A SCOTCH whisky veteran who has worked on some of the industry’s most famous single malts is to retire following a career spanning five decades.

Alan McConnochie is stepping down as distillery manager for Brown-Forman’s single malt Scotch whisky distilleries – The GlenDronach, Benriach and Glenglassaugh. His retirement brings to a close a career that started in 1973, when he began working in the bottling hall of Glasgow’s White Horse Distillers.

Mr McConnochie went on to work at Plymouth Gin in Devon and Laphroaig on Islay, before overseeing the re-opening of the Benriach Distillery under Billy Walker – a move he describes as the greatest moment of his career. Mr Walker and fellow investors sold the Benriach Distillery Company to Brown-Forman, owner of Jack Daniel’s, for £285 million in 2016.

Mr McConnochie, who will be replaced by current distilleries production manager Laura Tolmie, said: “It's been an incredible privilege to oversee the distilleries of some of the industry's finest single malt whiskies.

"The one element I will miss the most is the camaraderie of both the distillery team and the whisky industry as a whole.

"Being a part of the launch of The GlenDronach Aged 50 Years in January was a particularly proud moment, having personally helped to nurture those casks over the years.

“I couldn’t be happier to hand over the reins to Laura, who is very well suited to continue to build the future of our skilled and passionate distillery team.”

Ms Tolmie said: “It's an absolute honour to be given the opportunity to be the custodian of these three stunning single malt distilleries, each with their own unique character and history and so highly regarded in the industry.

"Combined with the passion and drive that the distillery teams have for the whiskies, I am extremely excited to be a part of the amazing futures of Benriach, Glenglassaugh and The GlenDronach.”