The last known bottle of Nippy Sweetie, a miniature bottle of ScotchWhisky produced especially for
Billy Connolly, has been donated to Glasgow Museums by leading global Whisky firm, Douglas Laing
and Co. The limited edition Scotch Whisky, blended and bottled by the Glasgow-based family
company, was sold at the Big Yin’s early concerts and features a picture of the musician and
comedian on the label.
Inspired by the Art of Billy Connolly exhibition currently on show at the People’s Palace, featuring over 40 of Billy’s own works of arts alongside memorabilia from his career, Managing Director of Douglas Laing & Co, Fred Laing, thought it’d be a fine idea to donate the quirky artefact to Glasgow’s collection for all the public to see.
Fred Laing said: “Billy Connolly’s Nippy Sweetie instils a real feeling of nostalgia in me. Back in the 70s – when I first joined the family business - my father and I bottled this Blended Whisky for the Big Yin. It was sold at his shows by the lady who also sold the ice creams, and we proudly believe it was as synonymous with Billy as his beard and trademark hairdo.
“We’re delighted to donate this piece of Glasgow history - our only remaining bottle of Nippy Sweetie - to the collection and can only hope it proves to be something of a conversation piece for his fans. For me it was a bit of fun in the normally more serious business of Scotch Whisky.
I well remember Billy and I travelled together on a flight to London, after which he graciously offered me a lift in his limo – to save me taking the tube! – and a limo it was, big enough for us and 10 others!”
Fred Laing began his enviable career in the Whisky industry at Whyte & Mackay in the 1960s, followed by White Horse Distillers in the mid 1970s, before he proved the value of nepotism by joining his father at Douglas Laing & Co. Incidentally, the exhibition is also home to Connolly’s handmade guitar, constructed from a White Horse Whisky box.
The Nippy Sweetie was produced in the 1970’s, around the time Billy was selling out venues in his home town and he made his first infamous appearance on the BBC’s prime time chat show presented by Michael Parkinson. Since then, Billy’s anarchic humour and outlandish stand-up has secured his status as a comedy great and one of Scotland’s favourite sons.
Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham, said: “The People’s Palace tells the story of the people and city of Glasgow from 1750 to the present - without reference to Billy Connolly this story would be incomplete. This generous gift from Douglas Laing & Co will certainly be a talking point for the public, and the image of the Nippy Sweetie being sold on the aisles at Billy’s concerts is sure to capture the imagination our visitors.
“We would like to thank Fred Laing for donating this fabulous piece of social history to Glasgow’s collection. The People’s Palace is rightly regarded as one of the city’s best loved attractions and it is absolutely the right place for the Nippy Sweetie to be displayed. ”
Glasgow Museums has also acquired ‘Glaswegian Icarus’, an original drawing by Billy Connolly along with the limited edition print of ‘High Horse’, both are currently on display as part of the Art of Billy Connolly.
Art of Billy Connolly runs at Glasgow’s People’s Palace until 18th February 2016.