Looking Back on the Royal Highland Showcase

AVVA SCottish Gin

My business initially started with Berry Good Liqueurs following a visit to the Royal Highland Show.  I was at the show helping friends to exhibit North Country Cheviot Sheep and Aberdeen Angus Cattle and a key visit would be the food hall. I saw a great selection of drinks and liqueurs but at that time very few were Scottish; the gin boom had yet to occur.  

In 2008, I was a student and the inspiring visit to the Highland Show started the idea behind Berry Good Liqueurs.  I used my course to develop a business plan and physically set up the liqueur business around my studies.  Nine months after I had launched Berry Good I won my category in the prestigious Scotland Food & Drink Awards; it was an evening that created an ever-lasting memory. I went on to graduate a few years later and went to work full-time as an Agricultural Inspector for the Scottish Government whilst continuing to build the business. The day job took me to Inverurie, Edinburgh and finally to Elgin… the heart of distilling country – it truly was a now or never moment that put me into the Gin Sector with Avva Scottish Gin.

 

Emily ready for 4 days at RHASS 2019
Emily ready for 4 days at RHASS 2019
We think this is 2017...
We think this is 2017…

 The Royal Highland Show is one I have attended for over 20 years and exhibited with Avva and Berry Good for around eight years. We initially went with our wholesaler in 2010, Gordon & Macphail, who were so kind & generous with their training and allowing the liqueurs to take a space on their stand. We then had the opportunity to exhibit as part of a Highlands & Islands Group in 2012 before finally taking our own space as an exhibitor.  

The show itself is incredibly unique with what you can experience over the four days; we have made life-long friends at the event. For us as a business, the show starts with our arrival on Tuesday afternoon (not including the huge amounts of behind the scenes work that goes into preparing for the show) with our pallet of stock leaving our site the previous Friday.

Wednesday is spent setting up the stand and the show then opens Thursday at 8 am for four fun-filled, full-on days!

There is honestly something for all the family to see and do and it is the historic home of the Royal Highland Agricultural Society with exhibitors from all over the UK & Ireland competing. The competition is fierce but the camaraderie is stronger;  we are all sorely missing it this year. 

 

A very memorable throwback is to 2018 when the exhibitors in the food & drink hall were secretly judged by a top-notch panel of undercover judges.  Anyone competing at the show was aiming for that esteemed red ticketa first place prize!  Unknown to myself the judging took place over 2 days and complete undercover! The judges would independently judge the stands and would then come together to discuss and unanimously agree on the prize winners. I will always have huge respect for those exhibiting in the food and drink hall, they are my peers in the sector and we all work extremely hard to take our product to the consumer. So, you’ll understand our surprise, delight and pride when we found out we had won the red ticket for 2018!  I had an incredible team who worked really hard over the four days; they were also judged on product knowledge, customer service and the overall appearance of the stand and products.

The images are a quick snapshot of life behind the scenes at this event; the set-up, catching up with friends, it truly is a family adventure to ‘the Show!’ 

Setting up the show
Setting up the show
Friends & Family RHASS19!

 

2018 Food and Drinks First Place!

Even though we can’t be there in person this year we will be watching the virtual Royal Highland Showcase right from the distillery.

Tickets for the Royal Highland Show 2022 event go on sale on Monday 14th June at 12 Noon.

If you are virtually meeting up at this weeks showcase remember to order your Gin & Tonic from the online shop! And we shall see you at the 2022 Royal Highland Show!

Jill