WhiskyFest New York Panelist Jim McEwan
Jim McEwan is Production Director and Master Distiller at Bruichladdich on the Hebridean island of Islay. He joined the group of “Laddies” that brought the dormant distillery back to life in 2001 and was awarded the title ‘Distiller of the Year’ in 2003 having received the accolade twice before in 1998 and 2000 while at Bowmore where he was apprenticed as a cooper at the age of 15. An Islay man, an Ileach born and bred, he married his childhood sweetheart Barbara, in the church near Bruichladdich, which was perhaps an omen…
A love of Islay is apparent in everything Jim McEwan creates. He is passionate about the importance of people and place, evangelizing about using Islay barley in his whiskies and Islay botanicals in his gin. He is uncompromising about the importance of Islay maturation in the development of flavour profiles in whisky.
Prior to his move to Bruichladdich, Jim rose to become Distillery Manager at Bowmore, where he had also enjoyed a three year stint as a blender – a highly skilled job for which he had a particular aptitude. He was subsequently appointed worldwide Brand Ambassador, enthusing about whisky to appreciative audiences while travelling the globe.
Jim has acquired several honorary awards during a career that now spans fifty years, including ‘Industry Leader of the Year’ (USA) – the first time it was awarded – and Personality of the Year.
There had been rumours of retirement, but happily these have recently been quashed with the announcement that he will be staying at Bruichladdich for another few years at least…