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Turkish businessman follows his passion for whisky industry and opens shop in Inverness

By Neil MacPhail

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Ferit and Sila Gur outside their new shop.
Ferit and Sila Gur outside their new shop.

A DREAM of opening his own whisky shop has become a reality for Ferit Gur.

He has left the sunnier climate of the Middle East to migrate with his wife and daughter to set up in the Highland capital thanks to his passion for single malts and all things relating to the Scottish whisky industry.

It is a passion that developed in the early years of his career when he worked in London for an international marketing agency which had a global alcoholic beverages giant as a client.

Mr Gur said: “I did a lot of work for that company and gained extensive knowledge and insight about the beverages market in general.

“At a more personal level, I was also very interested in learning more about Scotch whisky and started visiting Scotland almost 15 years ago.

“I visited many Scotch distilleries since then and tried tasting as many single malts as possible. Eventually I moved back home and started my own business importing Scotch whiskies into Turkey.

“My visits to Scotland turned into business trips and eventually with my wife Sila and daughter Ada, who starts primary school next year, moved here in the summer of 2018.

“Opening my very own whisky shop in Scotland was always my dream and my dream came true here in Inverness in September.”

The Highland Whisky Shop is at 23 Castle Street, previously home to a Christian bookshop.

Mr Gur’s first couple of years in Scotland were spent as an international business consultant for Scottish whisky distilleries, helping his client companies grow their business abroad.

“We moved to Inverness to be closer to the Scotch whisky distilleries,” he said. “We arrived in early February 2019 and the pandemic hit the following month! I have spent the last two years here and felt so lucky to live in the Highlands during these strange times.

“I absolutely love the city, the people and the unique culture of the region. During this period, I decided to open my own whisky shop, towards becoming a local in Inverness and meeting more whisky friends here. And of course, for continuing to enjoy the beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

“We are an independent family business. Both myself and my wife Sila work at the shop with Alister Mackay who worked for us from the very beginning of our venture.”

A selection of whisky delights on display.
A selection of whisky delights on display.

When searching for premises friends suggested Castle Street had great business potential, especially in the summer.

Mr Gur said: “I heard about Highland Council’s new project for Inverness Castle to become a major tourist attraction after opening the shop and became extremely happy.

“Tourists visiting Inverness are surprised, and even upset, when they learn that it is not open to the public, so the project is a very good investment for the city and many local businesses like us will benefit from the new development when it is opened.

“We currently offer only single malt Scotch whiskies, mostly from the Highland region, and premium Scottish gins produced at whisky distilleries. We want to continue with this concept for some time as single malt Scotch whisky is a great product, loved by both the visitors and the locals.

“We also have a corner for special whiskies like distillery exclusive bottlings, special releases and discontinued bottles. We continuously grow our Scotch whisky range including rare and hard-to-find bottles.

“We have a good range of whisky-related items such as glasses, whisky stones, hip flasks, quaichs, whisky-infused fudge, whisky books, etc. They are great gift ideas for the whisky lovers.

“We all love living in Inverness. I always say that it’s the most beautiful city in Scotland. Every time we walk in the city and cross one of the bridges Ada keeps saying ‘Inverness, my city!’”

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