Published: September 30, 2005

Drambuie-Kirkliston loses sponsorship

The Drambuie-Kirkliston Pipe Band, winners of the Grade 2 event at the 2005 World Pipe Band Championships and the RSPBA’s Champions of Champions title in that grade, has lost its sponsorship after 15 years with the maker of the once-popular whisky liqueur.

The MacKinnon family, which has owned and operated the company since its inception in the 1700s, has suffered from financial difficulties, relinquishing the managing directorship of the company to Phil Parnell, formerly head of United Distillers. Parnell has cleaned house and has set about to re-launch the once-strong brand to a new generation. Plans do not include sponsoring a pipe band.

“Our current sponsor, The Drambuie Liqueur Co. Ltd., find themselves in a position where they are withdrawing from all sponsorship activity,” says Ian Duncan, pipe-major of Drambuie-Kirkliston. “The company have supported the band for more than 15 years, but are unfortunately undergoing an organizational restructuring. This unfortunately leaves us looking for a new sponsor.”

Duncan adds that he is upbeat about the band’s chances of landing a new sponsor saying that its competition record in 2005 will help and that the band will drop the “Kirkliston” from its name with a new sponsor.

The band is almost certain to be upgraded to Grade 1 by the RSPBA after the association’s grading meeting on September 24.

Drambuie’s sponsorship deal was seen as one of the more lucrative in the pipe band world, with the band outfitted with three uniforms and three different kilts. Ian Duncan is experienced at securing sponsorships, and negotiated deals with his former band, Vale of Atholl, when it found funding from ScotRail in the 1980s, and McNaughton’s weavers in the 1990s.

Said one piping insider, “I used to always buy Drambuie because they were supporters of the piping and drumming scene. I’m now switching to Glayva to enjoy after my Glenfiddich. It’s better anyway and doesn’t give me heartburn.”

Duncan stressed that the band’s leading-drummer, Alex Dudgeon, will continue to hold the post in 2006.

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