Whisky distilling

Industry veteran Keiller replaces Philips at Ardgowan

The Ardgowan Distillery has appointed industry veteran Mike Keiller as chairman of the planned Inverclyde facility.

Mr Keiller (pictured) takes over from Willie Philips who is standing down after four years at Ardgowan and nearly 50 years in the trade.

A qualified Scottish chartered accountant, Mr Keiller’s career began at Bell’s Scotch Whisky in Perth, followed by senior finance and corporate roles at Guinness, United Distillers Europe and Diageo. He joined Morrison Bowmore Distillers as CEO in 2000 and over the next 14 years helped transform the business from a bulk whisky supplier into a profitable brand-led operation with globally acclaimed spirits including Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch.

After his retirement, he served as a non-executive director with The Last Drop Distillers from 2016 until 2018.

Mr Keiller will continue as non-executive director at AIM-quored spirits group Distil following his appointment last year.

Ardgowan Distillery CEO Martin McAdam said: “Mike’s industry experience in Scotland, the UK and internationally, and in particular his skills in building a global brand, will prove crucial as our production ramps up in the years to come.

“I also wish to play tribute to our outgoing chairman Willie Phillips, who supported us through the challenging start-up phase. Willie will now become president of our whisky tasting forum – and I look forward to nosing our first new-make spirit alongside him.”

Mr Keiller said: “I’m relishing the opportunity to work with Martin on the company’s corporate strategy and to being part of a young, dynamic and fast-growing team of passionate whisky pioneers.”

The company has pledged that its new distillery will be carbon negative and is working with specialist distillery engineers Briggs of Burton to ensure the flagship building has the latest innovations in energy reduction, heat recovery and carbon capture.

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