Whisky Movie ‘The Water of Life’ Premieres On PBS This June

, | June 8, 2022

A new documentary film on whisky, “The Water of Life,” will make its U.S. broadcast debut across the PBS Network this June.

Filmed in six countries, on three continents, over the course of three years, The Water of Life tells the story of what’s described as the creative revolution that saved Scotland’s once-sagging whisky industry and turned it into the vibrant industry it is today.

Picked up by the network’s syndication arm PBS Plus, the 88-minute film will be screened on PBS networks in more than 200 markets this month.

The Water of Life

The Water of Life (image via Water of Life)

The majority of member stations will premiere the documentary in primetime during the week of June 27th. PBS will retain the rights to broadcast The Water of Life for a year. From now until  July 6th, the film will also be available on the PBS website via pbs.org and the PBS app.

A statement from PBS notes that the film highlights a half-dozen distillers and distilleries, and focuses much of its time on the resurrection of the Bruichladdich Distillery on the remote Scottish island of Islay.

Under the leadership of entrepreneurs Mark Reynier, Simon Coughlin and whisky legend Jim McEwan, the distillery went from being a mothballed memory to a world-beating innovator in a few short years, which the documentarians called “a creative explosion that helped save the struggling economy of the island often called Whisky Island.”

The story also features world renowned whisky writer Charles Maclean, MBE; master distiller Billy Walker; master blenders Dr. Rachel Barrie and David Stewart, MBE; and the next generation of innovators like Adam Hannett, Kelsey McKechnie, Liam Hughes, Iain Croucher, and Eddie Brook.

The film was produced by Blacksmith & Jones, the production company that Swartz co-owns with producer Trevor Jones. Actress Brittany Curran (The Magicians, Chicago Fire) served as executive producer.  It was co-produced by Special Order and Aurora Films.

“We are very excited to be on PBS because it’s really the gold standard of documentary film in America,” Jones said. “We think it’s a perfect fit because the film is as much a love letter to Scotland as it is to whisky itself and we really tried to create a cinematic portrayal of the beautiful Scottish countryside.”

Curran said that they knew they wanted to make a film that would appeal just as much to people who don’t drink whisky as it would to those who are experts.

“We shot, scored, and paced the film purposely to bring the audience on a sensory journey as they watch the story unfold. And we think that that’s pretty unique. We’re excited about it as filmmakers and as whisky geeks.”

Viewers can check out www.pbs.org/show/water-life/ to watch the film in June and find air dates and showtimes on their local PBS member station.


Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...