality produce, great heritage and provenance, and there’s a growing appetite among consumers for first-hand food and drink experiences to be at the heart of their destination choices.
“The Legends Experience at Glen Garioch has successfully combined authenticity, a compelling local story, and a range of businesses, into an internationally marketable experience.
“We believe many more food and drink businesses could tap into the visitor and tourism market. This next network event is an opportunity for aspiring food tourism owner-managers to learn how they can emulate its success and apply the model to their own business.”
Food and drink is highlighted as a key sector in the Aberdeenshire Council Economic Development Strategy, which aims to create the conditions for sustainable economic growth, diversification and regeneration by attracting and supporting businesses.
One is the private sector’s response to the long-term economic challenges facing north-east of Scotland.
It is industry-led, privately funded, region-specific and focuses on action to achieve business growth and safeguard or create employment to add value to economic development in the area.
With an investment commitment of £62 million over 10 years from the Wood Foundation, One aims to leverage a further £62m of match funding from the private and public sectors to deliver transformational projects.