News

William Grant Celebrates

100th ambassador appointed to cover Australia and New Zealand
By Rupert Wheeler
Global premium spirits business and independent family distillers William Grant & Sons has announced the 100th ambassador to join its esteemed programme of worldwide spirits experts, which was first established in 1999. Richard Blanchard will take on the Glenfiddich Ambassador role in Australia and New Zealand

as of 2 January 2017, after three years with

the company.

The ambassador team now includes nine global and 91 local ambassadors based in 25 countries who represent the distiller's brands. The US has the highest concentration of ambassadors, led by Charlotte Voisey, director of advocacy US, while Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky has the largest team of 22 ambassadors.

The highly-regarded William Grant & Sons ambassador programme encompasses 100 spirits experts who each represent one of the company's portfolio brands including; Grant's, Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Tullamore DEW, Monkey Shoulder and most recently Drambuie which was acquired in 2015.

The programme is designed to introduce and educate media, trade partners and consumers about the distiller's spirits and their much respected and loved brands. It was created in response to the growing interest in the brands and the need to have a dedicated face-to-face platform that would address the needs of media, consumers and trade.

Creativity and the freedom to explore unique ideas are also at the forefront of the ambassador roles and the wider William Grant & Sons business. One of the most innovative collaborations to showcase this is the recent release of Project XX (pronounced 20) in the Glenfiddich Experimental Series. Going against normal whisky making conventions, Glenfiddich malt master, Brian Kinsman, developed one unexpected, extraordinary whisky by bringing together 20 very special single malts - which were each individually selected by an ambassador.

The longest standing member of the ambassador team, Ludo Ducrocq, now leads the programme globally. Ludo joined William Grant & Sons when the initiative was in its infancy with only one ambassador in 2000.

Ludo Ducrocq says, ''I've had the pleasure of being part of the team that have worked to develop and grow the programme to where it is today. This wouldn't have happened without the fundamental belief we have in our ambassador team and the creativity, enthusiasm, and entrepreneurial mindset each ambassador brings to the role.

''Our ambassadors are like an extension of the family behind the business - bringing vast knowledge and expertise from a range of backgrounds. The team is central to our global success and we foresee more room for it to grow.''



Sazerac Company purchases buildings at canal



The Sazerac Company, an American family-owned company based in New Orleans since 1850, has purchased two buildings on the corner of Canal and Magazine Street, adjacent to the Sheraton Hotel, and only a few hundred yards from the original 1850 Sazerac Coffee House site. The company plans to rehabilitate the nearly 200 years old buildings into The Sazerac House visitor attraction and beverage alcohol museum. Guests will be able to learn about the spirited history of the iconic Sazerac Cocktail, the official cocktail of New Orleans, as well as many other original New Orleans brands, along with exploring the unique role New Orleans has played in the Bourbon and rum industries and in American cocktail culture. The buildings will also include a gift shop and Sazerac company offices, with a projection of 60 employees eventually working there, 45 of which will be new positions.

The buildings, which have sat vacant for more than 30 years, date back to the mid-1800s and contain rich architectural details including wood floors, high ceilings, oversized windows, and ornate support columns throughout. As many of the original design elements as possible will be kept as the buildings undergo renovation. "We simply could not be happier than to have the opportunity to restore such beautiful buildings to their former glory, in a perfect location, so close to the original site of the Sazerac Coffee House that will act as our future New Orleans homeplace," commented Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer of the Sazerac Company.



Highland Park brings midwinter solstice to life



Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky, the 'Orkney Single Malt with Viking Soul' celebrated Winter Solstice with two events recently.

The brand hosted its Midwinter social events on 24 and 25 November at The Old Truman Brewery's Boiler House, London, to mark the upcoming winter solstice and the official start of winter. The narrative of Highland Park is deeply rooted in Nordic traditions. An important time in the Nordic calendar and at Highland Park's home on Orkney, winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year and is typically celebrated with good friends, bonfires, music and dance.

The celebrations, designed to bring to life the brand's magnificent Viking heritage, were hosted by global brand ambassador Martin Markvardsen and included Highland Park whisky tastings around a fire pit for over 400 people.

A selection of Highland Park cocktails were served including the warming Highland Park hot toddy and Orkney Old Fashioned, with Nordic inspired food curated by Root + Bone, music from Kipps and live sets from DJ Finnebassen and Eelke Kleijn.

The celebrations were broadcast to a global audience with the first event streamed live globally on Highland Park's Facebook page, resulting in over 21,000 fans tuning in to watch.

Several restaurants in and around Shoreditch also featured special Highland Park Winter Solstice serves on their bar menus. The bars which delivered the greatest upweight in sales will be rewarded with a trip to the Highland Park distillery on Orkney in the New Year.

Mike Mackenzie, Highland Park brand manager says, "Our Midwinter Social celebrated Highland Park's Viking heritage in the lead up to the Winter Solstice and we had two fantastic evenings. It was the perfect environment to give consumers a taste of Orkney and our Viking soul. It was also great to see several bars in Shoreditch taking part in the celebrations, creating their own Highland Park winter inspired serves."



The Lindores Distillery project update report



The project to restore whisky making to the historic site of Lindores in Fife continues apace, with a third of the construction work now completed. According to the instigator of the venture, Drew McKenzie-Smith, "Planning was very smooth and the build, using 3B construction and Organic Architects is going very well. However, we have hit a few unexpected problems with utilities."

He has abandoned the idea of using gas at the distillery as it has been estimated that although the mains supply passes within 50 metres of the site, it wold cost nearly £200,000 and take a year and several road closures in order to get a supply into Lindores.

"The electricity has also been a pain," says McKenzie-Smith. "We have a high voltage cable running through the field near the property but it is a 'spur' so we cannot access it without disruption to other properties so it's going to cost £100K to install a sub-station.

"At the start, I had envisaged that we would draw our water from the 'Holy Burn' a small watercourse running from Lindores Loch - three miles away. The loch powered the seven abbey mills and supplied the monastery with clean drinking water and water for sanitation, but nowadays it runs past a few farms and some private houses so we cannot control it." Instead, a 60 metre borehole has been sunk to supply water.

The plan is to commence production in August 2017, and McKenzie-Smith says that, "We have been to Louisville in Kentucky to source casks and we are turning our minds to recruitment, too, as we would hope our distillery manager can come on board at the same time as Forsyths, who are supplying all the equipment, so he or she can work with them to ensure we get the best possible performance from our three stills."

McKenzie-Smith is also soon to launch 'The Lindores Abbey Preservation Society,' aimed at raising funds to preserve the fabric of Lindores Abbey. More information on this and all aspects of the distillery project at www.lindoresabbey.com