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Keepers of the Quaich names new Masters

Global Scotch whisky society Keepers of the Quaich has revealed the latest members who have been bestowed with the revered title of Master. SB shines a spotlight on the five new Masters.

Twice a year, a banquet is held to award members with the title of Keeper and Master

Keepers of the Quaich was established by the Scotch whisky industry to “recognise the outstanding commitment” of those who produce or promote Scotch.

On Monday 8 April, 45 new members were inducted into the international society at a private ceremony at Blaire Castle in Blair Atholl. The banquet and ceremony was the 60th to take place at the castle.

Guests at the event were addressed by publisher and broadcaster Andrew Neil, who was also awarded the role of honorary Keeper of the Quaich.

To qualify, new Keepers must have worked in the industry for a minimum of five years. To date, just over 2,700 men and women from more than 100 countries have received the honour.

The society will award only five Masters of the Quaich at each ceremony of induction. Masters must have been inducted as a Keeper over 10 years ago, and have made an “exceptional contribution” to Scotch whisky.

“Scotch whisky was, and remains, the first global spirit and Keepers of the Quaich exists to recognise and celebrate the exceptional contribution of people working in all aspects of the industry, all over the world,” said Peter Prentice, chairman of the society.

“At the ceremony we inducted new Keepers from no less than 16 different countries which demonstrates the continued popularity of Scotch whisky.”

Click through the following pages to learn more about the new Masters of the Quaich.

Frank Coleman

Senior vice president, public affairs and communications at the Distilled Spirits Council, US

“For over 18 years at the Distilled Spirits Council, Frank has promoted and protected Scotch whisky in the important American market. During his tenure, super premium Scotch whisky sales have grown nearly 600% to over US$1.8 billion.

“In 2002, with the Scotch Whisky Association, Frank organised a biannual trip for high level US media that visited dozens of member distilleries across Scotland, to showcase the various styles and production of Scotch whisky.

“These trips have resulted in literally hundreds of articles and millions of impressions, helping to educate a generation of American drinkers to the tradition, flavours and authenticity of Scotland’s national drink.

“Frank’s Scotch whisky events in New York and Washington DC, often in conjunction the Scottish or British governments, are rightfully renowned for attracting media, government officials, and other key influencers. His office houses a legendary collection of rare Scotch whiskies, which he generously shares with a parade of distinguished visitors. Frank, we salute you.”

Steven Lin

Whisky master school, Taiwan

“Steven started his journey of whisky as a young man by opening his first whisky bar. In 2006, he founded a community Whisky Master School, sharing hundreds of articles about Scotch whisky and hosting innovative and informative tasting events monthly in Taiwan.

“Steven was delighted to be inducted as a Keeper in 2008 and although he studies, appreciates and has been an advocate for Scotch whisky for 30 years, he maintains a fresh passion for his subject. With an acute sense of smell and the ability to describe it, he has been a valuable judge with the IWSC HK yearly since 2010.

“He has published several books and in 2017, he embraced social media to upload a wealth of YouTube episodes about Scotch whisky. Steven was invited to become a board member of the Diageo Whisky Academy in China and he receives requests to give speeches and educate people to build their appreciation of Scotch whisky.

“With hard work and unfailing dedication, Steven is indubitably the key opinion leader in Mandarin-speaking areas.”

Ian Millar

Prestige whisky specialist, William Grant & Sons, Scotland

“Ian begun his illustrious career in Scotch whisky in 1971, working at his local distillery at Atholl. He was elevated to production manager in 1981 and in 1988 moved to Aberfeldy Distillery as a trainee manager, before being promoted to distillery manager at Bladnoch Distillery.

“In 1991, Ian moved from Bladnoch up to Speyside to manage Mortlach Distillery where he spent five happy years and in 1996, he was promoted to senior manager at both Linkwood and Glen Elgin Distilleries.

“Ian left Diageo to join William Grant and Sons to manage their Dufftown operations, which included Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie distilleries. He then moved into a marketing position as global brand ambassador leading the establishment of the global brand ambassador body and liaising with the Glenfiddich marketing team.

“Ian continues to share his wealth of invaluable experience and expertise in a bespoke role created for him as the prestige whisky specialist where he shares his infectious enthusiasm and knowledge with valued customers.”

Michael Fraser Milne

Owner and director of H. L. Milne and Whisky Galore

“Born in Keith, Michael moved to New Zealand over three decades ago, but has retained an unwavering physical and emotional relationship with Scotland and its whiskies.

“He initially began running whisky tours for New Zealand clients, bringing groups to Scotland. He then started to collect Scotch whisky and established his import and retail business.

“In 2003, Michael opened his first Whisky Galore shop in Christchurch where his team has grown and the wholesale division has become one of the most respected in the country.

“Michael’s vast consumer following has been increased by the ongoing success of what has become the ‘go-to’ southern hemisphere whisky fair. Dramfest first appeared in 2007 in Christchurch, returning every two years.

“The show has become a massive success which is testament to Michael’s industry awareness, hospitality and generosity which attracts so many distillers from Scotland.

“His passion for his country of birth, with the support of his family, and the team at Whisky Galore, has given the Scotch whisky industry a hugely important anchor on the far side of the world.”

Martin Reimann

Regional managing director Asia Pacific and India, Edrington Singapore

“Martin is a hugely respected industry veteran, who has had a significant impact on the growth of Scotch whisky in Asia. He was the first employee of the Edrington group in Asia, in 2003.

“Over the past years, he has grown the organisation to more than 300 people, and significantly expanded Edrington’s business in the process. He has been a leader in developing strategies to grow Scotch whisky in the region, building teams to deliver consumer and trade education, sales activity, and marketing campaigns and activities.

“Martin is a ‘born again’ cyclist and has channelled his passion into leading significant fund raising events, including an epic cycle through Vietnam which raised thousands for a local charity. He has embedded this ethos in his teams and encouraged Edrington’s people globally to become involved in charitable activities.

“Martin’s energetic, bold and innovative approach to the business has undoubtedly helped to create momentum for the Edrington brands and Scotch whisky as a whole, in the increasingly important Asian market.”

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