Johnnie Walker’s master blender Dr Jim Beveridge has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his outstanding service to the Scotch whisky industry.
In a career spanning almost four decades with the world’s leading distilling company Diageo, Dr Beveridge has established himself as one of the most highly respected figures in the industry, renowned for his skill and dedication to quality, as well as his considered and unassuming manner.
The accolade comes as Johnnie Walker prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2020. Dr Beveridge is only the sixth person in two centuries of the company’s history to have held the position of master blender, the first being founder John Walker himself.
Based at Diageo’s blending rooms in Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, Dr Beveridge leads a team of 12 blenders responsible for the quality and consistency of all the company’s Scotch whisky brands. He also works closely with distillers, coopers, coppersmiths and all the craftspeople involved in producing the finest Scotch whisky.
He has been the recipient of several industry accolades, including being inducted into the World Whisky Hall of Fame in 2015 and in 2016 he was named Master Blender of the Year by the International Whisky Competition for the second consecutive year, a first in the history of the competition.
Dr Beveridge paid tribute to the people who make Scotch whisky and their passion and commitment to the craft. He said: ‘I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of everyone who contributes to making Johnnie Walker. It is a team effort by all the women and men who work in our distilleries, coppersmiths, cooperage, warehouses and bottling halls across Scotland.
‘We believe we are the custodians of our brands, standing on the shoulders of the giants who went before us. I really feel that today. This is recognition of everyone, over the years, who has been involved in making Johnnie Walker the leading global brand that it is.’
Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes, said: ‘This is a proud day for Jim but also for Johnnie Walker and Diageo. Jim epitomises everything that makes Johnnie Walker and Scotch whisky great. He is dedicated to his craft and passionate about the quality of his product.
‘Most importantly he is a wonderful person and that is why he is so highly regarded not just in Diageo but throughout the Scotch whisky industry.’
Johnnie Walker global brand director John Williams added: ‘Quality and consistency have been the hallmarks of Johnnie Walker since it was founded by John Walker almost two Confidential centuries ago. Jim is the guardian of that legacy today and everyone involved with Johnnie Walker and Diageo will be raising a toast to him and celebrating this terrific achievement.’
Johnnie Walker is at the heart of a £150 million investment programme in Scotch whisky tourism by Diageo, including creating a global flagship visitor attraction in Edinburgh and transforming the company’s 12 distillery visitor experiences around Scotland.