Beginning as a distillery guide, just for the summer, and progressing to a full-time production role by the end of 1975, this year marks Alan Winchester’s 42nd year in the Scotch Whisky industry.
Alan has been involved with over 21 distilleries, amongst them the giants of The Glenlivet and Glen Grant, the coveted of Aberlour and Longmorn, and the hidden jewels of Strathisla, Glenburgie and Scapa. Alan has managed distilleries for Glenfarclas, Campbell Distillers and today Chivas Brothers, where he is responsible for Pernod Ricard’s 14 malt distilleries.
In 2009, Alan was appointed Master Distiller of The Glenlivet, becoming the ultimate guarantor of one of the industry’s premier distilleries, also undertaking significant expansion to meet the demand across the globe. This experience was used again in the industry’s recent growth via his role in, amongst others, the re-opening of Glen Keith and the building of a new distillery on Speyside, Dalmunach.
With a personal interest in the history, Alan generously trades thoughts and discoveries with colleagues and journalists around the world, many of whom seek his approval on points of fact and myth. His passions for whisky and walking inspired The Glenlivet Smugglers Trails in 2007, allowing members of the public to follow in the footsteps of the whisky smugglers of old.
Alan remains a highly regarded distiller amongst his peers: a past President of the Malt Distillers Association and past Chairman of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in Scotland, Alan becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in 2011. A Keeper since 2004, and became a Master in 2015. Alan was also named the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Ambassador of the Year in 2012, winning Master Distiller of the year in Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky Scotland 2017 awards but his ultimate accolade is his passion for and knowledge of Scotch whisky that is rated second to none.
General Manager, Speyside Cooperage
Lecture - Wood for Scotch Whisky Maturation
Andrew has had 22 years in the whisky industry with Whyte and MacKay at Invergordon Distillers.
In that time, he has been involved in the distillation, filling, warehousing and blending. He was also involved in the wood management on site; cask selection and type of cask for particular fillings and finishes. He ran the onsite cooperage for 10 years.
He is currently employed as General Manager at Speyside Cooperage.
Analytical Research Scientist
Lecture - New Make Spirit – Flavour Profiles and Spider Diagrams
A Speysider at heart, I moved to Edinburgh to become part of the team at The Scotch Whisky Research Institute (SWRI). I currently work as part of the Processing research group at SWRI, which provides technical knowledge of direct relevance to distillery based functions including areas such as flavour understanding, fermentation performance, copper reduction and energy use. Another key aspect of my work is Flavour research and providing information that will help member companies when making critical flavour based decisions. In addition to this, I also run and maintain SWRI’s expert sensory panel, providing important flavour data that supports all our research areas.
I have worked with SWRI since July 2010, before which I completed my BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science with Law at The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Since joining the team at SWRI, I have continued to develop academically and in 2015 gained both my IBD Diploma in Distilling and Postgraduate Certificate in Sensory Science.
Dr Bill Crilly
Started career with Moray Firth Maltings (now Bairds) as Maltings Manager in 1978 followed by managing Balvenie Distillery (including maltings, transport and cooperage) in 1980, Tamdhu Maltings and Distillery in 1990 and moving to Highland and Edrington Distillers central staffs in 1997; variously heading Barley, Malt, Yeast, Cask and Energy procurement, Compliance (Management Systems, Health and Safety and Environment) management, Technical and Laboratory management.
He has been active in the industry, spending 5 years on the IBD Committee, also the IBD Barley Committee, the national Barley Committee, the Technical Committee of Scottish Quality Cereals, being a member of the SWRI (Scottish Whisky Research Institute) Processing and Maturation Technical Liaison Groups and Chairing the SWRI Raw Materials Technical Liaison Group as well as representing the Edrington Group on the Management Research Team for SWRI. Bill was also a qualified Skills Assessor and Verifier for Distilling Industry Vocational Qualifications and was elected a Keeper of the Quaich in 1999 and a Master of the Quaich in 2010 and retired at the end of 2012.
General Manager, Tomatin Distillery
Lecture - Maturating and Nurturing Scotch New Make Spirit
Born and brought up in Orkney, a group of islands off the north coast of Scotland, Graham was educated at Kirkwall Grammar School. He is now married to Margaret with two children, Scott & Kirstie.
Graham started in the whisky industry at Scapa Distillery, one of the two distilleries on Orkney, initially as a warehouse operator before progressing into production roles in both the mash house and still house. In 1992 he moved into the office to become a trainee brewer before being transferred to Glendronach Distillery in Aberdeenshire in January 1994 as a brewer. Glendronach at the time still operated their own floor maltings and also used coal-fired stills.
October 1996 saw a change of employer with a move to Glenmorangie as assistant manager before taking on the role of Glenmorangie Distillery Manager in 1998. During the next 10 years, he oversaw all aspects of production and maturation, increased the distillery capacity and spent time carrying out the brand's ambassador role.
2008 departed Glenmorangie to take on the project of re-opening Glenglassaugh Distillery after 22 years of closure. The first 10 months were to be spent refurbishing the plant and buildings ready for production to commence in late 2008.
In 2011 having overseen the resurrection of Glenglassaugh, an opportunity arose to join the Tomatin team in the position of Distillery General Manager. Responsibilities include all aspects of distillery production, maturation, wood management, strategies and future planning – an interesting and challenging role.
