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Nao Spirits launches Jay Dhawan Scholarship

Indian craft gin distiller Nao Spirits has launched the Jay Dhawan Scholarship in memory of the company’s late distiller.

Jay Dhawan
Nao Spirits distiller Jay Dhawan died in 2021

Created in partnership with the Gin Guild, the scholarship will provide one student a year with the opportunity to pursue an MSc (Master of science) in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot Watt University in Scotland.

Nao Spirits says it expects this to be a unique opportunity for members of the Indian food and beverage industry to gain access to a specialised course that provides them with better opportunities globally, and in India’s burgeoning craft spirits industry.

This scholarship was created to celebrate the memory of Nao Spirit’s late distiller, Jay Dhawan, who died in 2021 aged 26.

Dhawan started his career at one of Mumbai’s ‘most celebrated establishments’, Bombay Canteen.

Soon after he joined Nao Spirits to begin distillation training under Dr Anne Brock, who currently holds the post of master distiller at Bombay Sapphire.

Dhawan went on to produce India’s first craft gins Greater Than and Hapusa alongside Anand Virmani, Nao Spirits co-founder and master distiller.

Virmani said: “Jay was a bundle of energy right from day one. It was clear to him that he wanted to break out of the norm and he saw distilling as the path to make this happen.

“We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have shared this journey with him and it only makes sense for us to now be able to provide that same opportunity to others like Jay who work in the food and beverage industry and dream of pushing their boundaries.”

The Gin Guild has committed to supporting the scholarship by contributing 10% of the total amount.

Pal Gleed, director general, the Gin Guild, said: “The Gin Guild is delighted to support this amazing opportunity for a member of the Indian food and beverage industry.

“Jay was incredibly well thought of and known as a real rising star of the gin industry. He was a proud member of the Gin Guild, and loved to learn, so this scholarship in his name is very appropriate.”

This scholarship will be open to all applicants from India, with a preference given to those from the Indian food and beverage sector.

The brand confirmed that applications are being accepted already for next year’s intake, which begins in September 2023.

Information on how to apply is available on the Heriot Watt website.

Last year, Diageo claimed a stake in Nao Spirits.

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