Our Craftsmen – Tradition and Innovation (Part 2)

31 May 2013

David Allardice, Glenfiddich Ambassador

In 1886, William Grant founded our distillery in Dufftown with the singular goal in mind—to create the best dram in the valley. Today, over a century later, Glenfiddich is now recognized as the best-selling single malt in the world. In my previous post, I introduced you to some of the key craftspeople responsible for maintaining the spirit that is William Grant’s legacy. Today I’ll take you inside our cooperage and warehouse to meet three more individuals who work diligently to preserve the integrity of William Grant’s dream and the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky.   


Cooper Richard Anderson

Glenfiddich, since 1959, is one of the few distilleries to maintain an onsite cooperage. These days our coopers must complete a four-year apprenticeship. Richard Anderson is one of 11 coopers and acknowledges that sometimes, “It is a real challenge to repair our casks at the rate that is required to meet our filling demand.” Even so, Richard admits that the most rewarding aspect of his job is, “seeing all the awards Glenfiddich rakes in year after year, and knowing I played an important part in that success.”


Warehouseman Mike Dawson

Head Warehouseman Mike Dawson spends much of his time tending to casks in Warehouse 8, where we keep our unique Solera Vat—an innovation created by Malt Master David Stewart in 1999. It will come as no surprise then that Mike’s favorite dram is actually mellowed in our Solera Vat—Glenfiddich 15 Year Old. After six years at William Grant & Sons, Mike defines his biggest day-to-day challenge as “trying to keep up with what is an ever-increasing demand for our whiskies.”

Malt Master

Malt Master Brian Kinsman

Brian Kinsman, our beloved and talented Malt Master, served an eight-year apprenticeship under David Stewart, the industry’s longest serving Malt Master who is currently in his 51st year with William Grant & Sons.

He says, “I joined William Grant & Sons as a chemist with no knowledge of the industry, but I was instantly fascinated. I knew I wanted to be involved in as much depth and detail as possible.”

With Brian Kinsman at the helm, Glenfiddich continues to play a major role in the innovative world of whisky production. Brian’s passion for innovation is evident in the Glenfiddich expressions he has created since taking over from David Stewart in 2009, which include Snow Phoenix, Malt Master’s Edition and the new 19 Year Old Age of Discovery range. Brian has said of his role as Malt Master, “The most important attribute you must have to become a malt master is to have a good nose.” We like to think he has one of the best.