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New era for Distell whisky maker

Published:  06 July, 2016

Andy Watts is moving on from his role as distillery manager at South Africa's James Sedgwick after 25 years.

Andy Watts is moving on from his role as distillery manager at South Africa's James Sedgwick after 25 years.

Jeff Green, who has been working at the Distell-owned distillery in Wellington as process manager and distiller since 2009, will be taking over the reins.

Watts will now take lead responsibility for the entire whisky portfolio of Distell as the global head of whisky intrinsic for the Centre of Excellence, a new department created to focus on the process, quality and style of its wines, spirits, ciders and other ready-to-drinks range.

In addition to providing strategic guidance to the production of the range of Three Ships Whiskies and Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky, made at the James Sedgwick Distillery, he will be responsible for the company's Scottish whisky portfolio which includes Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory, Black Bottle and Scottish Leader.

"It will be very difficult to not have the lead responsibility anymore for the James Sedgwick Distillery family and the 24/7 operation of the site, but I couldn't have left the reins in more capable hands than that of Jeff and I will be supporting him throughout this transition as best I can," Watts said.

"I look forward in taking on the challenges of helping craft the production of our world-class brands along with our world-class teams already in place and focusing on innovation and bringing to life some of my work in progress whiskies at the James Sedgwick Distillery."

Watts will continue to work closely alongside the South African marketing team as the master distiller of Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky and Three Ships range of whiskies.

He leaves for the USA in two weeks time to continue the roll-out of Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky into two more states.

Green, who has worked alongside Watts for the past six years, is set to continue the latter's legacy.

"It is an incredible honour to be appointed as distillery manager, only the 7th in the 130-year history of the distillery. I have the deepest respect and appreciation for what Andy has achieved during his tenure, not only shaping the way whisky is made in South Africa, but also creating a demand for our whiskies abroad with the incredible international awards he managed to garner over the years," Green said.

"It certainly is big shoes to fill, but I'm looking forward to taking on the challenge of catapulting South African whisky to the next level."

Green has always had a keen interest in the latest food and beverage trends.

He completed his Masters in Food Science before starting his career in beer, wine and cider-making.