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June 3, 2003

World's first hearing impaired distillery tour

From: (Press Release) - Jun 3, 2003

Speyside Distillery Signs the Way for Deaf Visitors

The Macallan, the award-winning Speyside malt, will this week introduce
guided tours of its Craigellachie distillery for the deaf and
hearing-impaired using British Sign Language (BSL) - the first Scotch whisky
company to do so.

The move follows an increasing number of deaf visitors to the distillery,
which has recently invested £500,000 in a new visitor centre and currently
provides over 12,000 distillery tours a year.

The tour has been developed by Gillian Forsyth, a guide at the distillery
for the past two years, whose father, Gordon, is deaf. Gillian studied BSL
at evening classes in Elgin with BSL tutor Mary Whitaker and worked closely
with the Deaf Association to develop new signs to cover the technical
language of the whisky distillation process.

Gillian said: 'Being brought up within a deaf culture, I see first hand the
problems that deaf people, like my father, encounter. I wanted to develop
the sign language tour so that everybody can enjoy a visit to our unique
distillery - hopefully it will add to their enjoyment of their favourite

Derek Brown, brands heritage director for The Macallan, said that BSL was
the preferred language for 70,000 deaf people in the UK - "more people, deaf
and hearing, use BSL than speak Welsh or Gaelic, and it is a language in its
own right."

Mr Brown added: "We are very excited about these new tours and hope to cater
for a section of the community that has previously been excluded from
getting the most out of distillery visits. This is another step towards
offering our visitors a world-class service and we trust that it will help
enhance the experience for visitors."

Tours are available Monday to Saturday and are free of charge. It is
advisable to book in advance. For further details of the tours please
contact the distillery directly on 01340 872 280 or on line at


For more information contact:
Tara Serafini
PR Manager
07771 981 282