The leading global distiller, Diageo celebrated noteworthy employees and stakeholders at the bi-annual Keepers of the Quaich banquet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.”