Balvenie named successor of David Stewart

Kelsey McKechnie will follow him as Malt Master

David Stewart has been working in the whisky industrie for more than 56 years. He probably is the longest-serving malt master at all and he can look back at numerous awards. Two years ago for example he was awarded the Queen’s MBE and can call himself “Member of the Order of the British Empir“. David Stewart was the driving force behind the development of the Balvenie Single Malt Whisky over the last decades but now it is time to set course for the future, so the company of William Grant & Sons decided. Several media reported today about the announcement of the future malt master of Balvenie: Kelsey McKechnie will take over David Stewart’s role.

But this is no change from one day to the next: Kelsey McKechnie will be an „apprentice“, mentored by David Stewart for a transition period. She will get deeper insights and will be guided and supervised. During this time, she will develop her first releases and the baton will be passed by and by. It is not known yet when the apprenticeship will end.

The 25-year-old Kelsey McKechnie got a degree in Biology and Biological Sciences and will finish her studies of Brewing and Distilling at the Heriot-Watt-University in Edinburgh this getting her Master of Science degree. McKechnie already has been working for William Grant & Sons as a Whisky Technologist and contributed to several new releases, assisting Brian Kingsman and David Stewart.

This gradual transition shall ensure the continuity of the character and quality of the Balvenie Single Malt releases. William Grant & Sons is not the only whisky company that chooses the way of mentoring: 2015 Dr. Bill Lumsden started to coach Brendan McCarron and prepare him as his successor at Glenmorangie (we reported).