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Whisky research from land to bottle at Royal Highland Show

Whisky research from land to bottle (c) James Hutton Institute
"Research on the key ingredients of whisky, barley, peat and water is key to supporting the industry’s long term sustainability

The future of Scotland’s national drink is being boosted by scientists at the James Hutton Institute. Their work across many fronts aims to ensure the sustainability and continued success of Scotch whisky, one of the world’s best-loved tipples and a pillar of the Scottish economy. The impact of this research work will be highlighted at the 2014 Royal Highland Show, where the James Hutton Institute will showcase its work at their marquee on Avenue Q.

Research relevant to whisky making will be on display and our experts will be on hand to discuss our work, including sustainable management of peatlands, pressures on water supplies, provenancing techniques to help tackle counterfeiting, quality and yield of the barley crop for malting purposes, resilience of agricultural systems, resistance to crop pests and diseases, preservation of rural economies and research on renewable energy.

Professor Iain Gordon, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, said: “The whisky industry is central to Scotland’s food and drink strategy. The research on the key ingredients of whisky, barley, peat and water is key to supporting the industry’s long term sustainability. We are proud to be showcasing our research at this event.”

Also at this year’s Royal Highland Show the James Hutton Institute and the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) will be announcing the winner of the Institute’s Best Soil in Show. 

It is the second time the Institute has run the Best Soil in Show and this year they enlisted the future stewards of the soil, young farmers, to help roll out the competition right across Scotland. Samples from farms across the length and breadth of the country have been judged on their physical and chemical properties to identify the winner, who will be presented with a quaich at the Institute’s marquee on Thursday 19 June.

SAYFC National Chairman Laura Fleming commented: “We are happy to be working with the James Hutton Institute, and this is a great opportunity for members to take advantage of their expertise. It is important to offer prospects such as this to those members who are working with Scotland's land so they can continue to understand the issues with which they work.”

It’s not just a case of rewarding the farmer with the good fortune to have naturally rich, fertile soil on their land. The Best Soil in Show asks entrants what they’re growing in the soil, the rotations they are operating and what they are adding to the soil. The point is to highlight the importance of maintaining healthy soils to ensure productivity in the face of intensification of agriculture. Soils deliver many basic biological and ecological benefits and farmers need to understand the characteristics and condition of their soil to make informed decisions about its management.

Notes to editors

The presentation of the Best Soil in Show 2014 will take place at the James Hutton Institute marquee at the Royal Highland Show, Avenue Q, on Thursday 19th June from 14:00 to 15:00. 

The ‘Whisky research: from Land to Bottle’ reception will be held on Friday 20th June, from 14:30 to 15:30, also at the James Hutton Institute marquee on Avenue Q. 

Members of the press attending the Royal Highland Show are welcome to join both events, but should confirm their attendance to Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo.

The Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYFC) is the largest rural youth movement in Scotland, bringing together those between 14 and 30 years of age who have an interest in agriculture and the countryside. Established in 1938, SAYFC currently has more than 3000 members who contribute to over 80 clubs throughout Scotland. The current motto "Not just for those who wear wellies" enhances that the association is not just for farmers, SAYFC is for anyone who would like to be part of a youth organisation where they can gain personal development opportunities that will benefit them during their time as a Young Farmer, and in the future.

The James Hutton Institute has over 90 years’ experience in soil and crop research and also hosts Scotland’s National Soils Archive, which is a reference to the state of the soils in the past and is used to test new analyses and monitor changes in soil over time. In a drive to make this data available to land managers, farmers and the general public, the Institute has developed two mobile apps (SIFSS and SOCiT) and the website in partnership with Ricardo-AEA for the Scottish Government. 

Press and media enquiries: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

Printed from /news/whisky-research-land-bottle-royal-highland-show on 25/02/24 09:29:07 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.