“More people have ascended Everest than have had the honour to be invited to be a Keeper of the Quaich.”

This astonishing comment was made at the recent Banquet of the Keepers of the Quaich at Blair Castle, the international society which was established by the Scotch whisky industry to celebrate those who produce and promote the world’s finest distilled spirit.

People came from the four corners of the earth to Scotland to be honoured for their outstanding commitment including people who work in, or write or evangelise about the Scotch Whisky Industry. Just six of them were appointed Masters of the Quaich, including me which was a wonderful and quite unexpected surprise.

Grand Master of the Keepers of the Quaich, the Duke of Argyll formally inducted me as a Master of the Quaich

At each Banquet, a select few of the Keepers are honoured with the prestigious title of Master of the Quaich, a position of considerable honour within the Society which reflects both an exceptional service to the Scotch Whisky industry and continued support of it. To be eligible to be Masters, these people must have been inducted as a Keeper over 10 years previously. Like becoming a Keeper, you cannot apply but have to be invited.

To join this very select group of Masters of the Quaich, whose contribution to the world of whisky I have always admired, is a privilege of which I might occasionally have dreamt, but an honour I never expected would be conferred on me. I appreciate this endorsement from my peers within the whisky industry. During a long and varied career, I have been privileged to work with many inspiring people, and I owe so much to all the people who have generously shared their knowledge and expertise with me over the years. Now I look forward to continuing to share my passion and enthusiasm with other people.

I have been overwhelmed by the messages  of congratulations I have received, including one from Ian Smith, chairman of the Management Committee of the Keepers of the Quaich, “Congratulations Ann! It was a pleasure to be part of your induction ceremony! Thoroughly deserved recognition for a wonderful career in Scotch whisky!”  James Campbell, the former chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival wrote  “This is a fantastic honour and so well deserved for your amazing contribution over many, many years to the promotion of Scotch whisky, Speyside, Scotland and to the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Well done Ann.”

At each Banquet, a select few of the Keepers are honoured with the prestigious title of Master of the Quaich, a position of considerable honour within the Society which reflects both an exceptional service to the Scotch Whisky industry and continued support of it. To be eligible Masters, must have been inducted as a Keeper over 10 years previously. Like becoming a Keeper, you cannot apply but have to be invited. Here is a link to more details of the Keepers of the Quaich and images of the Banquet  https://www.keepersofthequaich.co.uk/

Photo credits – Shannon Tofts