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Ardgowan recruits former Bruichladdich and Diageo directors

Planned lowland distillery Ardgowan has appointed Bruichladdich’s former marketing director, Gordon Wright, and Diageo’s former director of brewery redevelopment, Professor Michael Egan, to its team.

Gordon Wright, left, Professor Michael Egan, right, have joined Ardgowan

The Ardgowan Distillery Company, which submitted plans to develop a malt whisky distillery by Inverkip back in November, has invited Wright to come on board as as advisor on commercial development and sales, while Professor Egan will review the plant’s process engineering design.

“These new signings give us tremendous strength in two key areas,” said Ardgowan chief executive Martin McAdam. “Michael brings cutting-edge expertise in distillery process design, whilst Gordon has a stellar track record in building export sales for niche whisky brands. Together they can help us make and market an outstanding and exclusive new lowland single malt whisky.”

The distillery and visitor centre, which will be located on the Ardgowan Estate, is currently in planning stages, and a decision from Inverclyde Council is expected in the coming weeks. If approved, the distillery will be operational by 2019.

Prior to Bruichladdich, Wright was employed at Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown, where he helped to create export sales of £1.4m in just four years.

He joined Bruichladdich Distillery in 2000, where he established a worldwide network of distributors for the Islay malt. Wright subsequently founded independent Scotch whisky bottling brand, Alchemist, which is available in 15 international markets.

Chemical engineer Professor Egan began his career in Canada with the Hiram Walker Group, before joining Irish Distillers as process engineer for the design of their new distillery in Midleton. In 1983 he was assigned to Guinness Brewery to head up the redevelopment of the brewery at St James’s Gate, Dublin.

Professor Egan has also worked as an independent consultant, and designed Teeling’s first Irish whiskey distillery at Cooley.

The announcement follows the appointment of former managing director of The Macallan, Willie Phillips, as company chairman.

He said: “I have known both Gordon and Michael for some time and together we share a passion for single malt whisky. This passion, allied to their intimate knowledge and experience of the design, manufacture and marketing of top-drawer spirits gives me confidence we will create a new lowland malt of great character.”

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