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Brown-Forman’s Scotch Distillery Manager Retires After 50 Years

Alan McConnochie, distillery manager for Brown-Forman’s Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distilleries, is retiring this spring after five decades of service to the whisky industry.

Alan has been in charge of the distillery production of The GlenDronach, Benriach and Glenglassaugh, said to be some of the world’s finest single malts, since 2004.

Laura Tolmie, the current distilleries production manager, is taking over as the new Distillery Manager now, having worked alongside Alan since she was appointed by Brown-Forman in 2017.

Allan McCojnochie, Brown Forman Scotch distillery manager
Allan McCojnochie, Brown Forman Scotch distillery manager (image via Brown-Forman)

Tolmie has a background in chemical and process engineering as well as experience in maltings and distilleries across Scotland.

McConnochie was a man destined to be in whisky, born in the shadow of White Horse Distillers in Glasgow. His first job in 1973 was in the bottling hall of White Horse Distillers and five decades of expertise and service to the whisky industry brought him honors, inducted as a “Keeper of the Quaich” in 2018, the ultimate accolade in the business.

His distillery career started when he was appointed assistant manager at Plymouth Gin in Devon before moving to Laphroaig on Islay. He has enjoyed many milestones during his distinguished career, but he said he believes his greatest moment was overseeing the reopening of the Benriach Distillery for Billy Walker, before it was acquired by Brown-Forman in 2016.

“It’s been an incredible privilege to oversee the distilleries of some of the industry’s finest single malt whiskies,” McConnochie said in a prepared statement. “The one element I will miss the most is the camaraderie of both the distillery team and the whisky industry as a whole. Being a part of the launch of The GlenDronach Aged 50 Years in January was a particularly proud moment, having personally helped to nurture those casks over the years.”

He said he couldn’t be happier to hand over the reins to Tolmie, “who is very well suited to continue to build the future of our skilled and passionate distillery team.”

Tolmie said, “It’s an absolute honor to be given the opportunity to be the custodian of these three stunning single malt distilleries, each with their own unique character and history and so highly regarded in the industry. Combined with the passion and drive that the distillery teams have for the whiskies, I am extremely excited to be a part of the amazing futures of Benriach, Glenglassaugh and The GlenDronach.”

Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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