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Ardgowan appoints Mike Keiller as chair

Lowland distillery Ardgowan has named former Morrison Bowmore Distillers CEO Mike Keiller as its new chair, taking over from Willie Phillips.

Ardgowan Distillery's Mike Keiller
Mike Keiller has joined Ardgowan Distillery as chair

Keiller’s career in the industry began at Scotch whisky brand Bell’s in Perth, Scotland, and was followed by senior finance and corporate roles at Guinness, United Distillers Europe and Diageo.

He joined Morrison Bowmore Distillers as CEO in 2000 for 14 years and helped transform the firm from a bulk whisky supplier into a brand-led business with whiskies such as Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch.

After his retirement from Morrison Bowmore Distillers, the qualified accountant served as a non-executive director with The Last Drop Distillers from 2016 until 2018. He will continue to hold a non-executive director position at Distil.

Martin McAdam, Ardgowan Distillery CEO, said: “Mike is a fantastic guy and it’s great to welcome him as our new chair as we enter a very exciting phase of our business. In the months ahead we will commence the build of our world-leading carbon negative distillery with the goal of producing the very finest premium malt whisky.

“Mike’s industry experience in Scotland, the UK and internationally, and in particular his skills in building a global brand, will prove crucial as our production ramps up in the years to come.”

Keiller took over the position of chair from Phillips, who is stepping down after four years at Ardgowan and 50 years in the whisky industry.

McAdam added: “I also wish to play tribute to our outgoing chairman Willie Phillips, who supported us through the challenging start-up phase. Willie will now become president of our whisky tasting forum – and I look forward to nosing our first new make spirit alongside him.”

In June 2021, the Ardgowan Distillery confirmed its Inverclyde distillery project would go ahead after it received £8.4 million in funding, led by principal investor Roland Grain and additional investment from Distil.

Keiller said: “It is exciting to be joining the Ardgowan Distillery as they seek to realise their vision of producing the highest quality malt whisky at their groundbreaking new distillery.

“I’m relishing the opportunity to work with Martin on the company’s corporate strategy and to being part of a young, dynamic and fast-growing team of passionate whisky pioneers.”

In December 2021, Ardgowan submitted a new planning application for its whisky distillery and visitor centre, featuring a sustainable Nordic design.

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