Whisky Celebrities

richard patterson

Richard C. Paterson

With over 40 years of experience under his ‘nose’ it’s no wonder Richard Paterson is regarded as one of the world’s best Master Blenders. He is responsible for Whyte & Mackay’s flagship blended whisky, the rare and exclusive Dalmore whisky collection, the varied flavour profiles seen in the Jura single malt range and he was the man who re-created a piece of history when he brought to life the 100 year old  Mackinlay’s ‘Shackleton’ whisky.   He also has a unique and one-of-a-kind whisky collection named after him – The Paterson Collection  - that he created in partnership with premier retailer Harrods. Being a third generation Master Blender, Richard quickly learned that the complex art of producing the perfect whisky is not one to be taken lightly. He began his career as a general production assistant at A. Giles & Company Whisky Blenders & Brokers where he learned the art of blending before joining Whyte & Mackay, one of Scotland’s leading makers and distributors of Scotch whisky, becoming their Master Blender at just 26 years old. With a truly unique talent for ‘nosing whisky’, one of the main tasks of a Master Blender is often nosing hundreds of samples of whisky over the course of a day, and being able to distinguish each to maintain particular layers of flavour, aroma and depth. It is his skill that earned him the nickname ‘The Nose’ and so valuable is his nose that he has had it insured by Lloyds of London for £1.5 million! When Richard isn’t in his sample room creating whiskies he is often out travelling the globe extensively as not just an ambassador for Whyte & Mackay but for the Scottish whisky industry as a whole.  His entertaining presenting style coupled with his passion and knowledge for whisky has earned him a legion of fans across the world. He has been awarded The Spirit of Scotland Trophy at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, named Whisky Magazine Whisky Ambassador of the Year and has even had a series of Manga comic strips created in his honour!  When he isn’t receiving plaudits for his work, Richard likes to spend his time getting other’s involved in his passion as he is a Diploma Lecturer for Scotch Whisky for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in London.  He also works extensively with the Benevolent Trust in Scotland, to raise money for those who have previously worked in the drinks industry and have fallen on harder times. In 2008 he added author to his list of achievements when he published his very own book, Goodness Nose.  He writes a regular column in Sweden’s leading whisky magazine, Whisky & Bourbon.  He has also contributed to the Huffington Post, The FT How to Spend It and Whisky Magazine, as well as bringing his inimitable presenting style to life on programmes such as CNBC (US), Style TV (Russia) and STV (UK) to name but a few.   Richard is also a keen tweeter and regularly discusses his love of whisky through his social media channels. What the press say about Richard… ‘Paterson is at one moment, a dedicated curator of both whiskies and history, the next, an inspirational innovator with a completely unconventional approach to building a whisky, drawing on influences from gastronomy and astronomy, from folklore, from (whisper it) smoking. Above all, he takes his cues from life and the way that whisky fits into it. In either incarnation, his eyes sparkle with passion for his subject.’ Chris Madigan, Brummell Magazine ‘Paterson is a snappy dresser — tailored suits, pocket squares, shirts with French cuffs — and an obsessive reciter of dates and historical factoids. He seems less like a whiskey-maker than a high-end perfumer, and much of his job consists of sniffing and mixing flasks, flagons and vials of amber-colored fluid in a glass-walled room that is part laboratory and part museum... (he) also takes whisky drinking very seriously.’ Charles McGrath, New York Times ‘It’s the measure of the man that, after a distinguished career and 44 years in the whisky industry, he is still excited by Scotch whisky, and his energy and passion spill over because he wants you to be excited as well’ Ian Buxton, Tasting Panel ‘a huge and internationally renowned character’ James Davidson, WeHeart ‘Richard has been hugely, hugely helpful to me in whisky information, entertainment and education... I think it’s fair to say he is currently the best ambassador for scotch throughout the world’ Charlie Maclean, Whisky Writer
colin scott

Colin Scott

Master Blender at Chivas Brothers. With over thirty five years in the business, Colin is following a family tradtion of dedicating his life to Scotch whisky. Colin knows the characteristics of each and every whisky in the Chivas Brothers' extensive, aged inventory and is the Global Ambassador of Royal Salute.
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Dr. Nicholas Morgan

