168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset


Glasgow is home for the 168 Whisky Club, a professional networking group for whisky enthusiasts. Meetings are held usually at Wylie & Bisset’s offices at 168 Bath Street with members having the opportunity to sample drams whilst making business happen with peers. Scott Grant was happy to share their story through the Inside the Cask blog.

168 whisky club glasgow

Why did you decide to start a whisky club? How did the 168 Whisky Club start? 

We started the whisky club around 10 years ago, with an initial “membership” of around 12 – 15 souls largely drawn from the world of professional services with whom we had a shared interest in business and whisky.

I guess it was just an evolution of relationships that had built up over years, sometimes on the same side of the table, often at the other side of the table, and then finally just around the table enjoying a dram at the end of the month.

168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset

How did you publicise the 168 Whisky Club (to find members)? What is the benefit for the members?

Membership is largely by word of mouth, but becoming ever more strategic as the size and purpose of the club evolves – at the time of writing these answers we have just hit “membership” of 200. Our LinkedIn page also helps drive interest.

We can only seat 35 people at each tasting, so management of the guest list is becoming increasingly challenging!

168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset

The benefits are quite straightforward; a great opportunity to do some light-touch business networking with like-minded individuals, with exceptional drams thrown in! There is no other club like this that I know of.

It’s worth noting that we don’t officially have members; there’s no fee or payment involved, entry to the club is conditional on the value that they can bring to my firm and the 168 whisky club collective, it is after all a Business Development tool.

168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset

What kind of people have joined the 168 Whisky Club?

The club is largely made up of people that we do business with; lawyers, accountants, IFA’s, bankers, and clients (existing and potential). It may sound stuffy, but you only need ask anyone who has attended a 168 whisky club night, it’s not what you might expect (or is everything that you would expect 😊 )

168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset

What kind of events have you organised? Any trips to the distilleries in Scotland or elsewhere? 

We’ve done a couple of distillery trips and make the annual pilgrimage to the Feis Ile  in Islay each year. Fortunately we have a couple of members with access to accommodation on “the rock”, in both Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich. There are also quite a few of the members who have recently bought young casks, individually and also as a syndicate, so I can see some more distillery visits hitting the calendar in the coming years!

168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset

What other projects has the whisky club worked on/ developed?

We bottled a 10yo Islay single malt which we called “numerical gold”, a nod to our main business purpose as Accountants & Business Advisors – it’s sometimes easy to forget that we are not (to quote the boss) “a whisky business with a bolt-on accountancy practice”.

168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset

Thanks also to our resident artist (Insolvency Practitioner by day) Craig Allison, we have a bit of a rogue’s gallery in the basement of the office at 168 Bath Street as he makes a unique piece of art for each guest host which is framed and mounted on the wall at each tasting, with a copy for the host to take away as a memento of the evening.

168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset
Richard Patterson receiving a unique piece of art as a gift from Craig Allison

Looking back, what have been the highlights of your experience with the whisky club since its launch?

It’s been an incredible honour to help drive the membership and status to where we are now, and in such a short period of time – which we couldn’t have done without the belief and support of all those involved.

It’s impossible to pick out “the best moment” as it sometimes feels like every month brings something a little bit different. I sometimes have to pinch myself when I look at what we have achieved, and 2023 was a great example;

168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset

We started January with Richard “the nose” Patterson, ended with Kenny MacDonald of Dram Mor and in-between enjoyed hosts such as: Speyside, Ferguson Whisky, Nc’Nean, SMWS, John Dewar, GlenAllachie and Brave New Spirits. Quite the line up!

To have been able to take the club “on tour” in April 2024 to the Barclays campus, with 60 guests (against a normal night of 35 max) was incredible, not sure how we are going to better that, but I know that we will!

168 whisky club glasgow Scott Grant Craig Allison Wylie & Bisset

 

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