Gordon & MacPhail has named its new chief executive as the Scotch whisky company transitions away from third-party bottling to focus on its own distilleries and malts.

Phillip White will join the family-owned business in early April with a focus on international brand development. He replaces long-standing managing director Ewen Mackintosh who in May of last year announced his intention to retire from the Elgin-based company where he has worked for the whole of his career.

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Speaking then, Mr Mackintosh said his decision to step down in the spring of 2024 was the "right time" following construction of Gordon & MacPhail's second distillery, The Cairn, which opened in the Cairngorm National Park in 2022. Gordon & MacPhail also owns the Benromach Distillery in Forres, which it acquired in 1993.

Two months after Mr Mackintosh revealed his retirement plans, Gordon & MacPhail announced that from 2024 it will no longer fill casks with spirit from distilleries it does not own. For more than 100 years the company has been an independent bottler of whiskies from casks that it fills with new-make spirit from other distillers.

Mr White was most recently managing director of Kent Frozen Foods and its sister company, Medina Foodservice, which were acquired by international foodservice group Sysco in 2018.

His career has spanned marketing, sales and distribution within the food wholesale and spirits sectors, including 10 years with Bacardi and Brown-Forman. Experienced in working for both family businesses and publicly listed companies, Mr White will support Gordon & MacPhail in its strategic growth aspirations.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Phillip to the Gordon & MacPhail team and believe he is the right person to lead the business, thanks in part to his excellent leadership qualities, and experience working with global brands, UK retail distribution and the wider spirits industry," chairman Neil Urquhart said.

“This is an exciting time for the company, as we look forward to executing our ambitious plans to continue building our brands internationally, developing our workforce and embarking on a significant capital investment phase to prepare the business for future growth while remaining true to our values.”

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During the financial year to the end of February, Speymalt Whisky Distributors, which trades as Gordon & MacPhail, posted a £7 million increase in profits to £17.4m. Turnover surged by 24% to £46.5m, boosted by strong sales growth of its Benromach brand and the release of Gordon & MacPhail Generations 80 Years Old, the company’s oldest single malt to date.

Mr White said it was an "honour" to be taking up the role of chief executive at this time.

"The company has grown significantly, particularly over the last few years, and I look forward to working with my colleagues, to continue building a successful family business committed to inspiring enthusiasts around the world to discover, appreciate and enjoy the finest single malt whiskies and highest quality spirits," he added.

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Originally established as a greengrocer in 1895, Gordon & MacPhail's business evolved over the decades and the company became known for its expertise in bottling Scotch whisky. Its portfolio includes the famous Connoisseurs Choice single malt range made from distilleries across Scotland, which was launched by George Urquhart, second generation of the family owners, in the late 1960s.

Although the company will ultimately give up independent bottling, the change will not occur overnight. For the next several decades whiskies carrying the Gordon & MacPhail name will continue to be released from its existing stock.

Gordon & MacPhail began distilling at The Cairn a year ago, and unlike the owners of other new distilleries which are releasing very young single malts, the company is holding off until its 12-year-old is ready. By the time spirit becomes available it will start to replace the older Gordon & MacPhail stock as that inventory depletes.