Whisky at Geraldo's - A Brief History


How did the little Largs ice cream shop become a whisky wonderland? To kick off Whisky Month and ahead of World Whisky Day, we thought we'd take a little trip down memory lane...  

As a family-owned and operated business, we have always focused on small-scale, family-run, and local producers. As we expanded into the world of whisky and premium spirits, it made sense that we looked for local producers to stock the shelves. With a limited license provision in the shop, deciding who gets space is an important job!

“It’s really important that new products are not available in the supermarkets, first and foremost. I also like to work closely with distilleries and the people behind them so small, independent distilleries where the people are just as important as the whisky are my ideal choice.” – Toni Dawson, Owner and Managing Director, Geraldo’s.

One of the first whiskies we sold, and still one of our best-sellers, was from the Isle of Arran Distillery at Lochranza. They are our most local whisky distillery, and their shared values of championing local, small-scale products make the brand an ideal fit at Geraldo’s, as Mariella Romano, Arran Distillery’s Global Brand Ambassador& Brand Manager, explains:

“We are in awe of the Geraldo’s owner Toni, her work ethic and the wonders she has done with the shop. She lives and breathes it with a true passion which you can feel resonating among the team. Shared good values across the companies, combined with Toni’s love of our whiskies have been instrumental in us building a strong partnership over the years, supporting a fellow local and independent Scottish business while growing side by side.”

To celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2020, we collaborated with the distillery on an Arran Single Cask 10-year-old whisky, bottled exclusively for the Geraldo’s. That cask only yielded 295 bottles, so it was a truly unique offering. (There are just a few bottles left if you want to own a slice of history!)

“It is collaborations like these which keep feeding into the main reason why we love working with Geraldo’s – their commitment to providing the best possible shopping experience by real people with a real passion for what they do, attention to detail and genuine kindness.” – Mariella Romano, Global Brand Ambassador & Brand Manager, Isle of Arran Distillers.

Some of the team on a visit to the Isle of Arran Distillery

As our reputation as a purveyor of premium local whiskies has grown, so has the need for in-store expertise. In 2017, Toni and Senior Customer Assistant Alison became qualified Whisky Ambassadors with The Whisky Ambassador training scheme. Just a few years later, in July 2020, friend of the shop and whisky connoisseur James Gillies came on board as our official ‘Geraldo’s Whisky Ambassador’.

James’ passion for and expert knowledge of whisky has been critical in sourcing new producers for the shop. When Lochlea Distillery was seeking out retailers for their inaugural malt in 2022, James was their first port of call:

“When I spoke with James Gillies to see if Geraldo’s would be a good fit for Lochlea, his enthusiasm for the whisky we were making was abundant. […] As a young distillery, finding retailers that are as passionate about the project as we are is incredibly important, and so when the time came, we were extremely pleased to partner with Geraldo’s as a stockist.” – Patrick Dupuy, Business Development Executive, Lochlea Distilling Co.

Lochlea was one of the first lowland distilleries we featured in the shop, and it’s another local hero from Ayrshire. Sited on the very farm where Robert Burns once worked, the team have adopted a farm-first approach, and Lochlea is one of only two distillers that make whisky from their own barley, which is grown on-site. These selling points make Lochlea whisky a unique option for tourists looking to take a slice of Ayrshire home with them, which is just another reason their partnership with us works:

“Geraldo’s location in Largs means they are well placed to take advantage of the tourism Largs benefits from. As a small, independent distillery, getting our bottles into the hands of people that have come to the area from far and wide is fantastic, and helps to expose more people to our whiskies. The team’s dedication to local produce is clear, and they are very supportive of our releases.” - Patrick Dupuy.

To mark Whisky Month this May, we’re dedicating our free Saturday in-store tastings to some of our favourite whiskies, including Lochlea! Find out more on our Events page and browse our full range of premium whiskies online and in-store today.


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