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A Taste of Scotland: Alexandria Whisky Tasting Brings Out Philanthropists and Spirit-Lovers

Annual event raises funds for Campagna Center

Lrge room filled with people
The Atrium at 277 S. Washington Street was a perfect venue for the 2023 Taste of Scotland. (Photo: Eliza North)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Wherever there is a party in Alexandria, there likely is some worthy cause behind it. In this case, the spirit of giving and celebrating the joy of the season benefited the Campagna Center, and was sponsored by The Goodhart Group.

The Campagna Center, one of Alexandria’s leading not-for-profit organizations, equips children and families with a comprehensive set of tools they need to thrive and succeed. Since 1945, they have served the community by offering a range of programs that foster a dedication to learning among children, youth, and adults. Over 2,000 children and families take advantage of their services on a daily basis.

Man and woman standing next to each other smiling at camera.
Taste of Scotland sponsors Marty and Sue Goodhart, of the Goodhart Group. (Photo: Eliza North)

The event on December 1 brought together whisky enthusiasts and philanthropists to “A Taste of Scotland,” a showcasing a curated selection of Scotland’s finest whiskys , which was a perfect way to kick off the 52nd Annual Scottish Parade weekend. 

One of the guests, Lindsay Hutter, who was chairman of the board for Campagna Center from 2001-2002 said, “I grew up in Illinois, I’m not a Virginia native, and yet Alexandria is a city which welcomes people who have a heart to serve. Centuries ago Alexandria was founded by Scots, who couldn’t afford the tobacco land and so they turned the swamplands of Alexandria into a seaport town. And here we are centuries later celebrating the Scottish Christmas Walk. Decades ago, when Campagna Center sought to bring the community together, they wanted to honor the Scottish roots of Alexandria and I think that’s really special. I take part in it every year, it’s a stunning blend of our Scottish history.”

Three people looking at camera dressed well.
Andrew Palmieri, Denise Palmieri Lindsay Hutter. (Photo by Eliza North)

When asked what she finds rewarding about being part of the organization, Lindsay said, “The world has no future unless we have children who are loved, cared for and supported to be the very best citizens they can be. That’s the mission of Campagna. They reach into the community of Alexandria and find the children who are in danger of falling through the cracks. This organization lifts them up.”

Guests were treated to a diverse range, from smooth and mellow expressions to robust and peaty varieties. Whisky servers were on hand to guide attendees through the rich history of Scottish distilleries as well as provide a nuanced educational experience into the flavors of each dram, creating an immersive experience for all.

Lisa Collis, Senator Mark Warner, Dr Tammy L. Mann. (Photo by Eliza North)

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) commented, “Tonight is about the children. For somebody who has lived in Alexandria for around 40 years, this is my hometown and Campagna Center does such important work to bring this community together. I feel honored to be here supporting them.”

When asked whether he leans toward more of a peaty or smooth scotch, the senator said, “this is classified information and may get me thrown out, but I am more of a wine guy than [a] scotch [drinker].” 

Bald man standing next to an easel with a poster for Taste of Scotland.
Don Lubreski takes a break by the Taste of Scotland poster. (Photo by Eliza North)

“This is a big weekend for the city and for us,” said Campagna Center President and CEO Dr Tammy L. Mann.  “The Taste of Scotland event is a very important part of what helps us generate resources to serve our community, by providing assistance for those unable to access education. But for so many of us here at Campagna, what we do touches us on a personal level. One of our programs called New Neighbors that helps adult refugees, looking for a better life for themselves is a constant reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a country that doesn’t prevent us from pursuing our dreams. Every time I enter a classroom and see some of these individuals, I see how these opportunities change the trajectory of their lives. That’s deeply meaningful to me, and we have a chance to be part of that sort of impact. I know what it feels like to grow up and have dreams without always having the opportunities readily available. I grew up seeing members of my community experience a scarcity of resources and this has had a deeply meaningful impact on my life. This mission is personal to me.”

When asked if she had a personal message for young people who may not have all they need, “Don’t lose hope. There are organizations out there that are ready to put their arms around you and really help you to make your dreams a reality.”

People standing at a tasting table waiting for whiskey samples.
Distilleries from Scotland were in the room sharing samples at the Taste of Scotland in Alexandria, Virginia, 2023. (Photo: Eliza North)

The Atrium at 277 S. Washington Street was transformed into a cozy haven, adorned with tartan decorations and the warm glow of Christmas lights. As guests mingled and sampled the distinct flavors of Scottish whisky and hors d’oeuvres, the air was filled with laughter, camaraderie, and the shared joy of giving back to the community.

Booths were stationed around the venue, providing information about the educational initiatives the fundraiser aimed to support.

Don Lubreski, Chief Financial Officer for Campagna told Zebra Press that all  proceeds from any fundraiser gets tracked from the donations all the way down to the individual who receives aid. Much of the Campagna Center’s funding comes from the government, and every penny must be tallied. “I see exactly where these funds go and it is very rewarding to see the difference it makes for me on a personal level,” said Lubreski. 

Attendees expressed their appreciation not only for the exquisite whiskey selections but also for the opportunity to make a meaningful impact through their contributions. The confluence of holiday spirit, cultural exploration, and philanthropy created a truly memorable evening for all involved.

Plaid covered table with whisky samples.
Guests sampling the peaty Islay whiskey collection: Lephroig, Ardbeg, Lagavulli, Kilchoman, Bowmore.  (Photo: Eliza North)

The whisky connoisseurs played a pivotal role in elevating the event, offering insightful narratives about the heritage and craftsmanship behind each whisky. Guests were not merely sampling beverages but embarking on a sensory journey that deepened their appreciation for the artistry and complexity of Scottish whisky.

As glasses clinked and stories were shared, the true essence of the season unfolded – a coming together of individuals with a shared commitment to making a positive difference. 

Click the picture to see our gallery on Facebook. All pictures by Eliza North. [SEE ALSO: ALX Community Recognized by New York-Based Business Publication]

Eliza North

Eliza North is a British/American writer. She is currently a freelance reporter at Zebra Press. Eliza studied Social Sciences at Kensington and Chelsea College, and went on to earn her Bachelors in Psychology at the University of Kent in Canterbury England. She recently graduated from The University of Cambridge, earning her Masters degree in Creative Writing.

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