The manager of three whisky giants GlenDronach, Benriach and Glenglassaugh is retiring after 50 years in the industry. Alan McConnochie will be handing over his position after 18 years of being the distillery manager of Brown-Forman’s distillery sites. 

glendronach bottles

Credit: melnyk mariya /

Early career

McConnochie’s whisky career began in 1973 working under White Horse Distillery, which has since been dissolved in 2010 by Diageo. He was made a keeper of the Quaich in 2018 which is only possible if you have five years in the industry. The international society is at the forefront of all the respectable scotch distilleries.

His distillery career started in the role of assistant manager at Plymouth Gin in Devon, England, before he moved to Laphroaig on Islay, Scotland.

He said his greatest moment was overseeing the reopening of the Benriach Distillery for Billy Walker before it was bought by Brown-Forman in 2016.

What McConnochie has to say about his career

McConnochie made multiple statements about the highlights of his career: “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.”

The current distilleries production manager, Laura Tolmie will take over as distillery manager from April. Tolmie and McConnochie have worked closely together since 2017. 

McConnochie looks forward to passing on the mantle, he “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”.

Tolmie’s thoughts on the handover 

Tolmie has extensive experience in maltings and distilleries across Scotland and has a background in chemical and process engineering.

Tolmie expressed: “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.”

Tolmie should fit into the role well considering her history in chemical and process engineering. Additionally, she has many years of experience working in distilleries all across Scotland.

Why McConnochie’s retirement is important 

With new management, we could see vast or little changes occurring in the three scotch distilleries. Therefore investments into casks surrounding these brands could be quite volatile. We will have to see what changes will occur under the new management.

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