Dr Nicholas Morgan is Head of Whisky Outreach at Diageo plc, the largest Scotch whisky producer, where he has worked for almost twenty-five years. His previous role as Scotch Heritage Director was to champion the deep-rooted heritage of the company and its brands. Prior to that, he directed Diageo's global malt whisky marketing team. Leading key innovations such as the development of the Talisker™ range, Singleton of Glen Ord, and the introduction of the Special Releases programme.
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David Blackmore

Master Brand Ambassador David Blackmore leads the Glenmorangie USA educational program, exciting and educating the industry and consumers on the nuances of Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky through tastings and events across the U.S. A native of Scotland, David is an experienced professional whisky tutor with a background at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Scotland and London. With a sophisticated nose, David led The Society’s prestigious “Tasting Panel” in selecting casks for bottling. He has recently been inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich society in Scotland as well. A Glenmorangie U.S. Brand Ambassador since 2005, David was recently named the “2014 Scotch Whisky Ambassador of the Year” by Whisky Magazine for the third consecutive year as well as the “2014 Brand Ambassador of the Year” by the International Whisky Competition.

Brendan Coyle

Born and raised in Minnesota Brendan came to Salt Lake City in 1999, after completing undergraduate work at the University of Utah he began his career with Red Rock Brewing Company. After a several year apprenticeship in the brewing industry he headed to Edinburgh Scotland where he gained an appreciation for distilling and completed a Masters of Science in Brewing and Distilling Sciences at Heriot Watt University. With a love for Skiing and the southern desert Brendan was drawn back to Utah to join High West in early 2008 where he went on to manage all plant expansion projects and now leads all production, R&D, and creative development for the company.

Iain McCullum

Iain McCallum was appointed Master Ambassador Scotch Whisky in January 2015. This role within the North American Beamsuntory team will see Iain developing educational programming for the Whisk(e)y brands portfolio through engaging consumer and trade education, tastings, masterclasses and experiential events. After qualifying as an organic chemist at 22, his roles included four years as trainee distilleries manager at Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch. Iain, whose nose was put to the test early on by industry guru Dr Jim Swan of Pentlands Scotch Whisky Research, scoring highly for smell and taste, was later appointed group senior blender for Morrison Bowmore then, in addition, distillery manager at Auchentoshan. 2013 Whisky Icons - Whisky Ambassador of the Year. Keeper of the Quaich Fellow of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling
martin daraz

Martin Daraz

Martin Daraz is the award winning Highland Park Brand Ambassador for the USA and Asia Pacific. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Martin's distinct brogue can be heard at tastings and master classes across the continents. He lives in brentwood with his family.


Kentucky native, Megan Breier, puts her Bluegrass Stat savvy to good use as JimBeam Bourbon Ambassador. Prior to joining the distillery team, Megan managed some of Louisville’s top hotels, bars and restaurants. Her excitement for sharing America’s native spirit, paired with her passion for the Jim Beam portfolio of American whiskies, makes her the perfect voice for Jim Beam in the heart of Bourbon Country. Megan is currently working under the tutelage of Fred Noe, 7th generation master distiller and Bourbon Legend and she is based full-time in Kentucky.
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Ian Logan

As International Brand Ambassador for The Glenlivet, Ian is in the fortunate position of working with some of the worlds finest single malts every day. It is now 25 years since he sold his first case of whisky and in that time Ian has worked in sales and marketing before becoming a brand Ambassador 10 years ago. He has even been known to make a little whisky using The Glenlivet Sma Still.

Dr. Bill Lumsden

Dr William (Bill) Lumsden is the Head of Distilling & Whisky Creation at The Glenmorangie Company, responsible for Glenmorangie’s pace-setting whisky innovation. He oversees the creation of Glenmorangie’s beautifully complex and elegant spirit, from its birth on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in the Highlands of Scotland, through its journey of maturation to deliver a range of renowned whiskies.

