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Expansion into whisky and rum

BrewDog hires Diageo veteran for spirits production

David Gates BrewDogCraft brewer BrewDog has hired a spirits veteran to oversee the company’s plans to extend into whisky and rum distilling.

David Gates, who held senior roles at Johnnie Walker distiller Diageo, becomes managing director of BrewDog Distilling.

Mr Gates brings 27 years of experience in the industry and will develop BrewDog’s distilling arm, LoneWolf, as it expand its spirit range beyond its vodka and gin.

He left Diago earlier this year as managing director of Diageo Futures where he was instrumental in driving growth of its premium core spirits portfolio, which accounts for 50% of the company’s total net sales.

During his time as global whisky category director, he established steady and sustained growth for Scotch Whisky and as Johnnie Walker global brand director, he led the brand in becoming the most profitable international spirits brand in the world.

Mr Gates and his team also achieved success with a Cannes Gold Lion for the brand’s work with Robert Carlyle and ‘The man who walked around the world’ film. 

Expanding the core spirits portfolio is at the forefront of LoneWolf’s agenda. Last month the distiller unveiled a brand refresh to improve differentiation between its core spirits range in anticipation for expansion.

BrewDog cofounder, James Watt said: “David is as obsessed with quality and flavour as we are. His proven success in building an established spirits division makes him a force to be reckoned with in the industry; I’m thrilled to have him on board.

“I can’t wait to see where David takes LoneWolf – he shares our vision in standing as a marker and custodian of purist, truthful distillation methods, and his fresh, challenging thinking will not only take LoneWolf to new levels, but the entire category.”

David Gates said: “The opportunity to shake up the spirits category with the industry’s biggest disruptor was just too good to pass up.

“What BrewDog has done for the beer industry is nothing short of awe-inspiring, you can’t help but be impressed with the energy, vibrancy and unapologetic attitude they’ve injected into the category. It’s that same creative flair & obsession for quality that I hope to bring to the spirits portfolio.”

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