Big news in the English whisky world this week, as yesterday (5 January) ex-Macallan whisky maker Sarah Burgess announced that she is joining The Lakes Distillery!
25 years of experience in the whisky industry
Burgess boasts nearly 25 years of experience in the whisky industry, previously working at Diageo for two decades managing the Glenkinchie and Clynelish distilleries, before moving on to become lead whisky maker at Macallan. In early 2022 she joined forces with The Craigellachie Hotel to become creative director of The Craigellachie Collection, a series of spirits and sodas inspired by Speyside, but now she’s set her sights on Cumbria, taking up the mantle of whisky maker at The Lakes.
“I was intrigued by The Lakes as a new distillery but one creating such high-quality whisky,” Burgess told Master of Malt. “I am excited to be part of a new and innovative operation and I am sure between my creativity and the quality casks we have in maturation that many great whiskies will follow.”
In May 2022 the distillery’s previous Dhavall Gandhi (also former Macallan alumni – do we spot a trend?) announced he was going solo, establishing a creative studio called Dhavall Gandhi Whisky, described as the “private bank of the whisky consulting world” and aims to “elevate the expectations” of the whisky industry, partnering with firms with “a shared passion for whisky to define what is next” for the category on projects with exploratory concepts and stock transformation endeavours.
Except he wasn’t letting go of The Lakes entirely, as the distillery was one of his first clients, telling us back in 2022: “Although I am not involved in the day-to-day running of the operations, I still maintain full creative control of the liquid from new make spirit to the final product. This is a novel approach and it allows me to focus on things I do best.”
Burgess told us she “will be working together with Dhavall to hand over The Lakes’ 2023 bottlings before taking over responsibility for all whisky making operations.”
Congratulations, Sarah – we can’t wait to see where she takes things with The Lakes Distillery!