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Diageo master blender to retire

Maureen Robinson, master blender for single malts and blended whisky at Diageo, is stepping down from the role after 45 years in the industry.

Robinson has worked on projects including the Prima & Ultima series

Robinson is said to be one of the first women in the industry to hold the title of master blender. She began her career as a young scientist in 1977 with Diageo’s predecessor firm Distiller’s Company.

She said: “It has been a joy and privilege to work for Diageo in the Scotch whisky industry for so many years, and to share my time with so many talented people here in Scotland and around the world.

“I will always cherish the amazing opportunities and experiences to travel and meet people that Scotch whisky has allowed me and although I am stepping back from the frontline, I will continue to offer my support and encouragement to colleagues in any way I can in the future.”

During her time at Diageo, she has worked with brands including The Singleton, Johnnie Walker, Buchanan’s and Old Parr.

Diageo’s president for supply chain and procurement, Ewan Andrew, added: “Since the 1970s Maureen Robinson has been blazing a trail in our business and the wider industry, breaking down barriers for other women to follow in her pioneering footsteps.

“Her unstinting dedication to quality in her work, and her generosity in sharing her knowledge with others, is an inspiration to us all. Everyone at Diageo is proud of Maureen and everything she has achieved in her remarkable career, and we will all seek to continue the wonderful legacy she has built for our brands and our business.”

“Exceptional whisky blender”

Robinson has also played a significant hand in developing ‘prestigious’ projects such as Diageo Special Releases, the Casks of Distinction programme and the Prima & Ultima series.

Rhona Ferrans, who leads Diageo’s blending team, said: “Maureen has been a wonderful colleague, mentor and friend to everyone in our blending team. As well as being a quite exceptional whisky blender, her dedication to nurturing other members of the team and creating the conditions for others to succeed, is what has defined her incredible 45-year career.”

Diageo has revealed that her legacy will be preserved and her retirement marked as she passes on her blending notes to Diageo malts archivist Jo McKerchar.

McKerchar commented: “The breadth and depth of Maureen’s contribution to our whisky brands has been truly remarkable, and we are honoured to take stewardship of her legacy.

“Our archive is rich with notebooks and bottles created by the great master blenders of the past 200 years, and Maureen’s contribution will be celebrated alongside the legends of the industry.”

Robinson was made Keeper of the Quaich in 2012 in recognition of her contribution to the industry.

In 2017, she celebrated four decades of service at Diageo.

Johnnie Walker recently saw a shake-up in master blenders: Dr Jim Beveridge OBE was replaced with Dr Emma Walker, following his retirement after 40 years.

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