James (Jim) McEwan


1948 -

Master distiller. Born at Bowmore on Islay, McEwan began his career as an apprentice cooper at Bowmore Distillery at the age of 15. He went on to become cellar master there, responsible for the stocks of whisky, and then moved to Glasgow in 1976 to train as a blender for Morrison Bowmore. He returned to Bowmore Distillery as manager in 1986, where he is credited with creating their modern product, and became their roving ambassador, travelling the world to promote his product. In 2001, he became production director and master distiller at the Bruichladdich Distillery, where he had to refurbish the buildings, and restore the reputation of the whisky.

McEwan became one of the best known figures in the industry, inducted as a member of Whisky Magazine's Hall of Fame. He has won numerous awards including being twice named Distiller of the Year.

He retired in 2015, after 52 years working with whisky, but was soon tempted back to help design the new Ardnahoe Distillery on Islay, which opened in 2018, and oversee its production.


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