MORE than 70 countries will celebrate International Scotch Day on February 8.

Celebrations range from free distillery tours across Scotland to a series of global red carpet events.

Celebrities James Marsden, Suki Waterhouse and Shanina Shaik are launching this year’s event by meeting some of the people behind the craft at the Cambus Cooperage in Alloa.

International Scotch Day is held during the week of the birthday of one of the world’s most influential blenders – Alexander Walker, the son of John ‘Johnnie’ Walker who brought Scotch to the world.

This year’s celebrations will take place in more than 70 countries worldwide, almost double the number of celebrations last year.

Diageo’s distillery visitor centres across Scotland will open their doors free of charge on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week to go behind the scenes of some of the world’s most famous Scotch brands including Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch and Glenkinchie, Talisker, Oban, Dalwhinnie and Cardhu Single Malts.

Tours of the Diageo Archive in Menstrie are already full, with 100 whisky fans given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the heritage of Scotch whisky.

Celebrations will take place in India, Mexico, the Philippines and South Africa involving consumer and media engagements throughout the day, and red-carpet star-studded parties in the evening. Events, PR, social media, broadcast, e-commerce, sampling and in-store and in-bar activity are planned.

James Marsden, supermodel Shanina Shaik and actress Suki Waterhouse will lead a series of special International Scotch Day celebrations. Shaik will celebrate in Johannesburg, Marsden will travel to Manila and Delhi and Waterhouse will be in Mexico City to celebrate the day.

“I can’t think of a better place to be than in Mexico City for International Scotch Day”, said Waterhouse. “Scotch has always been my go to drink and I have such an appreciation for its history and complexities”

Marsden said he celebrated in Manila yesterday and will be continuing celebrations in Delhi tomorrow. “Scotch has always been one of my favourite drinks and I’m excited to travel to these two incredible cities to experience International Scotch Day with my fellow Scotch enthusiasts,” he said.

When asked to describe her favourite thing about Scotch, Shanina Shaik said, “I love that it’s a drink that’s withstood time. It’s gone from a classic drink to one that mixologists can modernize with delicious ingredients”.

Ronan Beirne, global brand marketing director at Diageo said: “Last year’s International Scotch Day was a huge success and this year we wanted to turn up the volume and make it even more of a celebration with our three global ambassadors and events in many more markets.

“The world’s love affair with Scotch continues to grow, and just last month we reported global net sales growth of three per cent in Scotch whisky – with the world’s favourite whisky, Johnnie Walker, growing by seven per cent.

“We chose to shoot the campaign creative at the iconic Cambus Cooperage against a backdrop of casks representing a tradition of craftsmanship that dates back centuries, alongside these three stylish personalities enjoying

a Scotch together.”