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Issue 84 - Tasting Success

Whisky Magazine Issue 84
November 1999

 

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Tasting Success

Gavin Smith meets the family behind the iconic glass.

For most Scotch whisky drinkers it is difficult to imagine life without the ‘Glencairn Glass.' Go to any distillery visitor centre or whiskyrelated event and you will find it in use, complete with bespoke engraving. It is the official tasting glass for Whisky Live and Whisky Magazine.

Remarkably, more than five million units of the glass have been sold since it was launched by Glencairn Crystal Studio of East Kilbride, near Glasgow, in 2002. However, there is much more to Glencairn Crystal than just the ubiquitous tasting glass, even if it is largely responsible for the public's heightened awareness of the brand name.

The company was established in 1981 by Airdrieborn Raymond Davidson, who trained as an environmental test engineer, working with aircraft components, before his passion for interacting with people saw him take on a sales role with glassware manufacturer Edinburgh Crystal.

“I would try to encourage directors of whisky companies to fill their spirit into crystal decanters, and offer glass sets to go with them,” recalls Davidson.“That was how I first became involved with the Scotch whisky industry.” Ultimately, Davidson decided to strike out on his own, setting up Glencairn Crystal Studio in 1981.“Part of our success has been because from the outset I decided to concentrate solely on corporate business and not the retail side of things.

“From the start we offered customers a full design package, with an artist to do the work, right through to desi...

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