Scotland’s craft beer giant BrewDog has hired former Diageo director and Johnnie Walker veteran David Gates to manage its spirits label LoneWolf as the brand moves to broaden its range to include whisky and rum.
Gates, a 27-year Diageo vet, left his position as managing director of the company’s innovation arm, Diageo Futures, earlier this year. He also was in charge of Diageo’s premium core spirits range, in particular Scotch whisky a position he held through 2016.
According to the Drinks Business, Gates also oversaw the growth of the Johnnie Walker brand. And during that period he worked with the team to create the award-winning commercial ‘The Man who walked around the World’ in 2009.
The six minute film features Full Monty and Trainspotting actor Robert Carlyle, who tells the story of the whisky brand while walking through the Scottish Highlands.
His team won a Cannes Gold Lion for the brand’s work with Carlyle.
Launched in 2017 LoneWolf has up till now been primarily a gin and vodka producer and Gate’s hiring clearly speaks to BrewDog’s intention to widen the distiller’s range.
BrewDog founder James Watt (a man never short for words) called the whisky veteran “a force to be reckoned with in the industry.” but he was just getting started…
“I can’t wait to see where David takes LoneWolf. He shares our vision in standing as a marker and custodian of purist, truthful distillation methods, and his fresh, challenging thinking will not only take LoneWolf to new levels, but the entire category.”
And for Gates the chance to work with what he called “the industry’s biggest disruptor” was something he couldn’t pass up…
“What BrewDog has done for the beer industry is nothing short of awe-inspiring, you can’t help but be impressed with the energy, vibrancy and unapologetic attitude they’ve injected into the category. It’s that same creative flair & obsession for quality that I hope to bring to the spirits portfolio.”
“Whilst huge strides have been made in whisky, the industry still lacks real innovation. We’re here to change that and inject more excitement, playfulness and creativity into spirits.”
Located in Ellon, Scotland, the LoneWolf distillery is capable of producing 100,000 cases of spirits per year. And thanks to its association and proximity to the brewer, LoneWolf produces its own base alcohol instead of buying in a commercial neutral spirit, something only a handful of spirits companies can attest to.