Diageo reveals key roles at revived distilleries
Stewart Bowman: moves from Clynelish
Scottish whisky company, Diageo, has announced lead roles for the investment project to bring the iconic Port Ellen and Brora distilleries back to life, and a new manager for the famous Lagavulin Distillery on Islay.
Georgie Crawford, one of the most respected distillery managers in the industry with seven years’ experience of running the Lagavulin Distillery, will move to be project implementation manager, responsible for bringing Port Ellen Distillery back into production 35 years after it closed.
The equivalent job leading the revival of the Brora Distillery in Sutherland has been secured by Brora native Stewart Bowman, who moves from the management team at Clynelish Distillery to take on the role.
The Lagavulin Distillery manager role will be taken over by Colin Gordon, who will move from his previous job managing Diageo’s Port Ellen Maltings on Islay, where the peated malt barley is made for Lagavulin and Caol Ila Distilleries.
The company announced last year that Port Ellen and Brora – the two most famous lost distilleries in Scotland, which have been silent since they were closed in 1983 – would be brought back into production through a £35 million investment.
Announcing the Port Ellen and Brora appointments, Diageo’s distillation & maturation director, Keith Miller said: “Bringing Port Ellen and Brora distilleries back into production are dream jobs for any whisky-maker and I’m delighted to appoint Georgie and Stewart to these key leadership roles.
“They both have the experience and knowledge of their craft that we need to bring these distilleries back with meticulous care and attention to detail. I’m also pleased that they are both from the local communities where the distilleries are located and they bring a great understanding of the heritage and roots of these distilleries.”
On the appointment of the new Lagavulin Distillery manager, he said: “Running Lagavulin Distillery is one of the most highly prized jobs in Scotch whisky. Colin is one of our most promising young whisky-makers and he has built up terrific experience and skill in his time with Diageo. I know he will do a great job leading the team at Lagavulin.”
Ms Crawford said: “It has been a real privilege to be the Lagavulin Distillery Manager and to work with the fantastic team there for so many years. However, the opportunity to bring Port Ellen Distillery back into production truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am thrilled to take it on.”
Mr Bowman said: “I am hugely excited by the challenge of bringing Brora Distillery back to life. The whisky from Brora is revered for its quality and it is an honour to have the job of bring distillation back so we can produce a new generation of exceptional Brora Scotch whisky.”
Mr Gordon said: “Lagavulin is one of the most admired and respected distilleries in Scotch whisky and it’s an honour to be trusted with this job. The team at the distillery is one of the most skilled in the industry and I look forward enormously to making whisky with them.”
Mc Crawford will officially handover the reins at Lagavulin Distillery after the annual Feis Ile festival, which begins this Friday.
Mr Bowman begins his role at Brora in June and will lead a local community engagement day, which will be held in the Brora on 5th June at the Scout & Guide Hall from 3pm to 7pm.