People came from the four corners of the Earth to Scotland this week, to be honoured for their outstanding commitment to whisky.
The Keepers of the Quaich is an international society which was established by the Scotch whisky industry to celebrate those who produce and promote the world’s finest distilled spirit.
Only a limited number of people are inducted as Keepers each year to honour those who have made an exceptional contribution. New Keepers must have worked for a minimum of five years in the industry and their nomination is by virtue of industry recognition of their personal contribution to Scotch whisky.
Five new Masters of the Quaich have been inducted, along with another 45 Keepers of the Quaich.
To date, just over 2,700 men and women from more than 100 countries have received the honour. Together with the select few that have served a further 10 years and are subsequently distinguished as Master of the Quaich, they represent thousands of years of shared experience and knowledge.
New Keepers and Masters are inducted at a private ceremony held twice a year when the Society meets in the Scottish Highlands at Blair Castle, the ancient and historic home of the Earls and Dukes of Atholl.
The Keepers of the Quaich also supports international chapters of the society in key markets of the world where members continue to promote the values and prestigious image of Scotch Whisky.
There are currently international chapters in Germany, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, the Nordics, United Arab Emirates and India.
The new Masters are:
Gerald Erdrich, president, Kammer-Kirsch GmbH, Germany; David Freeborn, managing director, Dalemaine FZE, UAE; Alistair Hart, sales director, Hart Brothers Ltd, UK; Louise Higgins, general director, marketing and innovations director Diageo Caribbean and Central America, USA; Alexandre Ricard, chairman and chief operating officer, Pernod Ricard, France.
The new Keepers are:
Julio Almendariz, general manager, Distribuidora Almendariz SAC, Peru; Russell Anderson, distillery manager, the Macallan Distillery, UK; Mélanie Bardeau, brands director ‘Premium Portfolio’ marketing, communications & digital, Pernod Ricard, France; Luigi Barzini, regional sales manager – Asia Pacific, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Hong Kong; Mitch Bechard, Glenfiddich national ambassador, William Grant & Sons Ltd, USA. Ajay Bhatia, assistant manager – liquor and tobacco, Dubai Duty Free, UAE; Claudio Claps, supply chain director, Diageo China, China; Susan Colville, Benromach Brand home manager, Gordon & MacPhail, UK; Gillian Cook, head of influencer advocacy for Haig Club & and Content and Culture for Diageo Reserve, Diageo, The Netherlands; Stèphane Côté, VP Sales, Corby Spirit and Wines Ltd, Canada; Craig Cranmer, Dufftown site leader, William Grant & Sons Ltd, UK; Jack Cybul, distributor owner, Pronal Limitada, Colombia; Scott Davidson, director new product development, Glencairn Crystal Studio Ltd, UK; Patricia Dillon, managing director, Speyside Distillers Company Ltd, UK;
Sam Filmus, president, ImpEx Beverages, USA; Vincent Fong, general manager, Telford Wine & Spirits (Shanghai) Limited, China; Peter Greve, buyer, Hanseatische Weinhandelsgesehschaft, Germany; Amanda Hamilton-Stanley, general counsel, Chivas Bros, UK; Zhonglei Jin, founder owner, Bar Constellation Group, China; Andrzej Kubis, owner, Cocktail Bar Max & Dom Whisky, Poland; Brendon Lawry, CEO, Liquorland NZ Ltd, New Zealand; Manuel Leiros, director, Grupo Leiros, Venezuela; Stephen Le Petit, rare malts manager, HL Milne Ltd, T/A Whisky Galore, New Zealand; Chia-Hsin Liao, general manager, Hot Malt Co Ltd, Taiwan; Ching-Sheng Lu, chief consultant – Diageo Whisky Academy, freelancer, China; David Mair, the Balvenie Distillery ambassador, William Grant & Sons Ltd, UK; Kevin Mapson, managing director, Pernod Ricard New Zealand, New Zealand; Alan McConnochie, distilleries manager, the BenRiach Distillery, UK; George McKenzie, UK engineering manager, the Macallan Distillery, UK; Bassam Mohanna, regional manager Middle East & Turkey, Edrington, Lebanon;
Benny Ng, managing director – Moet Hennessy Diageo China, China; Kazuhiro Nishio, president, Bonili Japan Co Ltd, Japan; Marek Niziol, sales director, Wyborowa Pernod Ricard, Poland; Timothy Norris, senior vice president, northeast region, USA, Moet Hennessy USA, USA; Kenichiro Sakamoto, president, Sone Bussan Ltd, Japan; Arturo Savage, Diageo Reserve brand ambassador – Caribbean & Central America, Diageo, Dominican Republic; Daniel Yu-hsun Shen, brand ambassador, William Grant & Sons (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Taiwan; Amrit Kiran Singh, chairman, International Spirits & Wine Association of India, India; George Soleas, president and chief executive officer, LCBO, Canada; Ewelina Stanislawczyk, founder and marketing director, Pinot Wine & Spirits Company, Poland; Michal Stanislawczyk, founder and CEO, Pinot Wine & Spirits Company, Poland; Pierre Tissandier, managing director, The Whisky Lodge, France; Serge Valentin, writer and taster, Whiskyfun, France; Carlo Vincenti, managing director/owner, G Vincenti & Sons S.A.L; Lebanon; Amanda Wammer, co-founder/director of imports, 99 Bottles Co. Ltd, Taiwan.
The Society takes its name from the traditional two-handled drinking cup which is described in the ancient Gaelic language of Scotland as a ‘cuach’ or quaich, a vessel long associated with friendship and the enjoyment of Scotch Whisky.
The Society’s mission is to celebrate the values and image of Scotch Whisky as the world’s finest and most prestigious distilled spirit.
• To preserve the unique cachet and exclusivity of The Keepers, inducting only a limited number of new Keepers each year, and only in Scotland.
• To ensure all members of The Keepers are well-informed on the Society and its activities so they are engaged on the mission to grow Scotch Whisky.
• To support the international reach of The Keepers through active engagement with well-founded chapters of the Society in key markets for Scotch Whisky.
• To maintain the continuing support of the Scotch Whisky industry in recognising the importance and value of the Society’s work in the promotion of Scotch.