Subject Material

Uisge Beatha - Water of Life

Published: 24.04.2012, Updated: 04.03.2017
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A Scottish Terrier in whisky shop on Edinburgh's Royal Mile A Scottish Terrier in whisky shop on Edinburgh's Royal Mile  

Whisky ExperienceWhisky Experience Did you know that whisky is the best known of Scotland's manufactured exports? Today the whisky industry creates

41,000 jobs. Whisky distilling was first introduced to Scotland by their neighbours in the west, the Irish. Ironically, whisky was first used in monasteries where it was prescribed for medical purposes, whereas today the focus is on the health damage caused by excessive whisky drinking.

Listen to this recording where one of the guides in the Scotch Whisky Experience Center gives us the essence of what a  visitor to the Center learns about whisky by taking part in a tour.

Whisky guide tour


Tasks and Activities


Whisky Experience - Comprehension 


Find out

  1. According to Wikipedia Scotch Whisky contributes 800 million pounds to the Scottish economy every year.
  2. Use the following four search words: Scotch + whisky + exports + economy and find out:
    • the top ten markets for exports of Scotch whisky
    • put your findings into a table
  3. Try to compare the importance of whisky production to other sources of income in Scotland. What impact does it seem that whisky has on the Scottish economy?
  4. Use the following search words on sites such as the BBC, The Guardian,  The Herald and The Scotsman: Scottish economy + UK economy + independence + devolution. What is the current debate regarding Scottish independence from the UK?  What role does economy have in this discussion?


  1. Whisky might have been produced for as many as 1500 years in Scotland. It is closely linked to Scottish identity. Discuss the reasons for this. You may find these websites useful  The Scotch Whisky Experience  and History of Scotch Whisky.
  2. Scotch Whisky is a globally recognised brand, and the whisky industry has succeeded in their marketing campaigns. Does this raise ethical issues? Discuss what problems might be concealed behind the façade?