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Bruichladdich master distiller to retire

Bruichladdich master distiller and production director Jim McEwan has announced his intention to retire in July after over half a century in the Scotch whisky industry.

Master Distiller Jim McEwan (left) with Bruichladdich CEO Simon Coughlin

McEwan originally joined the Islay single malt distillery in 2000 when it was bought by Mark Reynier from Whyte & Mackay for £6 million.

As part of a team dedicated to resurrecting this brand, he introduced an innovative portfolio of creatively packaged expressions, including Octomore “the world’s most heavily peated whisky series”, as well as The Botanist Islay Dry Gin.

Simon Coughlin, who took over from Reynier as CEO of Bruichladdich in 2012, after its sale to Rémy Cointreau for £58m, paid tribute to McEwan’s “innumerable” achievements during his time with the company, which has doubled production under its new ownership.

“Working with Jim for these past 15 years has been both exciting and stimulating,” said Coughlin. “His deep understanding of the liquid and his ability to communicate the passion he feels for the spirit, for Islay and its people has been an inspiration to us all.”

Looking back on “an incredible journey”, McEwan noted that he would remain close to the brand after building a home next door to the distillery.

“I am so proud to have been able to play my part in nurturing what was an incredible opportunity, to bring this old distillery back to life and reinvest in Islay and its people,” he commented.

“I would particularly like to thank Simon Coughlin and my fellow directors for having the faith to allow me to follow the distiller’s muse along sometimes uncharted paths.”

McEwan also pointed to his successors at Bruichladdich, saying: “I would also like to particularly thank Allan Logan, by whose steady hand this magnificent ship will ride the waves into the future; and Adam Hannett, whose extraordinary nose and palate will carry the great traditions of our spirit forward into the next generation. Slainte!”

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