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Icons of Whisky 2015

It has been a really exciting year for Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky. For the first time, we invited those in the industry to have their say and help us identify the finest companies and individuals throughout the whisky world.

Splitting the process into four stages, we invited people to nominate and vote for their Icons in America, Scotland and Rest of World. Our editorial panel then had the unenviable task of deciding on the winner of the global title in each of our Icons categories.

With new producers springing up across the world and craft distilling growing in popularity, it is no surprise that the results are representative of the increasing presence of whisky on a global scale.

We hope you will join us in celebrating and congratulating the finest people and places in the industry and we very much look forward to starting the process all over again for the 2016 awards.

Craft Whisky Producer of the Year

St. George Spirits (America)

St. George Spirits has been producing a fine array of artisanal products since 1982. Among these are single malt whiskey, bourbon, agricole rum, absinthe and a selection of gins, brandies and liqueurs. Their latest release of St. George Single Malt Whiskey, Lot 14 was released in September 2014, just in time to celebrate their Icons of Whisky success!

Shortlist
St. George Spirits America
Sullivans Cove Rest of World (Tasmania)

Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year

Jack Teeling - Teeling Whiskey Company (Ireland)

Jack Teeling is the founder and Managing Director of Teeling Whiskey Company.

Since 1782 the Teeling family has been crafting Irish whiskey and Jack embodies the family’s entrepreneurial spirit. He has been involved in the Irish whiskey industry for nearly 15 years and prides himself on being at the forefront of the next wave of Irish whiskey producers. The new Teeling distillery, due to open in 2015 will be the first new distillery in Dublin for over 125 years and will be located in the family’s spiritual home of the Liberties.

Shortlist
Fred Noe, Beam Suntory America
Rick Edwards, Pernod Ricard USA America
Jack Teeling, Teeling Whiskey Company Rest of World (Ireland)
Stephen Marshall, John Dewar & Sons Scotland

Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year

Buffalo Trace Distillery (America)

Buffalo Trace Distillery has won numerous awards and titles over the years and recently added National Historic Landmark to the list. But it is the impressive portfolio of innovative brands that has earned it the Icons title of Whisky Brand Innovator of the year. Whether it be Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle or Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley’s handcrafted spirits, it is fair to say that they produce a quality dram for every occasion.

Shortlist
Buffalo Trace Distillery America
Kavalan Distillery Rest of World (Taiwan)
William Grant & Sons Scotland

Whisky Distiller of the Year

The Benriach Distillery Company (Scotland)

In 2004, The BenRiach Distillery Company was established by Billy Walker, Wayne Kieswetter and Geoff Bell with the acquisition of the BenRiach Distillery in Elgin. Since then, the company has grown significantly with the addition of the GlenDronach Distillery in 2008, a Highland distillery famous for producing richly sherried single malt whisky, as well as the purchase of Glenglassaugh Distillery, a coastal Highland single malt distillery located near Portsoy, in 2013.

The traditional distilling methods, dedicated craftsmen and high quality casks create the unique character of each single malt, generating an extensive portfolio of award winning malts.

Shortlist
Four Roses Distillery America
Distell Rest of World (South Africa)
The BenRiach Distillery Company Scotland

Whisky Distillery Manager / Master Distiller of the Year

Ian Chang - Kavalan Distillery (Taiwan)

Ian Chang joined Kavalan distillery in 2005 as Master Blender but within his role he also encompasses that of Brand Ambassador, Director of Global Business Development and Head of Research and Development. That said, no one understands Kavalan’s whisky and brands better than this man. He puts the consumer at the heart of everything he does and aims to target whisky lovers of all ages, while expecting top quality every time.

Shortlist
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery America
Ian Chang, Kavalan Distillery Rest of World (Taiwan)
Georgie Crawford, Lagavulin Distillery Scotland

Whisky Distributor of the Year

Southern Wine & Spirits (America)

Southern Wine & Spirits puts customers and suppliers at the forefront of everything the company does. It currently operates in 35 states and constantly strives to be the leading distributor of alcohol thanks to superior quality service and continuous improvements to the business.