Kirsten Grant Meikle

Kirsten Grant Meikle is the great-great-granddaughter of our founder William Grant, and the fifth pioneering generation of the family to run our business since 1887. She is currently Director of Prestige at William Grant & Sons UK. Born in Edinburgh in 1975, she knew early on that her future lay in the drinks industry. After studying Business at Napier University, and travelling the world for 14 months (and doing the odd stint of bar work to pay her way), she entered the on-trade in the UK. While spending two years as Bar Manager of Ecco Vino, an Edinburgh bar famous for its wine selection, she fell under the spell of fine wine. It led her to Matthew Clark, a renowned UK drinks distributer, where her passion for the business, sheer dynamism and inexhaustible work ethic saw her go from Account Manager to Wine Controller in seven years.

George Grant

George is the 6th generation of the Grant family to act as custodians for the Glenfarclas Distillery. George joined the family business in 2000 after working for Inverhouse Distillers Ltd, and Fine Vintages (Far East) Ltd, Glenfarclas’ distributor in Hong Kong. George particularly enjoys introducing whisky lovers to the older expressions of Glenfarclas, those distilled by his grandfather and watched over by his father. George is a third Generation Keeper of the Quaich and a Freeman of the City of London, a member of “The Worshipful Company of Distillers”.

Ewan Morgan

Ewan Morgan is the National Director for the Diageo Masters of Whisk(e)y, He is a 3rd generation 'whisky man' growing up and working on a Speyside distillery at the age of 16. His Father was distillery manager at Highland Park and his Grandfather was the head Maltman and subsequently the Brewer at Cardhu. Ewan has led hundreds of tastings from the Arctic Circle to Japan. He currently resides in the USA.
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Ian Millar

Born in Pitlochry in Perthshire in the Highlands of Scotland in 1953, Ian Millar joined independent family distillers William Grant & Sons Ltd in 1998 as Distilleries Manager for the company’s flagship Glenfiddich and Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky distilleries. Ian is celebrated 40 years in the whisky industry in February  2014, having worked for a number of distillers in various technical and production roles, including mashing, distillation, warehousing and production management.  He was previously Distillery Manager at the Bladnoch, Mortlach, Blair Athol, Dalwhinnie, Linkwood and Glen Elgin Distilleries before joining William Grant & Sons as General Manager of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie Distilleries.

Kieron Elliott

Kieron Elliott started his bar and spirits career 22 years ago as a bartender in his college town of Paisley, Scotland and quickly established himself as a passionate single malt enthusiast and advocate. He moved to London in 1998 and started managing bars and coordinating events for big liquor companies including Bombay Sapphire and Jack Daniels while also pursuing a performing career, landing hosting slots on ITV's long running travel show "Wish You Were Here?" and the BBC's science and technology show "Tomorrow's World" as well as played a long running character in the BBC1 drama, "River City" and hosted the weekend morning show on Scotland's #1 radio station, Real Radio, for 4 years. He then helped launch the UK's first Classic Rock Station on FM, Rock Radio, and hosted the morning show for a year. In 2008 he made the move to the U.S. and was quickly picked as the William Wallace expert on Spike TV's Deadliest Warrior. He must have done something right as the producers asked him to host all three seasons of the spin off show: Deadliest Warrior; The Aftermath. In 2010 Kieron was picked from thousands of voices to play Hoark the Haggard in DreamWorks' "How to Train Your Dragon". He'll appear in all three movies and narrates the audiobook app. Never far away from the spirits trade, Kieron worked as a special events mixologist for British Bartenders in LA where he naturally gravitated towards the scotches, working for Dewars and Chivas among others but it is was a chance meeting with Highland Park Brand Ambassador, Martin Daraz at one of Kieron's stand up gigs that lead him to joining Edrington part time as an associate Brand Ambassador. Six months later, in August 2013, Kieron stepped up to become The National Brand Ambassador for The Macallan, where he currently and happily resides.  

