The Balvenie’s malt master David Stewart, regarded as the longest serving malt master in the industry has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list with a MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to the Scotch whisky industry.
MBE’s are awarded by a government honours committee to recognise “significant achievement or outstanding service to the community”.
Stewart’s career spans almost 54 years in the industry. His pioneering techniques have had a profound impact on modern Scotch whisky production methods, especially in relation to ‘cask finishes’.
Stewart has been widely recognised by industry peers with a number of accolades including the Grand Prix of Gastronomy by the British Academy of Gastronomes, lifetime achievement awards from the International Wine & Spirit Competition and whisky magazine Malt Advocate, and he was made an Icon of Whisky from Whisky Magazine and a Master of the Quaich, from the Keepers of the Quaich society, an international organisation established to promote Scotch whisky worldwide.
“David’s innovative approach and total dedication to his craft, coupled with his modest, unassuming manner have made him one of the best loved and respected craftsmen in the business. The company is absolutely delighted for David and this honour is testament to the fact that David is one of the greatest master blenders of a generation. Not that he would ever admit it himself,” says Stella David, chief executive of William Grant & Sons, the parent company of The Balvenie.
“His passion for retaining tradition as well as championing experimentation makes The Balvenie a refined and distinguished single malt that is as well-loved amongst newer whisky enthusiasts as it is amongst seasoned whisky aficionados. Over five decades, David has honed this supreme skill down to a fine art – and his role is one of the five rare crafts that make The Balvenie Distillery unique in today’s world.”