The Master

Lorne MacKillop

It was an honour to be installed as the Company’s 308th Master on 23rd November 2023.

I went to Reed’s School in Cobham, Surrey, on a Scholarship – which, unbeknownst to me at the time, was funded by the Grocers’ Company – so I have been a direct beneficiary of the Livery Movement’s philanthropy towards Education, which I am very pleased to see being continued to this day.

I graduated from Queen Mary College, London University, with a degree in Physiology. During my university vacations, I worked for Andre Simon Wines in Belgravia, doing deliveries on the bicycle and in the vans, and decided that the Wine Trade was for me. I completed the WSET Diploma with Honours and the WSET Scholarship, before going on to become the world’s youngest Master of Wine (at that time). During this period, I worked for: The Malmaison Wine Club; and then as a director of City Restaurants PLC; and First Fine Wine (London) PLC.

My wine-trade career spanned 17 years, before I joined Angus Dundee Distillers PLC, where I embarked on a 30-year career in the Scotch Whisky industry – thus making a total of 47 years in the Wines & Spirits sector.

During my time at Angus Dundee, I was responsible for carving out new export territories, starting with Australia and then encompassing: New Zealand, the US, Canada, all of Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, parts of the Middle East, Fiji, Papua New Guinea (yes, I have sold whisky there!), Ghana and Mauritius – but thankfully not all at the same time! I racked up many thousands of air-miles and so am grateful that my carbon footprint has much improved since Covid – and now retirement.

I have a life-long commitment to Trade Education. Long before joining the WCD in 2010, I was both a tutor to MW students as a member of the Education Committee of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW), and a Lecturer and Examiner at Diploma level for the WSET. I also have been on the Council of the IMW (equivalent of the Court), and a Trustee of the WSET. I am therefore delighted that the Distillers’ Company is continuing to develop its educational drive under the Vocational Training and Education Committee (VTEC), which also covers Mentoring – and am pleased to have served as a Mentor in the early pilot stage of our Mentoring programme. I thoroughly support the efforts of our VTEC team in their mission to assist in Trade Education; in so doing, they are putting the philanthropical ethos of the WCD very much on the map.

I am married to Seana (who is greatly looking forward to her year as Mistress) and we divide our time between Thames Ditton and Devon. I also have a son, Leo, who married in 2023.

It will be a privilege to serve the Company this year and I look forward to the challenges ahead.