Scotch whisky: new master blender for William Grant

21 October, 2009

Scotch whisky industry veteran David Stewart is handing over the reins as master distiller at William Grant & Sons to Brian Kinsman, with effect from Dec 1 2009.

Kinsman becomes only the sixth master blender in the company’s history. He joined the independent family distiller in 1997 having graduated with a first class honours degree in chemistry from St Andrews University, and has served an eight year apprenticeship under Stewart.

In his new role, Kinsman will be malt master for Glenfiddich and master blender for Grant’s blended scotch whiskies, and he assumes responsibility for all spirit quality, including new make and maturing inventories for the company’s brands distilled around the world.

Stewart, who turns 65 next February, is to continue as malt master for The Balvenie in Dufftown, therefore remaining the longest serving malt master in the industry, having already clocked up 47 years at William Grant.

In that time, Stewart’s list of achievements includes the development of innovations such as The Balvenie DoubleWood and Glenfiddich Solera Reserve, as well as the first blends to be finished in ale and sherry casks, with the Grant’s Ale Cask Reserve and Sherry Cask Reserve.

“For eight years I have worked side by side with Brian, sharing my experience and knowledge of achieving the perfect blend,” says Stewart. “Brian has not only the skill but also the passion to take on one of the most important jobs in the industry – just like the few Grant’s master blenders before him. I have no hesitation in handing over the reins and look forward to watching him continue the craft of making Grant’s whisky to the same high standards as his predecessors.”

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