ALPHA WHISKY is offering all 50 clubs in Scotland’s five national leagues (Premiership through to National Division Four) a bottle of their ‘Alpha Five’ single malt to be used to raise funds for their club and to help find a cure for MND through the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
“It is up to each club to choose how they raise funds,” explained Alan Watt, director and one of the founding shareholders of the company, which was set up in 2019 by a group of former rugby players with a passion for whisky and a desire to learn more about the whisky industry. “They can put it behind the bar and receive donations for drams, they can raffle it, or they can auction it online or at a club event.
“The Foundation is keen to support this initiative when possible and have a fantastic line up of ambassadors and contacts who could sign the label or perhaps share a dram and a chat!
“We’ve recently started the process of contacting clubs to organise distributing bottles, so club secretaries should have emails from the Foundation in their inboxes. Hopefully, most clubs will request bottles and work to raise funds for two causes close to Doddie’s heart – his foundation and grassroots club rugby.
“It’s also an opportunity to taste a fantastic single malt, which is bottled at cask-strength to be a little bit stronger and richer than your usual whisky.
“This is our fifth cask release, named Alpha Five, so it seemed apt to work with the My Name’5 Doddie, where the #5 has such a strong association,” Watt added. “The Foundation have a strong historic connection with club rugby, where the Doddie Aid virtual mass-participation exercise challenges were very well supported. I am hoping drinking whisky is an initiative most club members can also get behind!”
Alpha Whisky was formed during the Covid lockdown by a group of old pals who had forged their friendship playing club rugby with or against each other during the 1980s and 1990s.
“A few of us were talking about buying casks, as a bit of a novelty and to learn a bit more about whisky,” continued Watt, who spent 30 years as a scrum-half for Heriot’s, flitting up and down the pecking order between the 5th and 1st XVs. “But the problem we foresaw was that when you buy a cask, you get a nice story about it, you get to stencil your name on it, then you wait for 10 years while it matures. It typically sits in a warehouse somewhere and you don’t get to see it or, more importantly, taste it during that time.”
“So, we decided instead to put the money together and buy various casks at different ages, some of which are closer to being bottled. That meant we were able to taste them, bottle them, label them, and get the experience straight away. There was real enthusiasm for whisky research within the group!”
“We started off with 15 shareholders – or the ‘1st XV’ as we called it – and we are now up to 50 shareholders. We have guys that have played for numerous Scottish clubs, some now living around the world, but when we do catch up the chat doesn’t stray far away from rugby and whisky!”
The cask selected by the Alpha Whisky squad to be Alpha Five is a single cask release, produced from the Royal Brackla Distillery in the Highlands of Scotland, matured for 10 years in an American oak bourbon cask and finished for two years in an Oloroso barrel.
Alpha Whisky now have 80 casks (the equivalent of around 25,000 bottles) sourced from the best distilleries across Scotland, so there are further interesting releases ahead. To keep updated, you can subscribe to a regular newsletter through the following link, click HERE.
If you’re one of the 50 clubs in the Premiership or four National Leagues and haven’t already heard from Alpha Whisky, you can get in touch by contacting Alan at AW@alphawhisky.co.uk