Scotch whisky icons honoured by Diageo at the bi-annual Keepers of the Quaich banquet

The leading global distiller, Diageo celebrated noteworthy employees and stakeholders at the bi-annual Keepers of the Quaich banquet.
Eight diageo nominees were inducted as keepers of the quaich at the 63rd bi-annual banquet. Image: mike wilkinson.
Eight Diageo nominees were inducted as Keepers of the Quaich at the 63rd bi-annual banquet. Image: Mike Wilkinson.

At the 63rd edition of this year’s bi-annual Keepers of the Quaich banquet, Diageo recognised a number of key employees and stakeholders for their exceptional contribution to Scotch whisky. 

The ceremony was held on Monday, 4 April at Blair Castle in Blair Atholl, Scotland. Of the eight nominees from across the globe, four nominees from India were christened Keepers of the Quaich.

A legend in the indian hospitality industry, shatbhi basu has spent four decades as a bartender, beverage consultant, author, tv presenter and educator - always with scotch whisky at her heart. She was one of the stakeholder nominees by diageo at the april banquet.
A legend in the Indian hospitality industry, Shatbhi Basu has spent four decades as a bartender, beverage consultant, author, TV presenter and educator – always with scotch whisky at her heart. She was one of the stakeholder nominees by Diageo at the April banquet.

An international society established by the scotch whisky industry, Keepers of the Quaich celebrates those with outstanding commitment to the production, promotion and protection of the world’s finest distilled spirit. Founded towards the end of the 80s, this invite-only club seeks to promote scotch whisky independent of individual company goals.

Prathmesh mishra led the growth of scotch whisky in india for over 22 years. He's renowned for leading johnnie walker and bottled scotch sales to record sales in india.
Prathmesh Mishra, one of the chosen Diageo nominees, has led the growth of scotch whisky in India for over 22 years. He’s renowned for leading Johnnie Walker and bottled scotch sales to record sales in India.

This year’s banquet saw 43 people inducted as Keepers of the Quaich. Five were honoured as Masters of the Quaich, widely considered the industry’s highest accolade. The nominees came from 15 countries around the world including India, Mexico, South Africa, France and Sweden. To qualify as a Master of the Quaich you need to have been a member for at least ten years, as well as significantly active.

Another stakeholder nominee by diageo, puneet chattwal boasts an impressive four decades and then some in the scotch whisky industry.
Another stakeholder nominee by Diageo, Puneet Chhatwal boasts an impressive four decades and then some in the hospitality industry.

Amongst those honoured as Masters of the Quaich was Diageo’s Edward Pilkington, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer for North America. He was recognized for an impressive 30 years in the industry, during which he has led scotch growth for the company in the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the US, and Canada.

The global leading distiller, Diageo had eight nominees accepted as Keepers of the Quaich. The chosen five employees and three stakeholders had all demonstrated an exceptional contribution to the industry.

Diageo nominees

  • Julie Bramham, Global Brand Director, Johnnie Walker
  • James Mackay, Head of Rare & Exceptional Spirits
  • Prathmesh Mishra, Chief Commercial Officer, Diageo India
  • Jackie Robertson, Master Distiller, Brora Distillery
  • Claudia Schubert, President of US Spirits & Canada

Stakeholder nominees

  • Shatbhi Basu, Partner, Creative Consultants; STIR Academy of Bartending
  • Puneet Chhatwal, CEO, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd
  • Manish Pardasani, Director (Chairman), Mumbai Wines & Trades Private Ltd

The April edition of the banquet was noteworthy for more than one reason. It marked the introduction of Diageo’s Ian Smith as Chair of Keepers of the Quaich, one of the most distinguished industry leadership positions. The title bestowed him with the responsibility for running the Keepers Management Committee, as well as presiding over the Blair Castle ceremony for a three-year term.

Through his innovative retail approach, manish pardasani has managed to redefine and boost the popularity of scotch whisky in india.
Through his innovative retail approach, Manish Pardasani has managed to redefine and boost the popularity of scotch whisky in India.

Commenting on becoming Chair, Ian Smith says, “It is a real privilege to lead Keepers of the Quaich and to be able to celebrate people from all around the world, from a vast range of backgrounds, who have made exceptional contributions to scotch whisky. It was a delight to welcome guests from 15 different countries, representing every aspect of whisky from grain, to distillery, to glass, and to celebrate their outstanding achievements.”

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