Gordon and MacPhail director receives top industry honour
Published 14th October 2019
A director and fourth-generation member of the owning family of Gordon & MacPhail has received one of the whisky industry’s highest honours.
Stephen Rankin, the Elgin-based company’s Director of Prestige, was announced as a Master of the Quaich at the biannual Keepers of the Quaich ceremony at Blair Castle, which recognises the outstanding commitment of those who produce or promote Scotch whisky.
To be announced as a Keeper is an honour bestowed upon a limited number of people; to become a Master of the Quaich is a special recognition of those who have been inducted as a Keeper over ten years ago, and have made an exceptional contribution to the industry.
Stephen, who is approaching his 20th anniversary within the industry, said:
“It’s an honour to be inducted as a Master of Quaich, keeping great company among some of the whisky industry’s most remarkable people, including some of my peers at Gordon & MacPhail.
“Passion and dedication for creating and promoting single malt whisky is something that has been instilled by my family for four generations, and it’s something that I will continue to uphold and progress in my responsibilities as Master of the Quaich.”
Guests at the prestigious event, which saw five Masters and 44 Keepers announced, were addressed by the Olympian rower Dame Katherine Grainger, who was also awarded the role of Honorary Keeper of the Quaich.
Annabel Meikle, Director of The Keepers of the Quaich, said:
“It was a great pleasure to invite Stephen to become a Master of the Quaich. The accolade of Master is truly special. Those who are invited by the Management Committee have made an exceptional contribution to the Scotch whisky industry for a minimum of ten years, but in reality most have had at least double this length of service. The title of Master has only been awarded to around 200 members.”
Stephen’s induction as a Master comes in what would have been the centenary year of his grandfather George Urquhart, who played a huge role in the single malt whisky industry and remains the only person to have been awarded Keeper of the Quaich outside of Blair Castle, when the rules were waived and he received his induction while in a nursing home.
The Society was founded over 35 years ago and takes its name from the traditional two-handled drinking cup which is described in the ancient Gaelic language of Scotland as a ‘cuach’ or quaich, a vessel long associated with friendship and the enjoyment of Scotch whisky.