David Lind

David has been working in the Scotch industry for over 17 years.  He started out with Glenmorangie in 1998 before moving to the agency side, living and working in both Asia and Europe.  Joining International Beverage in 2006, he held various sales & marketing positions over the 5 years he was based within the Scottish operation before relocating and living in Bangkok for 3 years and then to California 2 years ago.  He was worked across the entire the International Beverage portfolio including the core single malt brands: Speyburn, Old Pulteney, Balblair and anCnoc. David combines his knowledge of Scotch whisky and Scotch whisky production together with a knowledge of the whisky category in both the US and overseas to provide a unique and interesting perspective on the ‘water of life’. David was born in Glasgow and is married and has one young son.  He is currently based in Orange County in Southern California.  

Richard Urquhart

Richard Urquhart is a member of the fourth generation of the Urquhart family, who along with members of the fourth generation, own and manage the Elgin based whisky specialist, famous for selecting, maturing and bottling some of the world’s finest and rarest single malt Scotch whiskies. Established in 1895, the firm is owned and managed by the third and fourth generation of the Urquhart family. Gordon & MacPhail has arguably the greatest selection of whisky available in the world dating back to whisky distilled in 1936 including the Generations range of single malts aged for 70 years. In 1993 they purchased Benromach Distillery in Forres which, after extensive refurbishment and re-equipping, was officially re-opened by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1998. Included in the award winning range is Benromach 10 year old and Benromach Organic, the world’s first bottled single malt fully certified by the Soil Association. Richard joined Gordon & MacPhail in 2009 after working in Information Technology for six years. His career at Gordon & MacPhail started by spending two years working through all of departments within the business. Since then, Richard has worked in UK Sales and Marketing before moving to the Export department in November 2013, a department that exports the company’s whiskies to over 50 international markets.  

Chris Riesbeck

Chris Riesbeck is the National Sales Director for Classic Imports. Since January 2011 Chris has been traveling the United States in an effort to educate and promote single malt Scotch whisky. The 2015 Whisky Magazine Scotch Whisky Ambassador of the Year Highly Commended; he currently resides in the Northeastern US with his wife and 2 dogs. An avid collector of single malt he is always on the lookout for pre 1970 Speysiders and a great story. In 2015 Chris was inducted to the Keepers of the Quaich; the youngest ever American born Keeper. The mission of the Keepers of the Quaich is to promote the values and image of Scotch Whisky as the world’s finest and most prestigious distilled spirit.

Neil Boyd

Neil Boyd joined Ian Macleod Distillers in 2010 and is Commercial Director responsible for the Malt Whisky portfolio. Neil also has responsibility for the company’s UK , US and Canadian business and is based in Edinburgh at the company’s headquarters. Before joining Ian Macleod Distillers Neil spent three years as an independent consultant working on a number of Drinks industry related assignments for a wide range of companies including Diageo and start up operations. Between 1998 and 2007 Neil spent nine years with Bacardi firstly as Marketing Director then Global Brand Director. Neil was responsible for the strategic development of the Bacardi Groups Scotch Whisky portfolio including Dewar’s ( No 1 Brand in USA), and William Lawson’s, in all 4.5million cases of Scotch Whisky. In addition to his time at the family owned Bacardi Group, Neil worked for four years as International Sales and Marketing Manager for the Asia-Pacific region at Glenmorangie plc. These roles and seventeen years of involvement in the highly competitive international drinks industry have combined to give Neil an extensive knowledge and experience of premium brand building in global markets. In addition to his career experience Neil also holds an MA from Dundee University and an MBA from Heriot Watt University and has undergone senior management training at the highly acclaimed Darden Business School in West Virginia USA . Neil lives in Edinburgh and is married with 3 teenage children.
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Michael Egan

Michael Egan grew up in Raheny, Ireland. He received a BS in Tourism Marketing from the Dublin Institute of Technology, which gave him the opportunity to both study and work abroad. He gained experience while working at the Guinness Storehouse, which fueled his interest in Irish Whiskey and the distilling process. The art and craft that goes into its production is something that he was immediately drawn to. He believes that the Kilbeggan® Distilling Company’s portfolio has a whiskey that can satisfy anybody’s taste buds. And as brand ambassador, he’s excited to prove it.

