SWC was formed in 2017 to bring together and extend the whisky-loving community in and around Southport. Meeting regularly at one of Remedy’s bar/coffee shops in the town, a vibrant group developed over several years, enjoying an increasingly diverse range of whiskies as members shared finds and experiences from their own whisky journeys.
Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SWC was among the first to adapt, pivoting to virtual tastings for members and, in so doing, making itself accessible to other whisky-lovers from around the UK and beyond. By offering regular online gatherings that combined much-needed social interaction and great whisky, SWC enjoyed rapid growth in membership, which has enriched the community and enabled the club to attract the attention of many distillers and independent bottlers. Valued industry relationships have been (and continue to be) built, which SWC uses to access sought-after whiskies, and regularly announce exclusive cask releases, for the enjoyment of members.
As a club run on a not-for-profit basis, membership subscriptions and the sale of bottles from the club’s online shop have supported the build-up of funds for the ongoing benefit of SWC members. This included development during 2021 of The Mash, a private tasting room attached to Remedy Churchtown: in addition to being home to the club’s activities locally, it will increasingly become an integral part of SWC’s events, including its annual winter and summer festivals. We want all SWC members to visit, have chance to enjoy its character, and create whisky memories there!
At its core, whisky is about connection – with illuminating history, diverse geography, and many rich traditions. Most importantly, however, it’s about connection with others in a fun and positive environment.
SWC is committed to listening to, and constantly striving to deliver on, the views of its members. With renewed demand for in-person gatherings/tastings, SWC runs a regular programme of events and tastings at The Mash, and is increasingly complementing this with in-person events around the UK for members in different regions. In addition, it runs a diverse range of online sessions, including club nights and ‘Grand Dramming’ evenings, to bring the wider membership together. The club would be delighted to hear of further initiatives that members might wish to bring forward for consideration and action.
Message from Bekky Harrison (Chair, SWC)
Thank you for considering, or being a member of, Southport Whisky Club.
I joined SWC in late 2020, at a time when restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic were at their height: whether to attend social events, meet friends or see loved ones. More importantly than the Glenfarclas exclusive bottlings and online tasting sessions that initially attracted me, I found the opportunity to be part of a relaxed and welcoming community, where connections mattered just as much as the whisky, an incredibly refreshing change from the day-to-day limitations on all our lives. It also offered me the chance to try many sought-after drams and gain a lot of whisky knowledge!
I’m delighted to act as SWC Chair, at a time when – happily! – life is increasingly returning to normal, and particularly keen to facilitate conversations that help us deliver the best value and experience for our members, grow our community and further our passion for whisky.
DramCo has been set up as a mechanism to give all members a voice, to share ideas and thoughts, but also provide transparency and inspire confidence around governance and the use/development of club funds. So please use it! If you have a question, want to raise a topic, share an idea, or challenge something the club is doing, please do approach me, or any member of DramCo, and we’d be delighted to listen, discuss and ensure members’ views are represented.
I feel privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to a club I’ve rapidly grown to love – despite the geographical distance from me! – and look forward to sharing many drams together with you in the months and years ahead.
SWC’s objectives are to promote the enjoyment of whisky among like-minded people and support a friendly community, brought together by the same passion. To help us achieve these aims, SWC operates just a few rules that it expects all members to observe:
- Use of social media channels: SWC’s members’ WhatsApp and other channels are an important means of connecting the community. While SWC encourages whisky chat and many other topics besides, we would ask that all members do so in a way that respects others and promotes inclusion. Anyone posting harmful or offensive content may be removed from the channels temporarily; where considered sufficiently serious by DramCo, the club ultimately reserves the right to terminate membership with immediate effect and without refund.
- Club bottles and members’ discount: SWC is regularly able to secure allocations of sought-after whiskies and exclusive cask opportunities, which it does for the benefit of members. It also offers members a 10% discount on the majority of bottles purchased through the club’s online shop. While the club takes a relaxed approach to bottle ownership – once bought, we believe a bottle is yours to do with as you wish – we do view the use of the club discount to regularly secure bottles for non-members, or for the purposes of resale for profit, to be against the spirit of the club. Members found to be doing this may have the discount removed temporarily; repeated breaches may, if considered appropriate by DramCo, result in permanent removal of club discount and/or termination of membership with immediate effect and without refund.
- Fundraising: As a community, SWC is delighted to host regular charity events that are invariably well-supported by members and have raised substantial sums for good causes, both locally and internationally. SWC welcomes the opportunity to do more, so if you have an event or fund-raising activity you’d like to run through the club, or wish to promote your own charity event, please put it to a member of DramCo for consideration before advertising on club channels.
- Signposting: While SWC encourages members to use club channels to freely share whisky info about bottles and events, members are reminded that these exist for the benefit of SWC and it’s members, excessive sharing of information, or that which is for a member’s commercial gain, is not in the spirit of the club and may, as considered appropriate by DramCo, result in temporary or permanent removal from club channels.
- Bottle splits: SWC encourages bottle splits as a great way to experience a more diverse range of, or unusual/sought-after, whiskies. However, shares or splits being advertised elsewhere, that compete with SWC tastings or are run for a member’s commercial gain, are not in the spirit of the club. Members found abusing club channels for these purposes may, as considered appropriate by DramCo, be removed from club channels temporarily or permanently.
DramCo comprises a small group of SWC members, whose role is to support the development and transparent governance of the club for the benefit of all members. DramCo meets quarterly, or more frequently as required, to propose and/or consider new ideas and generally advise on the direction of the club (including events, cask and/or bottling opportunities, memberships and so on).
- Chris Arnott
- Sabine Glienke
- Bekky Harrison (Chair)
- John Hill
- Stuart Lachs
- Victor Porter
- Paul Stevens (Treasurer)
- Margot Tenenbaum
OpCo comprises a small group of local SWC members who organise and run the events, social media, websites, pack/delivery orders (and generally work hard!)
- Peter Hunt
- Dan Jones
- Nigel Misson
- Rich Neve
- Victor Porter
- John Watkinson