As he marks his 60th year at The Balvenie, industry legend David C. Stewart MBE is moving into a new role within the company, focusing on sharing his breadth of industry knowledge and legendary expertise. Throughout this new chapter of progressive leadership, former apprentice and joint Malt Master, Kelsey McKechnie takes on sole responsibility for all future liquid innovation as Malt Master, upholding the craft, quality and innovation of The Balvenie for generations to come.
David’s career began with a 12 year apprenticeship at the age of 17, from which he mastered the skills of nosing and developing the best quality single malts before being appointed The Balvenie Malt Master in 1974, a position he has held ever since. Through the decades, David has developed a range of award-winning single malt whiskies, championed experimentation whilst retaining tradition and honed his skill of whisky making down to a fine art.
As he moves into his new role as Honorary Ambassador and Former Malt Master, David continues to have an unwavering association with The Balvenie, sharing his expertise and passion for the Scotch whisky industry, as one of the best-loved and most respected craftsmen in the business.
Kelsey was first appointed to the position of Apprentice Malt Master at the age of just 26. She first joined as a Technical Graduate in 2014, after graduating from The University of West Scotland in 2014 with a BSc in Biology and Biological Sciences, over her time at The Balvenie she furthered her education and received a Masters in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt and an MBA from Strathclyde.
Now, after six years of honing her craft apprenticed under David Stewart before working alongside as joint Malt Master, Kelsey takes on the sole responsibility for all future innovation releases at The Balvenie.
David C. Stewart MBE, Former Malt Master and Honorary Ambassador for The Balvenie, said:
“Craftsmanship lies at the core of The Balvenie, and we rely on the passing of skills, processes, knowledge and experience from generation to generation, to maintain our tradition and distinctive character. Over my time working alongside Kelsey, she has shown a remarkable talent for creating exceptional whiskies and the ultimate dedication to mastering her craft. I leave the responsibility of future whisky releases in her trusted hands as I move into my new role sharing my passion with the world of The Balvenie.”
Kelsey McKechnie, Malt Master for The Balvenie, said:
“Not many people can say they have had the opportunity to learn directly from someone within the same calibre as David C. Stewart. As his rich legacy within the whisky industry lives on for generations to come, within this new chapter of direction, I will continue to use and build upon his innovation and techniques, whilst putting my stamp on future whisky innovation at The Balvenie.”
The release of A Revelation of Cask and Character will mark a new chapter for the iconic single malt, being the first bottle to be signed only by Kelsey as her first release designed from start to finish.