A record-breaking dash round 60 of Scotland’s distilleries gathered a unique whisky collection raffled for Just a Drop, raising over £10,755, which can support a whole community in Zambia with access to clean, safe water and sanitation. 

On Monday 15 May 2017, World Whisky Day founder Blair Bowman and Just a Drop's Bella Mytton-Mills successfully completed The Great Whisky Distillery Challenge, setting a record for the number of whisky distilleries visited in one day. During seventeen hours on the road they visited 60 distilleries, beginning at sunrise at the Balblair distillery in Ross-shire and ending at sunset at the Aberfeldy distillery in Perthshire.

Whiskies were collected from all 55 of the distilleries that bottle their own products, and the entire collection was raffled as a main prize, with entry just £1 per ticket.

The lucky winners were drawn on Friday 2 June 2017, with Mike Jackson from Salisbury winning the full collection of whiskies.

Other winners were: Nikki Welch and Michael Polton from Edinburgh, who both won of a 4-day whisky tour to Speyside; Finlay Cowe from Edinburgh, who received a photographic print of Leith; Peter Grierson from Barry in Wales, who won an engraved whisky stave; Andy Clayton from Inverness, who won whisky tasting glasses; and Brian Atkins from Devon, Michael Farley from New Jersey in America, Charlotte Farndale from Penicuik, Alasdair Milton from Aberdeenshire, Mak Salha, Nicola Swann and Richard Wheatley from London, Jonathan Webb from Bristol, Andrew Burgess from Middlesbrough, and Linda McDonald from Edinburgh, who all received a copy of Blair Bowmans' book, The Pocket Guide To Whisky.

The Great Whisky Distillery Challenge was in support of Just a Drop, which works with communities to deliver accessible, clean, safe water, and health and sanitation programmes to where they are needed most. 

Taking about the challenge, Blair Bowman said “It’s was an incredible event. As far as we are aware, no-one has even attempted to set a record like this before and, despite meticulous planning, there was always a risk that we might not get to all 60 of the distilleries on the day. We couldn’t afford for a single thing to go wrong. It just needed a few tractors or caravans to hold us up and we would have been under pressure.” Blair continued:

All the money raised from the raffle is going to Just a Drop, which brings clean water to some of the poorest communities in the world. The word ‘whisky’ means ‘water of life’ in Gaelic, so it felt like a fitting challenge.

Just a Drop's Bella Mytton-Mills said: The challenge had been set... and what a challenge it was! 60 distilleries in one day, I wondered whether this would even be possible considering the number of miles we would be driving across the Scottish countryside. We started at Balblair Distillery at sunrise, and over the course of the day we were treated to clear blue skies, torrential rain, gale force winds and then scorching sunshine! It was a long day but it was fantastic to be part of the #distillerychallenge team. A well deserved Old Fashioned greeted us upon our sunset arrival (10 minutes ahead of schedule!) at our final distillery in Aberfeldy, where we filled and sealed the final bottle of our whisky collection - which was then raffled for Just a Drop.

The idea for the challenge came from Willie Wallace, who has been running whisky tours in Scotland for 20 years. “It’s been many years in the planning. With the amazing support of the distillers and our other sponsors, we can hopefully make a difference to the fantastic work of Just a Drop. We certainly had fun along the way on the day.”

As Fiona Jeffery OBE, Founder and Chairman of Just a Drop, explained: “As a fellow Scot and founder of a water charity, I couldn’t be more proud for Just a Drop to be associated with this awesome challenge, as the relationship between water and whisky is so unique. The money raised, an incredible £10,755, can support a whole community in Zambia by providing access to one of life's absolute necessities: a supply of clean water, which empowers people to lead healthier, safer and more productive lives, so many thanks to everyone who purchased a raffle ticket - and congratulations to the winners!