Diageo announces key positions at Port Ellen and Brora
Dream jobs for Lagavulin's Georgie Crawford and Clynelish's Stewart Bowman
When Lagavulin – traditionally the first distillery – celebrates today's Open Day at the Feis Ile Festival 2018 on Islay, it will also be the last day of Georgette "Georgie" Crawford. 35 years after its closure, Georgie was appointed as project implementation manager of the neighbouring Port Ellen distillery by owner Diageo. In return, Colin Gordon, currently site operations manager at Port Ellen Maltings, will succeed Crawford as distillery manager.
Islay-born Georgie Crawford has successfully managed the Lagavulin distillery for over seven years and won the Distillery Manager of the Year Award at the Icons of Whisky Scotland Awards in Edinburgh in 2014. For Georgie, the opportunity to bring the legendary Port Ellen distillery back into production is a truly once in a lifetime opportunity that she’s looking forward to.
Meanwhile, Brora-native Stewart Bowman will quit his role as site operations manager at Clynelish to revive single malt whisky production at the neighbouring Brora distillery, as its owner Diageo also has announced. Both new appointees are from the local communities where the distilleries are located and thus bring a great understanding of the heritage and roots of these distilleries.
Port Ellen and Brora were both closed in 1983 as they were considered superfluous to the Scottish whisky industry. In the warehouses, however, there are still casks filled with the finest single malts, which are launched annually by Diageo in limited editions and have since then acquired a cult status among lovers of malt whisky. In October last year, Diageo announced plans to invest £35 million to reawaken Port Ellen and Brora. According to the plan, production is to resume in 2020: Brora by refurbishing existing buildings and Port Ellen in a new building on the Islay site.