Former Macallan Master Stuart MacPherson Joins China’s Nine Rivers Distillery

| January 16, 2023

Nine Rivers Distillery out of China recently announced Stuart MacPherson, former ‘Master of Wood’ for Macallan, is now an advisor to the Nine Rivers board of directors.

A statement from the distiller notes that MacPherson brings more than 43 years of experience in oak barrels and spirit maturation as he takes on the new role as Master of Wood and leading the Nine Rivers Distillery cooperage project.

“It’s quite unique to see a distillery start-up taking such a holistic approach to crafting whisky,” MacPherson said of Nine Rivers Distillery’s decision to open a cooperage.

Stuart Macpherson Nine Rivers

“Very few distilleries take wood management so seriously, despite barrels being responsible for between 50% and 60% of the aromas and flavors of the final product. Oak barrels are so often treated as a commodity item to be sourced as cheaply as possible despite the fact that you just can’t make the best whisky unless you have the very best oak barrels.”

Nine Rivers Distillery CEO Jay Robertson discussed MacPherson’s appointment.

“The fact that we have been able to secure Stuart to join 9RD is a testament to the team that we have put together to build and lead our project. We know what we want to achieve as a distillery and a cooperage led by one of the most experienced professionals in the industry was an absolute must have for us.”

MacPherson’s career started as an apprentice cooper in 1979 at the Clyde Cooperage Company (owned by Edrington, making casks for Macallan).

MacPherson rose through the ranks before becoming cooperage manager in 2001. MacPherson was appointed as Master of Wood at Macallan in 2012, and concurrently ran the operations in Spain, where Macallan worked with cooperages and bodegas to source Sherry casks.

MacPherson retired from Macallan in 2022 and continues to consult for a number of clients both in the UK and internationally.


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...