Interests out-with whisky include playing golf, going to the cinema, reading mostly fiction, DIY, landscape gardening and spending time with friends and family.
Distilling and Export Customer Manager, Bairds Malt
Lecture - Barley, Malting and Malt
After graduating with a degree in Chemistry in 1983, Mark began his career at Whitbread’s Exchange Brewery in Sheffield and a year later joined Associated British Maltsters as Plant Chemist at Carnoustie Maltings. In 1988 he joined Moray Firth Maltings as a member of the Production Team at their Arbroath Maltings. In 1991, he transferred to their Inverness Plant to take up the position of Maltings Manager and in 1995 was appointed Plant Manager.
Following the merger of Hugh Baird & Sons with Moray Firth Maltings in 1999, he was appointed Production Manager with responsibility for the Scottish sites at Inverness, Arbroath and Pencaitland. Mark is currently in the role of Distilling & Export Customer Manager with responsibility for primary contact with distilling customers served by the company. He holds the MAGB Master Maltster qualification.
Mark was Chairman of the organising committee for the 2014 IBD Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference and is past Chairman of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling Scottish Section 2015- 2017.
Dr Stuart Watts
Site Leader, WM Grant & Sons Ltd
Lecture - Distillation
Stuart has worked in the Scotch Whisky industry for over 14 years. He originally trained at Glasgow University where he completed his BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry, before carrying out a PhD in association with the SWRI. Sponsored by Suntory plc., Stuarts' PhD examined the derivation of flavour within Scotch Whisky, specifically looking at how sulphur derived flavours were formed during the production process.
On completion of his studies in 2003, Stuart moved to WM grant’s Technical Support function working on a number of production efficiency, spirit quality and new liquid development projects. In 2005 Stuart made the move to production as Distillation Team Leader for the company’s grain distillery at Girvan, working as part of the team who designed and built a completely new grain still as well as their gin distillery where Hendricks’s gin is produced.
In 2007 he became Production Manager at Girvan, responsible for the complete grain and newly completed malt (Ailsa Bay) distillery on the Girvan site. Stuart then moved in 2009 to the Dufftown site as Site Team Leader, responsible for WM Grant’s operation in the north. In 2013 he returned to Girvan to take up the post of Team Leader for the Girvan site.
Dr Tim C S Dolan
BSc, CBiol, CChem, FSB, FRSC, FIBD, MCIM.
Lecture - Team Leader
After gaining a BSc (Hons) and PhD in chemistry at Edinburgh University, Tim entered the industry in 1966 and held several senior positions in malting, brewing and Scotch whisky distilling. Between then and 2000 he was successively a research scientist, malting, laboratory, technical and industry technical manager in three major companies - Scottish and Newcastle Breweries, Associated British Maltsters and Highland Distilleries. He’s served on many industry committees, chairing the Institute of Brewing and Distilling Scottish Section from 1984-86 and UK(IBD) Barley Committee from 1990-1994. He’s a Fellow of the IBD, the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Chartered Biologist, Chemist and Scientist.
Tim has a lifelong interest in learning, teaching and science festivals and was Secretary of nine IBD Scottish Section Conferences. He has successfully coached candidates for IBD examinations for many years and has extensive lecturing experience. He served as Secretary of the IBD Scottish Section 2001-1015.
In February 2012 Tim was awarded the prestigious Horace Brown Award for services to the distilling industry, awarded every three years to an eminent scientist.
BSc, Dip Dist
Lecture - VC Services and Discerning of Spirits
Vic Cameron is in a rather unique position in being a local minister as well as working in the whisky industry. He left Diageo in 2014 after 23 years to work in the church, having built up a wide range of experience in his time with the distilling giant. He started off in the laboratory before gaining access to the company management trainee scheme. His first post was as Production Manager at Blair Athol and Aberfeldy Distilleries, before moving into the malting division as Operations Manager at Burghead and Roseisle Maltings. After a couple of years as Operations Manager at Dailuaine and Benrinnes Distilleries, he moved into the Process Support team as the Maltings Specialist. After a stint as Laboratory Manager Vic completed his career with Diageo as the Laboratory Services and Cereals Manager. In his time with Diageo Vic also completed his Diploma in Distilling with the IBD, and sat on a number of industry committees including the Technical Committee of the MAGB, the UK NIR Grain Network and the Barley Committee.
As well as running his church Vic now uses his vast experience to run two industry related businesses. Discerning of Spirits provides expert yet independent whisky nosing and tasting experiences for companies and private individuals, he also writes a monthly whisky article for the Northern Scot and contributes to various blogs. VC Services provides training and consultancy solutions for the barley, malting and distilling industry with current clients based in the UK and Europe. Vic also shares his knowledge as Lecturer in Whisky at the University of the Highlands and Islands and as Senior Lecturer for the Edinburgh Whisky Academy.
Vic has a passion for single malt Scotch whisky and wants to share that passion with as wide an audience as possible.
We are currently working on the programme for the next Festival which will take place on the 27th of April to the 2nf of May 2022! Please keep an eye on our social media channels and news section for updates on the preview and launch dates!