Jim joined the independent company that was to drive the renaissance of the then mothballed Bruichladdich Distilery, on Islay in 2000. Describing it as the “Cinderella” distillery, he released an innovative and thought-provoking portfolio of single malts that challenged previous perceptions in the category.
|Jim McEwan and Bruichladdich CEO Simon Coughlin|
Paying tribute to his part in elevating Bruichladdich to the status of a globally admired brand, 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 has also been the architect of a distillation programme of unparalleled complexity through which has explored barley variety, provenance, traceability and the concept of terroir. He leaves a legacy of over twenty different spirit styles maturing in the company warehouses sitting close to the shores of his beloved Loch Indaal.
Speaking on the news of his retirement, 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.”
Current Assistant Distillery Manager Adam Hannett, who has been working with Jim for many years, learning the craft will take over from Jim when he leaves Bruichladdich in July.