Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Whisky For Everyone / 15 Years of Blogging

When our first blog post popped up on 28 March 2008 it was difficult to imagine that Whisky For Everyone would still be going 15 years later. Our fledgling interest in whisky, and Scotch in particular, led us to want to find out more. Writing things down seemed a good way to make facts, figures and tasting notes stick. If people read what we wrote then so be it - we gave it a working title of 'Whisky For Everyone' and it was our vehicle for learning.

The odds were firmly against any sort of longevity to be honest - we were new to whisky, we did not know anyone within the industry or have any formal journalistic training and we did not know anything about social media. We wrote down things as they came out of our heads, and still do. But we are both stubborn and determined.

Not only is the whisky landscape very different now than it was 15 years ago (just think of the amount of new distilleries that have appeared in that time), but so is the one for blogging. Whisky knowledge and interest has grown to almost unprecedented levels, whilst technology and the explosion of social media has made the sharing of knowledge, expertise and opinions widespread.

Looking back to 2008 there were very few good websites about whisky to be found - Dr. Whisky, Malt Maniacs and WhiskyFun are ones that we found. However, most seemed pitched at a higher connoisseur level rather than the beginner. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were still in their infancy and Instagram did not even exist. Imagine a world without any of them now? Also, the word 'influencer' did not exist.

At some point early on someone told us that they liked what we were doing - that no one else was really catering for the whisky beginner - and that they felt our 'working title' reflected our approach. Reader numbers increased, as did interest from brands.

We kept doing what we were doing and went from strength to strength. To date we have written just over 2,000 blog posts and had visits to Whisky For Everyone from almost every country in the world. These have resulted in 5.95 million page views and over 26,000 followers across various social media platforms. We still cannot quite believe these figures.

We have definitely benefited from the general rise in popularity of whisky that was happening at the time and whisky blogging became cool. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. As whisky sales grew in new markets then the number of whisky blogs grew to unprecedented and uncontrollable levels. Now in the last couple of years some balance has been restored. Many of the best blogs remain. Others have fallen by the wayside.

Over the last 15 years we have been fortunate to meet many influential people that have guided and helped us. There are too many to name individually but they cover all facets of the industry - those that work at the distilleries or do the marketing or PR, those that work deep within the whisky companies or those that we consider our blogging, influencer and journalist contemporaries. Many have become close friends over the years.

Our ex-Oloroso sherry octave at Glenglassaugh.

Highlights have been many – the numerous press trips to distilleries, the invitations to launch events, the awards that we have been nominated for and the brand dinners that we have been lucky enough to be guests at. One that sticks in our minds has to be our first trip to Islay thanks to Lagavulin. Islay is a ‘must visit’ for any whisky fan and our visit did not disappoint. We have also owned our own cask of whisky at the Glenglassaugh distillery in the east Highlands. This is now safely bottled and being enjoyed by friends and family.

Maybe the ultimate highlight was our induction as Keepers Of The Quaich in April 2015, an honour bestowed on those that significantly impact the promotion of Scotch whisky around the world. Numerous journalists have received this in the past but we remain as two of the very few bloggers or influencers to be recognised in this way. We are also one of the only couples to ever be inducted together.

Our Keepers of the Quaich induction ceremony in Blair Castle.

So, after 15 years we are still here. And we do not intend to go anywhere either and continue to evolve. What started a hobby in our spare time has now led to both of us working within the whisky industry. While that has diminished the amount of time that we can spend on the blog and the number of events that we can attend, it definitely does not diminish our passion for writing Whisky For Everyone and helping people learn about the spirit that we love.

What the next 15 years holds for us, who knows? But we would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone that has read, helped and influenced us over the last 15 years. It has been a fun ride.

Karen & Matt.

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