Whisky Advocate Award: Lifetime AchievementFebruary 13th, 2012
The 18th Annual Whisky Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are Douglas Campbell of Tomatin Distillery and Dave Scheurich of Woodford Reserve. —Lew Bryson
Our Lifetime Achievement awards go to people who have distinguished themselves in the industry over long years of service. In the case of Douglas Campbell of the Tomatin distillery, though…it goes a bit beyond that, in a generational sense. Campbell’s family has lived near Tomatin since 1894; his grandfather moved there to work on the Tomatin viaduct (completed in 1897, the same year as the distillery). His grandmother worked as a housekeeper at Tomatin house, and his father worked at the distillery as a cooper.
It’s no surprise then, that Douglas started work at Tomatin in April of 1961 at the age of fifteen. His first job was as a clerk, and he moved through almost every area in the distillery — the maltings, filling store, mash house, still house, cooperage — before being appointed head brewer in 1988, then distillery manager in 1990. He was appointed master distiller in 2009, and now, after 50 years with the company, man and boy, works as a brand ambassador.
Those who know Douglas Campbell describe him as a quiet, unassuming man who does not like being in the limelight. Our apologies for making such a fuss, Douglas, but dedication such as yours should not go unnoticed.
Dave Scheurich started in the whiskey industry in 1969, with Seagram. After a solid beginning there, he moved in and out of the industry, always in production and packaging (including a stint as director of bottling for Wild Turkey), before joining Brown-Forman in 1989 as facilities manager for their corporate headquarters.
But what we really know Dave for is the project he got in 1994: the restoration of the Labrot & Graham distillery, which would become Woodford Reserve. He managed the $10 million renovation of the historic distillery, including the installation of the three copper pot stills. The enthusiasm and attention to detail he displayed in the renovation project led to his position as plant manager once the distillery started operations.
Dave took over Woodford in true old-school style: he moved into a house on the distillery property with his wife Della (who also worked for Brown-Forman as a Woodford Reserve bottler, tour guide, and brand ambassador). Until his retirement in 2011, he managed day-to-day operations: distilling, warehousing, bottling, and shipping.
He has since started a consulting business — clearly a man who can’t sit still — which is good news for those of us who enjoy his good company and habitual grin. Congratulations, Dave, and best of luck.