The GreatDrams Review of 2019

let’s begin

Welcome to The GreatDrams Review of 2019, a time for me to have a swift light hearted reflection of the year that was and my personal highlights of the year.

Well what a year it has been; Boris Johnson became Prime Minister – and royally wasted everyone’s time and energy, Brexit is still a thing and is still polluting our lives on an hourly basis, my beloved Liverpool FC won the Champions League and only narrowly lost out on the Premiership – something I hope they can rectify this year, our boy Archie has continued to grow into a fantastically energetic boy who loves being awake early and not giving us a break from his Duracell-like energy levels, our village – Poynton – flooded again which was quite disconcerting and the world, of course, is even more fractured than it was last year.

Crazy to even start reflecting on most of the above, but thankfully I only need to reflect on GreatDrams, and of course what’s been going on in whisky. 

I say it every year, but this year has been amongst my busiest;

270,000 + GreatDrams readers this year

94k followers across social media and email

8,960 (approx) samples of our products given out at events to thirsty whisky drinkers

1,825 bottles of GreatDrams limited edition Scotch whisky sold to our awesome customers

1,510 articles now on GreatDrams (including a load scheduled for future publishing)

133 hours airborne on planes to presentations and meetings (that’s over five and a half actual days in the air…)

90 hours on trains to meetings (that’s nearly 4 full days spend on trains…)

87 events including Makers Markets and Pub in the Park promoting and selling the GreatDrams independently bottled whiskies

46 trains to meetings in London

32 flights to distilleries and meetings in six countries (India, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, USA and China)

18 distilleries visited across Scotland, Ireland, India, Kentucky

11 casks bought for our independent bottling programme

15 events attended (lower than usual due to hectic consulting schedule and family life)

5 whisky shows and festivals attended

4 publications written for including Whisky Magazine and Drinks International

4 award wins – Double Gold Star for our Girvan 11 Year Old at the Great Taste Awards 2019, Gold Star for our Craigellachie 11 Year Old at the Great Taste Awards 2019, Drinks Producer of the Year at the Cheshire Food & Drink Awards and Best Online Spirits Resource (second year in a row)

4 GreatDrams independently bottled whiskies, BenRiach 5 Year Old, Girvan 11 Year Old (which scored 91.5 in the 2020 Whisky Bible), our Christmas 2019 Limited Edition Blended Scotch Whisky and our Glentauchers 10 Year Old, available here

Countless whiskies tried, enjoyed and commented on.

Some particular highlights

Meeting so many really passionate whisky drinkers at the events we have been doing with our own independently bottled whiskies, hearing such great feedback and seeing the bottles fly off the shelves – our Christmas limited edition especially as it sold out before we even got to the 10th November! 

Getting to visit India and Delhi for the first time – a place that can only be described as ‘synchronised chaos’

Visiting Kentucky again, albeit briefly (one day!) was superb

Visiting China twice in twelve weeks was quite intense… I know Shanghai surprisingly well now

Spending time with so many icons of the whisky world including, but not limited to Calum Fraser, Dr. Bill Lumsden, Richard Patterson, John McCheyne, Fraser Campbell, Stephanie Macleod, Ewan Gunn, Stephen Rankin, Billy Leighton and Brian Nation

In whisky I was fortunate to try some incredible whiskies (in the order in which I remembered them or tried them, not preference);

Along with all these stunning whiskies and a very busy year, we have seen Scotch exports up, volumes up and huge investment into new and expanding distillery operations throughout Scotland and Ireland in particular, with many new distilleries opening up in England too.

2020 looks to be another busy year with many new distilleries having spirit old enough to start releasing their first bottlings after three or more years of patience, and I’m sure a degree of nervous anticipation.
Thanks for reading, following, liking, Tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming and tagging GreatDrams across the web this year, I’ve had a blast and it’s been so lovely to help so many GreatDrammers with their whisky choices and to meet a fair few of you at events around the UK over the last twelve months.
As always, please do send me pics of your whisky exploration, or tag me in festivities so I can share with the wider GreatDrams Network and please also keep sending your feedback, questions and comments to me, I reply to every single email I get sent; [email protected].


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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