Festival Included Whisky Tasting Event, Traditional Music And Dance, Golf Museum Exhibition
Scotland has benefitted greatly from China’s growing taste for golf and high-end spirits like scotch whisky. As Jing Daily wrote last fall, for many of mainland China’s moneyed elite, luxury consumption depends heavily on image, pedigree, and a sense of “nobility.” As such, with their centuries of history, Scottish cultural exports like scotch and golf have caught on in a big way in China. As we wrote in November:
China’s love affair with the national sport of Scotland, golf, has also spread to the national drink of Scotland — scotch whisky. The Chinese market has become a prime market for Scottish distilleries in the last 10 years, as brands like Chivas Regal (introduced to the Chinese market in 2001) and other Speyside whiskeys like BenRiach and Glendronach (which have entered the market more recently) have attracted the devotion of everyone from scotch connoisseurs to well-heeled bar patrons in China. Chivas in particular has seen business booming as a result of its China expansion, where within a year of entering the country China had become the biggest global market for Chivas. For many scotch brands, which have seen their popularity in western countries steadily diminish in the last few decades as scotch has lost its allure among younger drinkers who increasingly favor vodka, China has great potential since it is a “blank slate” with fewer preconceptions about brands, flavor, region or pedigree.
Reflecting the popularity of Scottish culture among China’s “new nobility” (or those who aspire to join that group), this weekend Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen (previously on Jing Daily) held the “Mission Hills and Scotland Festival.” This festival, held in partnership with Fettes College — a leading boarding school in Edinburgh — included a wide range of activities such as traditional music and dance, as well as a golf museum exhibition. Additionally, a whisky tasting was offered to attendees, though the students of Fettes College were obviously not included in that event. (At least we hope.)
From Sohu’s coverage of the festival (translation by Jing Daily team):
On April 3, Mission Hills Golf Club in Dongguan held a genuine “Scottish Festival,” leaving the more than 400 VIPs in attendance reveling in the unique atmosphere.
Scotland is considered the home of golf. This event brought together whisky tasting, bagpipes, and tartans, all of which symbolize the culture of Scotland. At this large-scale “Scottish Festival,” a student team from the prestigious Fettes College brought together the perfect combination of Scottish cultural elements, performing traditional bagpipe music that left the audience breathless. Later, their highland dancing recital reflected the enthusiasm and bold heroism of the Scottish people, drawing thunderous applause from attendees.
The article goes on to mention the long history of golf in Scotland, saying that the “McEwan Golf Museum” included in the Mission Hills and Scotland Festival illustrated the deep connection between golf and traditional Scottish culture to attendees. Continuing, the article discusses the whisky tasting that also took place as part of the festival, noting that the popularity of scotch whisky is growing in China in tandem with the interest in golf:
If golf fever is sweeping the country, you can say that whisky is also inseparable from Scottish culture. You could say that no other country in the earth is even half as closely linked with whisky. The whiskies of McCallum distillery, founded in 1824, have become some of the most precious in the world, a classic among the most classic luxury brands in the world. The whisky tasting event at the Scotland Festival, [which included McCallum whiskies,] was a hit among the VIPs in attendance.
“To experience such a wide-ranging Scotland Festival this spring at Mission Hills, and get a feel for Scotland’s golf culture and traditional arts really feels like being in the home of golf. It’s been really exciting!” said a chartered Mission Hills member with the surname Li.
Mr. Michael Spens, who traveled to China from Fettes College in Scotland, praised the rapid development of golf in China, saying, “In Scotland, golf is a very popular sport. We at Fettes even have a number of students who play. Although I don’t know how many people golf in China, I think the quality of the facilities at Mission Hills are comparable to those at St. Andrews in Scotland.”
Taking in the sights of Mission Hills Golf Club, Spens said, “Golf has more than 500 years of history in Scotland, and has only developed in China for around 20 years, but in only 17 years Mission Hills has built 216 holes and become the world’s largest golf course. It’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, and I believe the development of golf in China will only pick up speed in coming years.”