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Famous Grouse appoints master blender

Edrington has named Lark Distilling Co’s Craig Johnstone as its new master blender for The Famous Grouse.

Craig Johnstone, Famous Grouse master blender
Craig Johnstone leaves Tasmania for Scotland to join The Famous Grouse

Scottish native Johnstone brings 19 years of industry experience to the role. He most recently served as whisky blender and wood manager at Tasmanian whisky producer Lark Distilling Co.

Johnstone also previously worked at Brown-Forman, Bruichladdich, Maxxium, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Glenkinchie and the Scotch Whisky Experience. His first role in the industry was as a tour guide at a Scotch whisky distillery.

The new position marks a return to Scotland for Johnstone, who has a degree in astrophysics.

Johnstone said: “This beloved Scotch whisky has played a prominent role in my life, part of so many celebrations with family and friends – just the aroma gives me a sense of being back home.

“I’m looking forward to delivering the high quality and character that is expected of The Famous Grouse and continuing the legacy of this well-loved whisky.”

Johnstone will be based at the company’s ‘106 Sample Room’ in Glasgow, where a team of blenders nose up to 600 samples a day to create The Famous Grouse blend.

He will work with the Edrington team to develop new sustainability practices within the whisky-making and blending processes.

Edrington is aiming to achieve net zero by 2045 and has joined the Carbon Disclosure Project, which measures environmental impact.

Joakim Leijon, Edrington global brand director, added: “Craig is a talented master blender and his experience and passion for the brand and for exploring new ideas in sustainability will help us to build on the global success of The Famous Grouse and also rise to the challenge of our net zero ambitions.”

Johnstone follows in the footsteps of former master blenders, including Gordon Motion and Kirsteen Campbell.

The Macallan owner Edrington reported a 45% increase in revenue for the year ending 31 March 2022.

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