Johnnie Walker is preparing to appoint their first female master blender as Dr Jim Beveridge OBE announces his retirement.
Mr Beveridge served more than 40 years at Diageo. He started his career with Johnnie Walker as an analytical chemist 42 years ago, before holding the position of master blender for the last two decades.
He has gone on to establish himself as one of the most highly respected figures in the industry, renowned for his skill and dedication to quality.
Creators of the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky have announced the industry legend will hand over the reins to Dr Emma Walker, who will become the first female to take on the coveted role.
Dr Walker will take up her new position from January 1.
Dr Beveridge said he is thrilled to see a treasured colleague follow his lead.
He said: “It is with pleasure and confidence that I pass on this privilege to Emma. I know she will do a wonderful job as she possesses the knowledge, expertise, and dedication to make an amazing Master Blender.
“On a personal level I am delighted for her, and I know that her wonderfully infectious personality, that made working with her so enjoyable, will bring something exciting and different to the team and, indeed, to the wider Scotch industry.”
First female master blender
Dr Walker joined Diageo 13 years ago and has gained extensive knowledge and experience of Scotch production and innovation to become a highly respected blender who has worked extensively on Johnnie Walker for the last six years.
Her innovations include the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare series and Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker.
Speaking of her appointment, she said: “I am honoured to take on the title of Master Blender of Johnnie Walker, and at an exciting time for the brand as we embark on the next step of our journey looking ahead to the next 200 years.
“I love experimenting and innovating with flavour and we’ll be working hard to not only continue to deliver the unrivalled quality that we are renowned for but also introducing blends to appeal to a new generation of Scotch whisky fans.
“I have learnt so much over my career working with Jim – whose knowledge and generosity of spirit is unsurpassed in the world of whisky.”
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A new era for whisky blending
The role of Johnnie Walker master blender is one of the most coveted in the industry.
From next year, she will lead the 12-strong team of expert whisky makers in the pursuit of exceptional flavour, crafting and blending whisky from the four corners of Scotland.
In July, Diageo reported that global Scotch organic net sales grew 15% year-on-year with Johnnie Walker organic net sales up 12%, as the category benefited from the growing trend of premiumisation amongst consumers.
Julie Bramham, global brand director for Johnnie Walker, said: “It is through Jim’s tireless work, incredible expertise and dedication to quality that the iconic flavours of the Johnnie Walker portfolio are so popular today and we thank him for his outstanding contribution over the last four decades.
“Emma takes over at an exciting time, Scotch is being enjoyed in so many different ways by people from all over the world and I know that Emma and her team will continue to develop the exceptional tastes, textures and flavours that we are renowned for.”