John Dewar's & Sons Ltd's Global Brand Ambassador, Mr. Stephen Marshall visits India

By Team YS|20th May 2010
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Stephen Marshall has over 12 years experience in the drinks industry in Scotland. Now the Global Brand Ambassador for John Dewar & Sons, Stephen began his career with leading wine merchants, Oddbins where he managed a number of specialist whisky retail outlets. He helped the brand grow to its present position as the top malt whisky retailer in the UK and frequent winner of the High Street Retailer of the Year Award. It was during this spell that he uncovered his passion for whisky and was keen to develop this further.

A history graduate of the University of Aberdeen, Stephen then moved on to join the internationally esteemed Scotch Malt Whisky Society in 2003. There he chaired a select panel of experts responsible for selecting which whiskies should be bottled by the Society for its private members. It was in this role that he began spreading the word about Scotch whisky, hosting tasting events for the Society’s 18,000 members. During this time his tasting notes became a key reference point for the whisky world. A spell at the Ardbeg distillery on the isle of Islay allowed him to further bolster his knowledge and learn the fine art of distillation.

It was in 2005 that Stephen was appointed John Dewar & Sons’ second Global Brand Ambassador. Primarily responsible for promoting and educating a global audience about Scotch whisky, Stephen currently works with Dewar’s full portfolio of brands including: Dewar’s White Label, Dewar’s 12, Dewar’s 18, Dewar’s Signature, Aberfeldy 12 and Aberfeldy 21. The enviable position sees the Scotsman travel across the globe inviting others to share in his appreciation of the whiskies.

Globetrotting is naturally a significant part of Stephen’s job, having clocked up well over one million air miles and visiting over 20 countries during his time with John Dewar & Sons. Following in the footsteps of the company’s first ever Brand Ambassador, Tommy Dewar, Stephen takes pride in sharing his passion for Scotch whisky and seeing others enjoying their first taste of Dewar’s is a hugely rewarding part of what he does. As well as working with existing markets, a large portion of his role involves introducing the range of Dewar’s products to new countries. To date this includes Dewar’s 12 to India, Albania, South Africa and Austria, in addition to overseeing the launch of Dewar’s 15 in China.

Last year saw Stephen launch Dewar’s Discovery, the company’s global education programme, in Miami, USA. This year he will roll out the programme across the globe to countries including India, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela and Lebanon, as he instructs individuals on the subtle art of whisky tasting, the complexities involved in the blending process, as well as sharing the intriguing history of John Dewar & Sons.

In 2009 he was also responsible for the launch of the Aberfeldy Single Cask to World Duty Free, allowing discerning consumers to appreciate its truly unique characteristics. The fine single cask malt whisky has caused great excitement in the industry and is already highly sought after.

When in Scotland, Stephen is based at Dewar’s World of Whisky at the Aberfeldy Distillery in Perthshire, the global brand centre of Dewar’s Scotch Whisky. Visitors come from far and wide to see first-hand the art of blending Scotch whisky and tour the distillery which produces the malt that lies at the heart of the Dewar’s blends. A respected voice in the industry, Stephen also shares his knowledge of whisky, holding numerous master classes each year.

His passion for the brand is endearing, showing genuine excitement as he delves in to the 150-year-history of Scotland’s finest export, unlocking fascinating snippets to share on his next adventure. Always keen to demonstrate the innovation the company has shown, he could talk for hours about what gives Dewar’s its rightful place in whisky history.

Highly regarded in the industry, Stephen is a judge for the World Whiskies Awards and has twice been nominated for the Young Brand Ambassador of the Year Award.

Stephen lives with his wife and Border terrier in Scotland’s smallest castle, a bijou two-bedroom residence in Central Scotland built around 1650. There he enjoys being outdoors and is currently attempting to cultivate his own vegetable garden. His main passion, aside from whisky, is music and he boasts an eclectic LP collection, much of which has been purchased whilst exploring new countries with his job. His LP collection is anything but mainstream and includes some Brazilian funk picked up in New York, as well as Russian funk from the late 1970’s. He is a dedicated follower of the Scottish band King Creosote, owning over 40 of their albums. He thoroughly enjoys embracing local cuisine when abroad, not to be put off by the occasional bout of food poisoning! Whilst on his travels he also likes to pick up interesting artefacts to take back to his castle including ceramic tiles and antiques which he admires over a neat Dewar’s 12.

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