Scottish whiskey's summer of change: New owners for Tormore and changing of the guard at The Glenlivet

It’s a time of change in the whisky industry.

While some headlines are declaring a summer of discontent due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, rail strikes and airport chaos, some of the whisky industry is going through a summer of change.

Big names, such as Alan Winchester, master distiller for The Glenlivet, have retired, leaving a new guard in charge of one of the nation’s oldest brand names.

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French spirits giant Pernod Ricard has brands including The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal. Picture: John Devlin

After 48 years in the industry, Winchester, who spoke about his career on our podcast Scran, retired last month and spoke fondly of his time working creating whisky.

He said: “Taking on the role of master distiller of The Glenlivet was truly an honour. Representing such a revered, quintessential single malt has been nothing short of a privilege.

"It has been a real joy to promote Scotch around the world, especially to a new generation of drinkers who have enabled us to broaden the boundaries of what Scotch whisky can be.

"Our audience is constantly evolving their ideas and attitudes, which in turn pushes the industry to diversify and innovate the craft in new and interesting ways. The future of Scotch is very bright and I look forward to watching what happens next – with a dram in hand of course.”

Another turning point for a Speyside name is the change in ownership of Tormore from Penod Ricard to Elixir Distillers. Built in 1960 by Sir Albert Richardson, Tormore is known as the ‘pearl of Speyside’ and is certainly one of the more striking distilleries seen as you drive through scenic whisky country.

Those who have lamented the fact you can’t visit it are in luck, as plans include a visitor centre and refurbishment. The move marks Elixir Distillers philosophy to ‘bottle only the very highest quality whiskies’.

Co-founder Sukhinder Singh said of the acquisition: "We are hoping to build on the work that’s been done by Pernod Ricard to bring to life the magic of Tormore and show consumers around the world just what a hidden gem it is. We are humbled to be the new custodians of Tormore, we couldn’t have asked for a better distillery to welcome to the Elixir family alongside our new Islay distillery Portintruan.”

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