Home > daily drinks
Share this page
Brewdog hires Johnnie Walker exec to lead whisky expansion

Brewdog hires Johnnie Walker exec to lead whisky expansion

Craft beer giant Brewdog has hired former Diageo director David Gates to head its distilling business.

Brewdog launched Lone Wolf Spirits last year is in the process of adding dark spirits including rum and whisky to its portfolio.

It currently produces a whisky, a vodka, two gins and several RTDs.

Gates left his position as managing director of Diageo’s innovation arm, Diageo Futures, earlier this year after 27 years with the company.

Before taking on the innovation role in December 2016, he was in charge of Diageo’s premium core spirits range, in particular Scotch whisky. He has previously been a driving force behind Johnnie Walker's success. 

Brewdog founder James Watt called the whisky veteran “a force to be reckoned with in the industry.”

“I can’t wait to see where David takes LoneWolf – he shares our vision in standing as a marker and custodian of purist, truthful distillation methods, and his fresh, challenging thinking will not only take LoneWolf to new levels, but the entire category,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Gates (above) said the chance to work with “the industry’s biggest disruptor was just too good to pass up.”

“What BrewDog has done for the beer industry is nothing short of awe-inspiring, you can’t help but be impressed with the energy, vibrancy and unapologetic attitude they’ve injected into the category," he explained. "It’s that same creative flair & obsession for quality that I hope to bring to the spirits portfolio.

“Whilst huge strides have been made in whisky, the industry still lacks real innovation. We’re here to change that and inject more excitement, playfulness and creativity into spirits.”

Leadership shake up at Diageo

It's been hectic time for Diageo, with its managing director of Diageo GB, Ireland and France, Charles Ireland, announcing he will leave Diageo at the end of December after more than 20 years with the group to “pursue opportunities outside of the business”.

Prior to the GB role, Ireland worked across Diageo’s businesses in Asia Pacific and Africa, including East African Breweries.

He will be replaced by Dayalan Nayager, currently managing director of Diageo Global Travel Retail. 

“I would like to thank Charles for the substantial contribution that he has made to Diageo and for the legacy that he leaves behind, not just in GB but in many countries around the world,” said John Kennedy, president of Diageo’s business in Europe, Turkey and India.. “He has made a significant impact on the business, both on a professional and a personal level, and I wish him all the best for the future.

“I would also like to congratulate Dayalan on his appointment and welcome him to the European executive committee in his new role. I’ve been impressed with Dayalan’s passion for diversity and engagement along with his strong performance focus and I am excited about what he will achieve for GB, France and Ireland.”

Eduardo Barp, currently general manager of Diageo’s Caribbean and Central America business, will become managing director for global travel retail on 1 January, reporting into Alberto Gavazzi, president of Diageo Latin America and Caribbean, global travel and sales.

Barp’s replacement hasn't been announced.