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English Whisky Guild hires CEO

The English Whisky Guild (EWG) has appointed former Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) executive Morag Garden as its first CEO.

English Whisky Guild CEO Morag Garden
Morag Garden has joined the English Whisky Guild as its new CEO

The new hire also marks the first full-time employee for EWG, which was launched in May 2022.

The first step of the EWG has been to submit a geographical indicator (GI) to the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

Garden joins the EWG after a decade at trade group the SWA, where she served as head of sustainability and innovation, and most recently 18 months within global sustainability consultancy Accenture.

Garden brings experience in legislation, production and environmentalism to the role, the EWG said.

“The appointment of Morag Garden as the CEO of the English Whisky Guild is a vote of confidence by the industry about its future role in the global whisky market,” said Andrew Nelstrop, chair of the EWG and owner of The English Whisky Co.

The EWG said the new appointment comes at a time when the English whisky industry is experiencing huge growth with whisky drinkers.

The EWG conducted a survey of English distilleries in March/April 2023, which found that approximately 50,000 casks of English whisky are expected to be laid down by distilleries by the end of 2024.

The value of this maturing stock is forecast to exceed £1 billion (US$1.2bn) over the same period, the EWG noted.

Currently, more than 38,000 casks of English whisky are maturing in distillery warehouses, the survey found.

Furthermore, 97% of English distilleries said they are making single malt whisky, with a quarter also using other grains, such as rye.

“I am delighted to represent the English whisky sector which is continuing to grow, innovate and produce the highest-quality spirit,” said Morag.

“I am looking forward to working with EWG members, with our supply chain, government and other key organisations to deliver the EWG’s vision for English whisky to be recognised globally as a respected choice for whisky drinkers.”

The EWG said English whisky distilleries have created jobs for 443 people in the country, from Northumberland to Cornwall.

English whisky is available in more than 32 markets around the world, the EWG survey revealed.

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