Raise a Glass… and more!

Monday 27 March, 2017

Portrait of beer and whiskey writer Michael Jackson by Maurice Bennett

Thanks to Regional Wines and Spirits for letting us use this toast portrait of beer and whiskey writer Michael Jackson by the late great Maurice Bennett!


Since 2007, the international whiskey community has remembered Michael Jackson on his birthday – by raising a glass, and money to fight Parkinson’s. (The famous whisky writer struggled with Parkinson’s late in his life).

To put it simply, International Whisk(e)y Day is the coming together of whisky fans across the globe to celebrate the greatest spirit in the world (no matter how you spell it).

Do we really need more motivation to enjoy a dram of whisk(e)y with our friends?


See the IWDNZ 2017 Events page to find where to raise a dram for Parkinson’s NZ.

About #IWDNZ

Because Michael was from the UK, the original event suggested all fundraising monies be raised for Parkinson’s UK. Since then, however, they have begun encouraging a broader interpretation. Spiritus contacted Parkinson’s NZ, and they are excited about this opportunity. Check their website fundraising page for any number or ways to donate.

Parkinson’s NZ

Parkinson’s New Zealand provides support, education and information for the 10,000 New Zealanders living with Parkinson’s, their families, carers and health professionals. They are excited about this opportunity and your potential support! They provided two links to help you understand more about the impact of Parkinson’s on two New Zealanders. If you can spare 4 mins to watch both, I’m sure you will be moved to take action.

A Poem – by Andy McDowell
xplaining some effects – Young and Shaky

The IWD organisation

It was officially and originally launched at the Whisky Festival Northern Netherlands, in the presence of various whisky writers, among whom Charles MacLean, Dave Broom, Martine Nouet and Helen Arthur. “This was our initiative to honour our late friend Michael Jackson and we approached various whisky friends for support.”

The official announcement read:

On this date let every whisk(e)y lover annually raise a dram – where ever in the world he or she may be – to honour the many unsung heroes of the past and present, who have been crafting the King o’Drinks for centuries and will hopefully continue to do so till the end of time.

www.internationalwhiskyday.org #whiskyday2017



How can I get involved?

There are no rules for this – whatever suits you or your bar and customers.

The IWD site says:


Our ideas include:

  • collection boxes in bars on the day
  • a donation included in the purchase of selected whisk(e)y
  • a poster promoting Parkinson’s New Zealand

And bars and retailers, please contact us so that we can support you and promote your participation.


More Information

What about World Whisky Day?

World Whisky Day is a commercial endeavor promoting whisky without a charity focus held in May that stepped in when IWD went through a bit of a slump. Now that the original is back up and roaring, though, it’s time to get behind it.

Who is Spiritus and why are we telling you about International Whisk(e)y Day?

As beer lovers and whiskey lovers, the team at Spiritus were pleased to see that IWD was back up and thriving, but noticed in 2015 that New Zealand wasn’t participating. We are fans of Michael Jackson’s work and we think it’s a great idea for the international community of whisk(e)y lovers to come together in his honour, raising a dram in aid of Parkinson’s.

Spiritus is an innovative, craft spirit distributor. We are passionate about the industry, and want to make a difference. We have a curated product range, only from distillers whose sole focus is to create amazing spirits – mainly in small quantities, supporting their local communities.

Promoting International Whisk(e)y Day is our way of celebrating their talent – and giving something back to our local community.

We will support/drive this initiative in NZ by:

  • promoting the concept
  • co-ordinating some publicity of the day – posters/advertising/media release
  • running a donation matching competition
  • working with Parkinson’s NZ who can support with posters/collection boxes and even a t-shirt or two to help the effort
  • publishing a list of participating retailers, and promoting #IWDNZ and #WHISKYDAYSELFIE
  • and….any other ideas that you may have?