A YOUNG Scot who set up World Whisky Day, a fast-growing global brand which he created in his student bedroom just three years ago, has sold the business to a publishing firm.
Blair Bowman, 24, is reaping the rewards from a concept he launched while studying Hispanics in Aberdeen in 2012.
Edinburgh-based Hot Rum Cow, a drinks magazine set up by White Light Media, has purchased the assets of World Whisky Day (WWD) from Mr Bowman for an undisclosed sum – though economists believe such a takeover could run into six figures.
Mr Bowman, now a digital marketing manager for a hotel, said he was relinquishing the responsibility of WWD to explore other career opportunities.
But he will continue to be a consultant for Hot Rum Cow, a magazine published by White Light Media, and his name will remain firmly in place as the founding spirit of the event.
He said: “I am delighted that the team at Hot Rum Cow are going to grow and develop World Whisky Day.
“I have no doubt that they will keep the flame alive and the legacy shall continue long into the future.
“Having created World Whisky Day from scratch on my own and built it up over three years this is the perfect next chapter. I am very excited about what the future holds.”
Fraser Allen, publisher of Hot Rum Cow, said he was “thrilled” at the deal being clinched.
He added: “I first met Blair a couple of years ago when I interviewed him for the magazine.
“I was full of admiration for his thinking behind World Whisky Day and the enterprise he had shown in getting it up and running.”
Kevin Stewart, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, who hosted the official launch event for World Whisky Day last year at the Scottish Parliament, said the takeover would mean the event would continue to generate interest in whisky around the world.
He added: “It has done a great deal to promote our national drink internationally and at home.
“It’s great that in this Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink the efforts of the WWD organisers will continue to ensure that our most famous product will continue to get the added exposure that World Whisky Day brings.”
The next World Whisky Day takes place on 16 May.
Mr Fraser said: “Given the short timescales, we have to be pragmatic about this year.
“Therefore, the emphasis for 2015 will be very much on keeping momentum alive by promoting celebrations of whisky across the globe via social media in the same way that Blair began the event in 2012.
“However, we are working on plans to extensively relaunch the event in 2016. It’s going to be fun.”
WWD was launched by Mr Bowman when he was still a student and, while studying abroad in Barcelona, he noticed on Twitter that people were celebrating World Gin Day.
After searching online, he was surprised to see that there was not an established annual World Whisky Day – so he bought the domain name and kickstarted the event by spreading the word via social media. By last year, World Whisky Day was annually attracting around 250,000 attendees to whisky-themed events in over 40 countries, with 12,000 followers on Twitter.
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