Distilling Legend Jim McEwan Announces Retirement

April 24, 2015
By Alana House
After over 52 years in the business, Production Director and Master Distiller at Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay, Jim McEwan has announced that he will retire in July 2015.

Jim joined the independent company in 2000, describing it as a ‘Cinderella’ distillery. A legendary figure in the Scotch whisky industry, he has over his extensive career released many innovative and thought-provoking single malts, challenging previous conceptions of the category and leaving a legacy of over twenty spirit styles maturing in the company warehouses near Loch Indaal.

Jim was also the architect of a distillation programme of unparalleled complexity through which the progressive Hebridean distillery explored barley variety, provenance, traceability and the concept of terroir.

Bruichladdich CEO, Simon Coughlin said: “Working with Jim for these past 15 years has been both exciting and stimulating. His deep understanding of the liquid and his ability to communicate the passion he feels for the spirit, for Islay and its people has been an inspiration to us all.

“Jim’s achievements and accolades are innumerable. His creation of Octomore – the world’s most heavily peated whisky series, and then the innovation behind The Botanist Islay Dry Gin cemented his reputation as one of the greatest distillers of his generation.

Jim McEwan said: “This has been an incredible journey. As I take a small step across the road to spend more time with my wife and family, I leave behind a truly great team of eighty men and women who will carry this distillery and its spirit forward. I am so proud to have been able to play my part in nurturing what was an incredible opportunity, to bring this old distillery back to life and reinvest in Islay and its people.”
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