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Meet the Educator: Keith Nicholson

Meet the Educator: Keith Nicholson

After more than 30 years working in the restaurant business / wine and spirits sales, Keith Nicholson opened up Statera Academy in 2016.

Based in Vancouver, Canada, we’re delighted to welcome Keith Nicholson onboard as an Approved Course Provider. We caught up with him to learn more about what brought her to the role, what makes him tick and what his world of whisky looks like, quickfire style.

Throughout my career, training staff has been a highlight and my favourite topic is always what’s in your glass. Now I get to share my passion and experience on all things delicious to drink to consumers eager to learn more and industry people looking to advance their game.

I’m very happy to be in the industry I love and to share my experiences. Plus, I don’t get called away to the kitchen when I’m telling my stories anymore. (Although, I still polish a lot of glassware.)

Simply put, teaching is my passion. It’s when I’m in my best place and I just love to share what I know about all these great beverages. In terms of getting into spirits education, I have officially gained the EWA Diploma in Single Malt Whisky, WSET Level 3 in Spirits and the Bourbon Whisky Steward. Unofficially, I have 30 years of industry life and the insatiable thirst to taste everything.

What excites me about working with Edinburgh Whisky Academy is twofold. First off, the people involved are fantastic! Absolutely lovely to work with. Second, I think the programs are great. Fresh new looks and up to date, relevant details for people with a keen interest. I particularly love the deep dive into the histories.

My advice to someone wanting to learn more and get into the whisky industry would be:

1. Taste lots and learn how to take great notes.

2. Read lots.

3. Take a course to learn and meet others who are likeminded.

4. Ask lots of questions.

5. Stay thirsty!

Whisky wisdom: quick fire questions

First whisky you ever tasted?
I remember my first taste of Talisker, way back in my early days of bartending. Someone called it “Fightn’ Whisky”. I thought, yup, sure is! Now the thought (and taste) of peated whisky brings up a much more relaxed, sit by the fire feeling in my mind. 

Best whisky you have ever tasted?
I will never forget tasting Highland Park 18-year-old. That was the one that first blew my mind and got me hooked.

Favourite distillery to visit?
Living on the west coast of Canada, I have not yet visited the distilleries in Scotland.  It is on my bucket list, and I will be there soon my friends!  

Favourite non-whisky drink?
My favourite go-to cocktail is the Boulevardier. And at my house, Scotch has certainly been known to get slipped into the mix on occasion.

Favourite whisky and food pairing?
Fresh Pacific Oysters on the half shell, with splash of Ardbeg. Best smoked oysters you will ever have!

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