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Q&A with Ewan Lacey

The drinks business caught up with TV presenter and wine columnist Ewan Lacey to find out more about his latest starring role as general manager of the IWSC Group

What attracted you to this new role at the IWSC?

I’d already spent two years freelancing for the International Wine & Spirit Competition and its sister competition What Food What Wine? Opportunities like this in the drinks industry don’t come along very often. This is a role that’s right at the heart of that space between consumers and producers.

So what will your job involve?

I’m going to be making sure we continue to be seen as the best competition to enter. I’ll be helping to put together a strategy for the next few years making sure we’re listening to the trade.  I can’t talk about it much at this stage but we’ve been looking at doing things online and on social media platforms and have already seen the beginning of live events – that’s all going to be part of our strategy in the coming months.

Sounds busy. Does that mean you’ve left behind the world of TV?

My focus now is 100% on the IWSC, but in a worldwide business like the IWSC, those skills from my previous roles are really going to help communicate the Competition’s strengths.

What makes the IWSC stand out from all the other wine competitions?

Apart from 44 years of tradition, there’s the scientific side. Then there’s the link not just to the wine world but spirits too – that’s very, very important. It’s our job to make those differences from other competitions clear.

How does the IWSC help the drinks trade ­– and consumers for that matter?

The confusion at point of purchase is something that persists so being a third party voice that has good judges backed up with scientific analysis is a real help. We need to be clear about exactly what it is that we do and my role is to help develop a strategy to communicate that.

Are there any wine regions of the world that could be better represented by the IWSC?

Entries are very strong, but we’re looking both at emerging countries and very well established regions who perhaps haven’t felt the need to enter any competitions at all but realise that it’s time for some benchmarking.

And finally, what drinks trends are you noticing at the moment and how can the IWSC support these?

World whiskies are very popular, especially the micro-distilled Bourbons, as well as craft gins. I spoke to one craft distiller recently who has an industry background and he said that the IWSC is the one to enter.

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