10 year conservation partnership supports the Black Grouse and welcomes a rise in numbers

Magnus Blend, Trade News

RSPB Scotland and The Famous Grouse celebrate a decade of wildlife conservation work this month and announce further plans to continue to protect the enigmatic black grouse that takes centre stage on the new design of The Famous Grouse Smoky Black bottle.

The partnership between RSPB Scotland and Scotland’s favourite whisky was forged in 2008 and associated with The Black Grouse blend which was renamed The Famous Grouse Smoky Black in 2015. This year, The Famous Grouse Smoky Black packaging has been refreshed, offering a more premium finish inspired by the Black Grouse.

The partnership was established to improve habitats for resident black grouse on four RSPB reserves in the UK following a rapid decline of the species between 1995 and 2005. To date, the partnership with the smooth, sweet and peaty blend has raised over £650,000 for black grouse conservation and has helped to drive an overall 30% increase of black grouse on these reserves

The conservation efforts have enabled the charity to deliver work across 85,000 acres of land including planting 185,000 trees, marking deer fences to avoid collisions and the mowing of 75 acres of heather.

The success in the early years of the partnership has allowed the RSPB to extend conservation management to a further two sites as well as help purchase RSPB Scotland’s Crannach nature reserve in Deeside, Scotland. Going forward, donations from The Famous Grouse Smoky Black will allow the charity to continue their work on their current reserves.

The Famous Grouse has supported the RSPB as they attend a number of events around the country. Through tasting and sampling sessions, the aromatic whisky featuring the black grouse on its bottle’s design is a unique tool to engage and educate the community on the charity’s black grouse conservation work.

Chris Bailey, Advisory Manager at RSPB Scotland, said “The recent reports on black grouse numbers across southern Scotland remind us how vital it is to work in partnership to help this species. Our relationship with The Famous Grouse has provided the RSPB with an amazing opportunity to deliver so much positive management aimed at black grouse conservation on our reserves”.

The Famous Grouse partnership manager, Stephanie Harvey, said “We are proud to have supported the RSPB’s black grouse conservation efforts over these last 10 years. In protecting the habitat of our flagship species, we are helping Scotland’s wildlife to thrive so that it can be enjoyed by future generations. Our common values make this partnership feel like a natural fit and we look forward to continuing our work to protect the enigmatic black grouse.”

The Famous Grouse Smoky Black is the first expression in the Blender’s Edition range – a unique collection of blended whiskies, each with distinctive signature flavours and characters. The Famous Grouse Smoky Black uses a rare peated version of Glenturret Single Malt, from Scotland’s oldest working distillery, to create a perfectly balanced smooth, sweet and peaty blend.