Derek Hancock

Derek Hancock has been involved in the Scotch Whisky industry for over 40 years. Mostly concentrating on export administration in the early years, he then moved into export sales in 1991, when he became Export Marketing Manager for Gordon & Macphail, the famous merchants and independent bottlers from Elgin, Scotland. In 1993 Gordon and MacPhail acquired the Benromach Distillery in Forres. Derek has travelled extensively around the world over the last 20 years, and in 2001 became a Keeper of the Quaich in recognition of services to the promotion of Scotch Whisky. He has given many lectures and tastings on all aspects of Scotch Whisky, and works closely with his many clients to ensure the best service is provided from Gordon & MacPhail. In April 2006, Derek was appointed an Associate Director of Gordon & MacPhail. In 2009 and 2013 Gordon & Macphail was awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise, International Section.

Mitch Bechard

Hailing originally from Edinburgh, Glenfiddich brand ambassador Mitch Bechard fell in love with the Scotch Whisky industry at a young, albeit legal, age and has been pursuing that passion ever since.  Born in Scotland, Mitch was fortunate enough to spend his youth traveling the globe with his family, during which time he developed the kind of wanderlust that would become a central part of his career.  Beginning in 1990, he started to take his first steps into the world of food and drink, cutting his teeth in hotel management, as well as running restaurants and cocktail bars in places as far-flung as Portugal, England, Scotland and Australia, as he traveled the globe chasing his passion for the spirits industry. The passion for whisky ultimately won out, when he landed a job as the whisky ambassador in the UK for the Diageo portfolio of whiskies.  Able to focus his attentions on his love of Single Malt Scotches, his move took him to the US, to join William Grant & Sons as the Glenfiddich Ambassador; the world’s most awarded Single Malt Scotch whisky.  During his 4 years in this position he works within the on- and off-premise to introduce new marques to whisky enthusiasts, and continues to share his love for single malts with consumers, whether they are new to the spirit or loyal Scotch drinkers. In addition to being a self proclaimed whisky geek, Mitch enjoys golf, tennis, snowboarding, paddleboarding and most importantly spending time with his wife and 7 year old daughter.
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Lorne Cousin

From his highland roots in Scotland’s legendary Campbeltown – an area steeped in whisky tradition – Balvenie Brand Ambassador and renaissance man Lorne Cousin brings a wealth of craftsmanship and skill, and a lifetime’s worth of unexpected experiences, to his role with the most hand crafted Single Malt Scotch. In a career that has seen him representing Scotland’s most beloved cultural products – music and whisky – he has travelled the world, sharing a platform with characters as diverse as royals, distillers, international pop stars and athletes.
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As a boy, Gregor grew up at distilleries such as Caol Ila, Coleburn, Cragganmore and Cardhu where his father Evan worked as Master Distiller of these quality single malts. This is where Gregor's apprenticeship truly began. Learning from his father something that he never imagined that would take him all over the world. Gregor has worked for the past 13 years with Master Distillers of the Diageo single malt portfolio, Master Blenders of Old Parr, Johnnie Walker, Buchanans, J&B and many other distillery staff who kindly shared their wealth of knowledge of the business with Gregor when he worked at their distilleries and facilities in Scotland. While working in Scotland as Global Brand Ambassador for Johnnie Walker and the Classic Malts, Gregor developed a deeper passion for the nosing of Scotch Whisky and in 2011 (after 2 years and numerous organoleptic tests) became a qualified whisky nose. He is now based in the USA working as the USA Master of Whisky and in October 2011 Gregor was inducted into The Keepers of the Quaich, an exclusive Scotch Whisky society that honors individuals for their contribution to the Scotch Whisky Industry.

