New Zealand Brothers Smuggle Whisky Across UK Waters
Known as The Whisky Smugglers, brothers Alex and Nick Ravenhall, are embarking on a series of wild water swims in some of the UK’s most treacherous waters, all with bottles of whisky strapped to their bodies, to raise money for Sea Shepherd New Zealand.
This Summer, the New Zealand-born pair will undergo multiple swims, including traversing The Corryvreckan and the crossing Channel, whilst transporting drams of whisky to be blended and sold as limited-edition scotch whisky. Teaming up with some of UK’s leading whisky distilleries, the drams will be used to create bespoke cask whiskies, which will be sold later this year to raise money to help protect and conserve New Zealand’s waters.
The Māori brothers founded Whisky and Waves, an ocean awareness campaign, to call attention to the vulnerability of the earth’s beautiful waterways. Rather than taking a pedestrian fund-raising route, Alex and Nick use both their skills as accomplished wild swimmers and their sense of adventure to draw attention to the importance of our seas, rivers and lakes. The pair felt a special calling to work with Sea Shepherd on this project, whose charity work includes protecting Maui’s dolphins, endemic to New Zealand, drawn in by the ancient old proverb which says; 'He tu te Pahu, He tu te Tai' – If the dolphin is well, so too are our coast.
Nick and Alex spent their childhood growing up in the lush fauna on the coast, regularly swimming with their father, and this, alongside their innate Māori responsibility to protect nature, ignited the brothers’ passion to do more to protect their homeland. They united on creating a campaign that would encourage a wider global responsibility for overfishing, poaching and environmental waste which have all destroyed marine populations and polluted the seas. Both working in the drinks industry, the pair decided to tackle the problem in the sphere of whisky, which is all too often associated with exclusivity, hedonism and excess.
The brothers now based in the UK both work in the new world whisky scene. Nick is the Managing Director for Edinburgh’s innovative Holyrood Distillery, whilst Alex is Head of Events for Atom Brands, whose clients include the famous independent whisky bottling brand Boutique-y Whisky Company.
The accomplished swimmers have already embarked on some of the world’s most notorious swims, raising $11,000 for Sea Shepherd in 2019. In August 2021 as part of their Whisky & Waves initiative the duo will swim The Corryvreckan, the world’s third largest whirlpool, which is situated between the Isles of Jura and Scarba in the Scottish Hebrides, alongside 6 swimmers. A further swim is planned later this year, from Bruichladdich to Bowmore. Both swims will be completed with smuggled whisky with the intent to release further fundraising bottlings for Sea Shepherd.
Nick Ravenhall commented: “This adventure is really about telling a story. A story that hopefully reminds whisky drinkers that if you love your drams then you've got to care about water health and ultimately that means looking after the sea”