The new Cabinet Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science has visited Heriot-Watt University - as part of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight.
Richard Lochhead MSP, toured the University's renowned International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) today (Thursday).
Every year, the ICBD produces graduates who go on to work for the drinks industry or set up their own distilleries and breweries.
The Centre is unique, as it is the only one in the UK to offer both Undergraduate and Master's degrees in Brewing and Distilling.
During the visit, Mr Lochhead met with senior staff and was shown the Scottish botanicals library as well as small scale copper and glass stills used in the production of spirits.
The Minister was also given an insight into the making of a special “Freshers Whisky” and took part in spirit nosing and tasting.
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead said: “As the new Minister for Higher Education I fully recognise that our world-leading universities are one of Scotland's greatest strengths.
“And as part of Scotland's Food and Drink Fortnight I was delighted to visit the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling based at Heriot Watt, one of our biggest assets in supporting the development of high level skills and stimulating innovation in the drinks sector.
“I was extremely impressed with the creativity and imagination I saw from the students I met today in developing new concoctions that will help ensure the sector builds on its success and continues to thrive.”
Professor Richard A. Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Heriot-Watt University said: “We were delighted to meet the new Cabinet Minister and highlight our first-class facility in the art of brewing and distilling, especially during Scottish Food & Drink Week.
“The ICBD is a unique teaching and research facility based on a partnership working between industry and academics all around the world.
“Heriot-Watt has graduates leading the industry all over the world active in the drink sector and setting global standards in sustainability and environmental practices.
Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight is an annual celebration of Scotland's outstanding produce, managed by Scotland Food & Drink and supported by the Scottish Government.