Ludovic Ducrocq

In September 2009, Ludo was appointed Grant’s Blended Scotch Whisky’s first ever global ambassador. Tasked with travelling to everywhere the world famous blend is today enjoyed, Ludo’s role is to inspire people with the incredible Grant’s story and share his infectious passion for the award-winning Grant’s range of Scotch whiskies. It is Ludo’s immense enthusiasm and appreciation for whisky and his reverence for the heritage of Grant’s that has earned him his appointment to the position of global ambassador after a decade with the family distiller. Much like family member Charles Gordon, who embarked on a voyage to introduce Grant’s to the world in 1909, one hundred years later Ludo now shares the exceptional Grant’s blend with a new generation of whisky drinkers. During his time with the independent family distiller, Ludo, originally from France, developed his connoisseurship by showing the same passion, dedication and commitment to Scotch whisky that marks out the five generations of the Grant’s family, before earning his role as ambassador for the Grant’s blend. Investing time in learning the century-old skills required to understand the complexities of malt whisky production, much like William Grant did when he founded the company, Ludo moved into an old excise house located only metres away from the distillery and set about learning from the distillery’s team of coopers, coppersmiths, distillers, malt masters and other experienced craftsmen. A self-confessed Scotophile, Ludo is a graduate of the University of Lille where he studied Scottish Literature. He embarked on an exchange programme with the University of Glasgow in 1999 which helped cement his affinity with the country. So much so that after completing his studies, he settled permanently in Scotland and decided to pursue a career in the whisky industry. He started his career in the whisky industry in 2000 as a Tour Guide at the distiller’s Dufftown Distillery Visitor Centre, in Speyside. For the past 10 years, Ludo has also been an active member of the distillery’s nosing and new product development tasting panels. In addition, he was recently appointed as a member of the judging panel for Whisky Magazine’s ‘World Whiskies Awards’, and was recognised as a Keeper of the Quaich in 2012. Ludo currently lives in Elgin, near Dufftown, with his family and when he isn’t away travelling spends much of his time continuing his learning in the field of whisky and keeping up with the latest distillery news.
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Dr. Thomas Turner

With over a fourteen years of experience in the spirits industry, Dr. Thomas Turner. has served as a Vodka Ambassador, studied Tequila in Jalisco. While Tom enjoys his work with all types of spirits, his heart belongs to whisky, which is why he considers his role as Master of Whisky for Diageo the pinnacle of his career. Hailing from Kentucky, Dr. Turner has always appreciated quality bourbon, and now as a Diageo Master of Whiskey he expands his knowledge of all whiskies on a daily basis. Though his career in whisky keeps him extremely busy, Dr. Turner has also found time to amass Masters Degrees in both Theatre Arts and Education, and a PhD in Education from Arizona State University.
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Christophe Pienkowski

From an early age, Christophe Pienkowski has been fascinated by the interplay of taste and texture. As a young boy he spent countless hours in his grandmothers’ kitchen, nurturing a culinary passion that would lead him to cook at some of the best hotels in Europe and America before joining Martell. After an apprenticeship including spells as personal chef to a general in the French army and cook on board a luxury yacht, Christophe honed his skills at a three-Michelin-star restaurant in south-west England. Subsequently, the sumptuous Beau Rivage Palace hotel in Lausanne (Switzerland) and the Paris Las Vegas casino hotel in the heart of Las Vegas’ famed Strip were added to his curriculum vitae. On his return to France, Christophe ran a private chateau in Bordeaux before moving in 2005 to Martell’s own Chateau de Chanteloup, where the company entertains its guests. There his international experience added to Chanteloup’s gastronomic capabilities. Since January 2012, Christophe has been part of Martell’s Heritage team as International Heritage Brand Ambassador, a role in which he travels widely as an ambassador for the oldest of the great cognac houses.

David Perkins

David Perkins started his career as a biochemist and worked at biotech pioneers Amgen and Genentech until a chance trip to Maker’s Mark. In the aging warehouse, David pleaded with his wife to let him work on the world's first biotech drug (ethanol) and move to the state with the lowest per capita consumption of ethanol (Utah). His dream was to make a world-class western whiskey and just as important, help people learn about it in a fun and relaxing setting. In 2008 High West Distillery and Saloon opened on a ski run in Old Town Park City Utah.  Their restaurant is consistently voted “Best restaurant in Park City” and boasts a Beard nominated Chef and Bar Program. In December 2014, High West opened its dream distillery on a working cattle ranch 20 minutes outside of Park City with 1600 gallon pot stills from Scotland (much larger than the 250 gallon still in the original facility). The world’s only dude ranch distillery will offer whiskey tours and western adventures with a boutique hotel, events center, and spa. David hopes you come one day to visit to enjoy a whiskey…hopefully with him.