Winning in Innovation by Steve Wilson

“Wow … that was absolutely amazing 

“Fascinating Steve …thanks for that ….” 

“An invaluable experience…”

These are just some of the comments from over 60 students who enjoyed a fascinating and illuminating talk delivered on-line by Liveryman Steve Wilson, which was also made available to a large number of students from over 10 countries. 

With over 40 years’ experience leading the creation of some of the world’s best loved spirits spirit brands, many as Global Head of Innovation at IDV/Diageo, who better to share the gift of such knowledge?  Steve has worked on so many famous brands including Baileys, Archers, Malibu, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, Tanqueray and many, many more. The subject of his talk was “Winning in Innovation.”

Steve Wilson

This was the final of six guest lectures for students who are currently studying for their degrees: BSc (Hons) Brewing & Distilling, the MSC Brewing & Distilling, and the MSc Brewing & Distilling with Entrepreneurship at Heriot-Watt University. 

The Livery has been working very closely with our educational partners to develop a focused strategy through the Vocational Training and Education Committee. The objective is to ramp up the sharing of knowledge and experience that lies within our Company and pass that on to the next generation of distillers and brand builders.

Steve took the students through “what is takes to identify big ideas” highlighting that “big ideas are born drowning!” giving examples of brands/innovations that were initially rejected such as the i-phone, desk top computer, Baileys, Brew Dog and others.

The lecture further captivated the students with invaluable guidance on how to overcome the many barriers both within organisations and the marketplace. The one one-hour session ended with 45 minutes of lively questions.

This is clearly an area where the Livery adds very significant value to the students of the ICBD, IBD and WSET by providing inspiration and hands-on experience to guide careers. Thank you, Steve.

If any member is interested in sharing their knowledge and supporting the work of the VT&E, please contact Past Master Martin Riley at

Nick Carr

VT E Comms