Distillers’ rivalries upheld whatever the weather

Metis Partners have been getting into the swing of things with Christmas jumpers

Metis Partners have been getting into the swing of things with Christmas jumpers

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WHISKY distilling is a close-knit and convivial industry, but there is always time for a good-natured barb at the expense of the competition.

Faced with the start of last week’s “weather bomb”, our hapless reporter grabbed an umbrella emblazoned with the Diageo logo to keep dry on the way to Chivas Brothers’ annual Christmas media lunch. As ever, the maker of Glenlivet, Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s laid on a generous afternoon of food and drink at this year’s venue, the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. But upon spotting the umbrella from Diageo – by far Scotland’s biggest whisky distiller – a quick-witted executive from Chivas queried its functionality: “Is it large and useless?” he quipped with a roguish grin.

What’s in a name?

The Dundee Waterfront team, headed by city council development boss Mike Galloway, battled the elements this week as their roadshow beat a trail south.

More details of the ambitious 30-year plan to regenerate several miles of the city’s River Tay shoreline were laid out at the offices of legal firm MacRoberts in Edinburgh.

At a packed breakfast networking event, Galloway pointed out that the £1 billion scheme, which has a new V&A museum as its centrepiece, had reached the pivotal half-way stage in terms of time-frame and investment.

One detail that does need resolving is the naming of a vast new public square, fronting a redeveloped railway station.

The council chief admitted that the contest to select a name had been deliberately pushed back until after September’s independence referendum vote.

“I was concerned that the only name offered up would have been Independence Square,” quipped Galloway.

Tis the season

IT WAS only a matter of time before the Business Desk’s inbox was hit with a Christmas jumper picture on Friday.

Full marks must go to Metis Partners, the Glasgow-based intellectual property specialist. In an email with the subject line “Ho! Ho! Ho!” we received a particularly festive snap of the team decked in their Xmas clobber.

There was also a footnote/warning: “We are off to our office Christmas party to enjoy some mulled wine and our very own production of the Aladdin panto, so we will respond to all e-mails on Monday. If it’s urgent call [boss] Stephen [Robertson], but we can’t promise he’ll be much help after a few glasses of wine.”

We trust he has made a full recovery.

It’s a family affair

SPARE a thought for Alasdair Cairns, who joined mid-tier accountant French Duncan as corporate tax senior just over two years ago – only to discover this month that his dad is his new boss.

John Cairns, former tax director at BDO, has just joined French Duncan as a tax partner in its Glasgow office. Taxing affairs must be in the genes in the Cairns family. Particularly useful, perhaps, when it comes to advising family-owned businesses about succession and such matters?

A hard habit to break

Old habits at the three-centuries-old Bank of England die hard. Mark Carney, the Canadian governor brought in during the summer of 2013, has ushered in an era of transparency and breezy North American informality. That includes telling staff they can address him as “Mark” rather than the more traditional “Mr Governor”.

However, at a BoE alumni lunch last Wednesday, former members of the Court of the central bank and the monetary policy committee apparently reverted to “Mr Governor” because they felt more used to it.

Hard-bitten hacks say gratefully that Carney has also broken with tradition in central banking by not infrequently using intelligible, shorter sentences in his speeches and appearances before MPs than is customary in the delphic world of central banker-speak.

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