Shortlist
Southern Wine & Spirits America
The Really Great Brand Company Rest of World (South Africa)

Whisky Importer of the Year

Whisk-E (Japan)

Whisk-e Ltd. has been importing Scotch whiskies from independent distillers since the turn of the century and has more recently extended its ‘craft’ portfolio to both beers and spirits. By acting as a bridge between producer and consumer the company hopes to make each side aware of the others’ needs and aspirations. Through their subsidiary company Drinks Media Japan, they have been organising Whisky Live Tokyo since its inception in 2000.

Shortlist
Anchor Distilling Company America
Whisk-e Rest of World (Japan)

Whisky Retailer of the Year - Multiple Outlets

Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop (Scotland)

Established in 1842, Cadenhead’s is Scotland’s oldest Independent Bottler. Two of their nine shops are in Scotland, namely Edinburgh and Campbeltown.

Specialising in all Cadenhead whisky, gin and rum releases provides a continually evolving stock list ensuring there is always something new to discover when visiting one of the shops. Each shop also has a selection of whisky to buy straight from the cask and the knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to let you try before you buy.

Shortlist
Binny’s Beverage Depot America
La Maison Du Whisky Rest of World (France)
Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop Scotland

Whisky Retailer of the Year - Online

Royal Mile Whiskies - www.Royalmilewhiskies.com (Scotland)

Whether you are after a special gift idea, or just your favourite dram, you are sure to find it in this superb online store. Royal Mile Whiskies offers a fine selection of whiskies from all over the world as well as an A to Z of other spirits ranging from Absinthe to wines. However, the clever interactive map of Scotland featured throughout the site proves that this is far from just a retailer. Royal Mile Whiskies will educate even the most inexperienced of whisky drinkers, and you need never mix up a Speysider from an Islander again.

Shortlist
Binny’s Beverage Depot America
The Whisky Exchange Rest of World (England)
Royal Mile Whiskies Scotland

Whisky Retailer of the Year - Single Outlet

Berry Bros. & Rudd (England)

Berry Bros. & Rudd have been trading from the same shop at 3 St James’s Street London since 1698, making it Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant.

This wonderful Georgian store boasts a vast range of wines and spirits from as little as £5 to £5,000. With two Royal Warrants, the company is proud to be able to continue to supply wines and spirits to royalty and keep their customers satisfied with a philosophy of constant innovation.

Shortlist
Julio’s Liquors America
Berry Bros. & Rudd Rest of World (England)
Gordon & MacPhail Scotland

Whisky Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year

Julie Gorham - Four Roses Distillery (America)

Julie has played a key role in supervising and managing the Four Roses Distillery Visitor Centre since July 2004 and she spearheaded the remodelling of the huge and beautiful distillery completed in autumn 2012. She is also involved in the remodelling of the new Cox’s Creek Visitor Centre. Under Julie’s management, visitors have grown from 3,677 to a massive 49,507 over the years. Her deep experience, retail and design knowledge, as well as her management skills and excellent ability with people, have enabled her to excel.

Shortlist
Julie Gorham, Four Roses Distillery America
Andrew Nelstrop, The English Whisky Company Rest of World (England)
Susan Colville,Benromach Distillery Scotland

Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year

Suntory Yamazaki Distillery (Japan)

The Suntory Yamazaki Distillery tour promises to teach you everything you need to know about how they produce a variety of distinctive single malt whiskies.

You will learn all about the fermentation process and pay a visit to the distillation room to discover the secret behind the vast range of flavours produced here. Visit the whisky as it ‘sleeps’ in the ageing warehouse before completing your journey in the Yamazaki guest room. Here you will learn how to enjoy the whisky at its best.

Shortlist
Maker’s Mark America
Suntory Yamazaki Distillery Rest of World (Japan)
The Famous Grouse Experience Scotland