Jim McEwan, former Master Distiller at Bruichladdich, and who was lured out of retirement to head up production at the Ardnahoe Distillery has been made an MBE for services to the Scotch Whisky industry and to the community in Islay.
Born in Bowmore on Islay, he started his career as a trainee cooper at the Bowmore Distillery at age 15, going on to become cellar master. In 1976 he trained as a blender at Morrison Bowmore before returning to Bowmore Distillery as manager 10 years later.
In 2001, McEwan became Master distiller at Bruichladdich, going on to become Master Distiller of the Year four times and being inducted into the Whisky Hall of Fame, before retiring in 2015. He was then tempted back to Ardnahoe Distillery by Glasgow whisky firm Hunter Laing & Co, to help design the new Islay distillery which opened in 2018, leaving around 3 years ago with the new spirit in production (see the video below).
During his 15 years as Master Distiller for Bruichladdich, McEwan produced a number of innovative whiskies, including Octomore, and popular Islay gin, The Botanist.
Main photo:L-R Stewart Laing, Jim McEwan, Andrew Laing and Scott Laing. Photo credit: Ralph Dunning