WhiskyFest San Francisco Speaker Martin Daraz
Martin Daraz is the Brand Ambassador for Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky in the USA and Asia Pacific. Martin began his career with The Edrington Group when he was appointed as the Brand Ambassador for the USA in 2006, based out of New York. He relocated to Los Angeles in 2009 before taking up his current role with expanded responsibility for the Asia Pacific region in 2012. In addition to Highland Park, The Edrington Group owns The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and Brugal.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Martin studied Graphic Design at Grays School of Art and Film Production at the University of South West Scotland. He worked as an independent film maker and theatre director in the UK before moving to the US in 2004 to take up a place at the prestigious Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab. Martin was the first person from Scotland to be chosen to participate in this program and was subsequently invited back the following year.
Less than two years into his job as Highland Park Brand Ambassador, Martin was awarded the Ambassador of the Year award by The Whisky Guild of America, in recognition of his contribution to Scotch Whisky awareness and education. Since then Martin has gone on to present to standing-room only seminars at every WhiskyFest and Whisky Live convention in the USA as well as Walt Disney’s Annual Epcot Food and Wine Festival. With a combination of knowledge, humor and audience participation, his presentations have become the standard by which others are judged.
When he is not collaborating with world renowned chefs like Johnny Iuzzini, host of Bravo Television’s Top Chef Just Desserts, Martin can be found working on new cocktail recipes with bartenders like Joe Brooke of Mixology 101 and winner of NBC’s America’s Top Bartender. Martin regularly presents to audiences across America that include everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to tattooed bartenders. As the public face of the Highland Park brand, Martin has been featured on Bloomberg TV, CNN, Gilt TV and in Maxim amongst others. Martin particularly enjoys travelling back to the distillery to share the unique Highland Park experience with VIP aficionados. These people are some of the largest collectors of single malt in the world. His other key responsibilities include travelling the length and breadth of the country visiting key markets, conducting trade trainings and meeting the media to sing the praises of Highland Park in his distinctive Scottish brogue!
Martin currently lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife Mila.