The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 56 of 132

COVER STORY Succes Spirits of WILLIAM GRANT & SONS BUILDS A PORTFOLIO THAT'S TAKING THE INDUSTRY BY STORM by Rachel Burkons W illiam Grant would have been proud: As his namesake portfolio helped usher in the tenth anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail at their annual Tales fête, the man who innovated the single malt scotch category would've loved to see the way Freddy May jumped on a trampoline, shaker tin in hand, as he prepared Monkey Shoulder drinks for an eager crowd of cocktailians. He would've been tickled pink at the way Amanda Boccato held court in regalia worthy of Marie Antoinette as she served lovely Lillet cocktails, and he would've felt a great sense of pride and kinship as Mitch Bechard offered guests very special drams of Grant's own original spirit, The Glenfi ddich. This was the scene on the eve of the coronation of William Grant & Sons' portfolio as the darling of the industry, and these are the William Grant & Sons Brand Ambassadors who've helped put the supplier on top. Although they may not be fl esh-and-blood descendents of the original William Grant, they have become part of his legacy, and thus, his family, through their tireless, passionate work with the brands that have helped make William Grant & Sons the leader in spirit innovation. The Ambassador's Craft All year long, THE TASTING PANEL has brought you exclusive looks at the busy lives of the William Grant & Sons Brand Ambassadors. From Rachel Furman and Paul Monahan, who are steering Sailor Jerry to success one Airstream trailer and pinup party at a time, to Gaston Martinez, who's transformed his home garage into a makeshift Milagro mixology lair, we've come to know these Ambassadors as some of the hardest working people in the business. (For further evidence, turn to page 120 to read about Solerno Brand Ambassador Jackie Patterson, who's earned enough frequent fl ier miles to make anybody homesick). But these globe-trotting spirit slingers do more than just log air miles and batch cocktails for fun parties: These are the faces of the brand, the living embodiments of each spirit's particularities. "Our Brand Ambassadors are the lynchpin to so much of our success," explains Jo Birkitt, William Grant & Sons' Senior Brand Manager, Hendrick's Gin, who says that fi nding the right person to work with the right brand takes time—but is well worth the wait. "Every Ambassador is hand- picked to work on that brand, and all of our Ambassadors are also ambassadors for and experts in the overall category. You'll know when the right person walks into the room." 56 / the tasting panel / september 2012

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