Five north and north-east whiskies have earned the company behind them a haul of awards in a new international drink industry competition.
Old Pulteney, Balblair, Speyburn, Knockdhu and Balmenach helped Inver House Distillers (IHD) sweep the board, with three gold and two silver medals.
The inaugural Global Distillery Masters contest was created to recognise the world’s finest distilleries and the growing importance of tourism, creativity and technical merit in the spirit industry.
Judged by a panel of experts, entrants were assessed on their customer experience, production innovation, digital and social media and environmental initiatives.
The visitor centres at Old Pulteney in Wick and Balblair at Edderton, in Ross-shire, won gold and silver medals respectively in the customer experience category.
Refurbished in 2013, Old Pulteney’s visitor centre showcases not only how the single malt is produced but also Wick’s seafaring heritage.
Balblair was recognised for bringing more than 200 years of whisky-making history to life through tastings and tours.
Since opening in 2011, Balbair Home has more than doubled its visitor numbers and sales revenue and secured a four star visitor attraction status from VisitScotland.
Knockdhu, near Huntly, and Balmenach on Speyside received gold medals for their environmental initiatives.
Another Speyside distillery, Speyburn, scooped a silver medal in the competition’s innovation category, thanks to a £5million expansion this year.
The investment at Speyburn by Airdrie-based IHD increased annual production capacity to more than 880,000 gallons, from about 395,000 previously, and reduced its energy useage.
IHD marketing director Karen Walker said: “It’s always fabulous to pick up awards, however, to have scooped five at the Global Distillery Masters is an achievement we’re especially proud of.”