Joe Brandi

by Andrew Stein

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Joe Brandi is Speyside. As the proprietor of Craigellachie’s famous Fiddichside Inn for the last fifty years and having lived in the region his entire life, Joe embodies everything great about this part of the world. His bar sits in a room no bigger than 200 square feet with a warming fireplace and a constant stream of locals sharing their stories of old. When asked what’s changed in Craigellachie over the years, Joe mentions only the disappearance of the railroad stop. Naturally, we ask when that happened, and he responds in 1968. In other words, not a lot has changed. Prior to tending to Fiddichside, Joe spent some of his youth working as a generalist at the Macallan Distillery and afterwards as a cooper making the beautiful oak casks in which the local Scotch matured. His shaky hands pouring semi-measured drinks, the pictures lining the walls of his family, and the rainbow of scotches from golden to reddish to dark wood, all create a memory of Speyside we will not soon forget.