No drama, but plenty of drams for Scotland’s first female distiller

Whisky bosses have toasted Scotland's first female malt distiller

She was a trailblazer in an industry which has traditionally been dominated by men.

But now, Liz Stewart, 57, Scotland’s first female operator in malt distilling, is about to celebrate her retirement and her employers are marking the occasion in a spirited fashion.

After more than 30 years of service at Dalwhinnie Distillery, where she advanced from the warehouse to mash house and the still house, Ms Stewart – or ‘Lizzie’ as she’s known by her colleagues – will finally hang up her overalls tomorrow.

But, in recognition of her dedicated service, Diageo is marking the occasion with the launch of a new exclusive distillery bottling, which they have called ‘Lizzie’s Dram’.

It is a fitting acknowledgement of how she has made waves in the Scotch Whisky trade during the last three decades.

Ms Stewart originally started her career at Dalwhinnie Distillery in the Highland village in 1987.

Since then, the woman who has lived in the little community all her life, has worked in a variety of capacities and there are few jobs at the plant which she hasn’t undertaken.

She has filled casks in the warehouse, overseen the process of fermentation in the mash house and been part of the creation of whisky at the still.

And it is clear she has thrived while being up close and personal to the country’s national drink.

Ms Stewart said: “I have loved every moment of my time working in the Scotch Whisky industry, and I can’t quite believe it is coming to an end.

“I am extremely proud to have made history as the first female operator in malt distilling, and I can quite honestly say that I’ve felt a part of the team since day one.

“I hope that women continue to get involved and realise the career opportunities that the Scotch Whisky industry boasts.

“Hopefully, my story might inspire more women to take up a career here and elsewhere.”

As she prepares to bow out with one final dram, Ms Stewart is among Diageo’s vanguard of female distillers, engineers, blenders and brand ambassadors.

At the moment, a quarter of all the firm’s apprentices are female – 17% of the malt distilling workforce is female and 40% are in management roles.