Edinburgh Whisky Academy Board
Kirsty McKerrowFounder and Managing DirectorMy Bio
Ian McKerrowBusiness Development ManagerMy Bio
Malcolm ToddStrategist & MentorMy Bio
Whisky has been in Kirsty’s blood since she was born. Her first whisky tasting was at the tender age of eight when her father, the then CEO of Glenmorangie, brought home samples of what was to become the world’s first wood finish range. Whisky production is rooted in her family history, with her forefathers starting Mackinlay's whisky in 1815. After working as a Paramedic, it was no surprise when Kirsty entered the industry and eventually became Nordic Brand Ambassador for Möet Hennessy’s whiskies, Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, in Sweden. Upon her return to Scotland in 2015, she established the Edinburgh Whisky Academy to fill a vital gap in the Scotch Whisky education market.
Like his sister, Kirsty, Ian too has grown up immersed in the Scotch whisky industry. The majority of his career has been in finance in Asia, but his passion for whisky shone through when he founded Hong Kong’s first ever whisky festival, Malt Masters. He ran this for three years before moving back to Scotland in 2016 to join Kirsty in developing the Edinburgh Whisky Academy. Ian is in charge of developing business with whisky brands and managing the Academy’s finances. This can include networking on the golf course!
Malcolm started his marketing and commercial career in the drinks spirits industry at Glenmorangie in the 1980s under the leadership of Neil McKerrow, Ian and Kirsty’s father. The millennium brought a change of direction and he established a successful consultancy helping small to mid-sized companies. Malcolm works as a strategist and mentor for the Academy and brings a wealth of experience to the young business.
Edinburgh Whisky Academy Experts
Vic CameronWhisky ExpertMy Bio
Gavin D SmithWhisky ExpertMy Bio
Geraldine CoatesGin ExpertMy Bio
Gordon SteeleWhisky ExpertMy Bio
Blair BowmanWhisky ExpertMy Bio
Pete RobsonWhisky ExpertMy Bio
Dominic RoskrowWhisky ExpertMy Bio
Prof. Michael MossWhisky ExpertMy Bio
John RamsayWhisky ExpertMy Bio
Prof. Charles SpenceWhisky ExpertMy Bio
After 23 years of industry experience with Diageo, in operations and laboratory management, process support and cereal procurement, Vic left for a ‘’higher’’ calling. Affectionately known as ‘The Whisky Minister’, Vic combines his own whisky consultancy, Discerning Of Spirits, with running a church. Vic is currently Lecturer of Whisky at the UHI, committee member of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky School, Technical Manager for the UK NIR Grain Network and founder of Discerning Spirits. He has taught at a variety of events including the Orkney Science Festival and Holland’s first ever whisky school. Vic is the course lecturer for our Diploma in Single Malt Whisky and has also contributed his vast industry knowledge to the content as well as that of other Academy courses.
Gavin D Smith
Gavin is a Keeper of the Quaich and one of the world’s leading authorities and writers and on whisky. Editor, author and journalist, he contributes feature material to a wide range of specialist and general interest publications. He is also the author of more than 20 books, including the A-Z of Whisky, The Secret Still, The Scottish Smuggler, The Whisky Men and Goodness Nose (with Richard Paterson). Gavin is co-author of Eyewitness Companion Whisky (2008) and World Whisky (2009), and he co-revised and updated Michael Jackson’s seminal, best-selling volume The Malt Whisky Companion for a 6th edition, published in 2010, and a 7th edition, which appeared in 2015. Additionally, he was a major contributor to the 2012 title “1001 Whiskies You Must Try Before You Die”, and he revised and updated “World Whisky” in 2016.
Geraldine Coates is a professional writer and editor who has been reporting on the world of drinks, in particular gin, for almost twenty years. Over that time she has written regularly for a number of national and international publications. Her books include Classic Gin (widely regarded as THE gin bible), The Mixellany Guide to Gin and Gin, A Toast the Most Aromatic of Spirits. She is Founding Editor of the world's first website devoted to gin - ww.gintime.com - which she established in 2004. She travels the length and breadth of the country talking about gin, hosting gin Master Classes for consumers as well as writing training programmes and other specialist material for some of the UK's biggest gin brands. She is also a judge for the Scottish Gin Awards.
Dr Gordon Steele has spent over twenty two years in the Scotch Whisky industry mainly in his previous role as Director of the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. During that time he worked on development projects for all the major Scotch whisky distillers both in Scotland and abroad. His work has encompassed all parts of whisky distilling, from grain development, processing and mashing through to distilling, maturation, blending and bottling. As well as manufacturing of whisky, Gordon has worked on Industry wide issues such as distilling environmental impact or anti-counterfeiting strategies. Gordon is a Keeper of the Quaich, Freeman of the City of London and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, Fellow of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and was appointed a visiting Professor at Heriot-Watt University. He currently works as a consultant for a number of different distilleries.
Blair Bowman is an in demand whisky writer and consultant specialising in Scotch whisky. He is passionate about introducing the world to whisky.
Blair has been involved with the whisky industry since he was of legal drinking age, firstly as a co-founder of a whisky society and latterly as the founder of World Whisky Day. He has been actively promoting whisky for over 8 years, writing professionally about whisky as well as sitting on judging panels at whisky competitions and tasting panels. He now acts as a consultant to the whisky industry on a wide variety of matters.
A qualified Master Maltster, Pete has over 33 years of experience in the UK Malting Industry in both Senior Production Roles and Senior Sales Roles. He has also been the Chairman of the Industry Exam Committee, the Examiner for the Malting Industry Exam, the Chairman of the Malting Diploma Association and a member of the Maltsters Association of GB Technical. There is not much about barley that Pete doesn't know!
Dominic Roskrow is an award-winning drinks writer who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. In 2015 he won Drinks Writer of the Year at the Fortnum & Masons Food and Drinks Awards. He is the author of The World's Best Whiskies - 750 Unmissable Drams from Tain to Tokyo (2010), Need to Know Whiskies (2008), and Collins Gems: Whisky (2009). Dominic is a Keeper of the Quaich, and a Kentucky Colonel, Kentucky's highest honour.
Prof. Michael Moss
Professor Michael Moss was the Glasgow University Archivist from 1974 until 2001. He currently works at the University of Northumbria as Professor of Archival Science. In 1981, he co-wrote The Making of Scotch Whisky, one of the most researched and detailed records of the History of the Scotch Whisky and Distilling Industry. This was followed in 2000 with a 2nd edition. Most recently Michael has been working with the Lost Distillery Company as the lead in their Archiving Team.
John has spent over 40 years in the industry. His last 17 years were spent at Edrington as the Master Blender, where he was 'the nose' behind some of Scotland's most well known brands including Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, The Glenrothes and Highland Park.
Such was his influence there, The Glenrothes released a special limited-edition whisky in his honour when he retired in 2009, The Glenrothes John Ramsay Legacy.
As well as a content contributor, John brings his vast experience, knowledge and passion to the Diploma courses as a teacher.
Prof. Charles Spence
Professor Charles Spence is the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University. He is a leading expert in the world of Neurogastronomy, (the theory that everything we eat or drink is processed by our senses).
Over the years, Charles has consulted for a number of multinational companies advising on various aspects of multisensory design, packaging, and branding. His work has been published in over 500 articles in scientific journals over the last 15 years and he was been awarded the 10th Experimental Psychology Society Prize; the British Psychology Society, Cognitive Section Award; and the Paul Bertelson Award, recognizing him as the young European Cognitive Psychologist of the Year.