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Alan McGarrie joins Diageo from Tennent Caledonian amid heavy whisky investment

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

November 28, 2019 | 4 min read

Alan McGarrie has been appointed brand home and retail marketing manager at Diageo with the experienced Scottish marketer making the move from Tennent Caledonian Breweries where he was global brand director.

In his new role, he is charged with developing and implementing marketing, PR, and events plans for JW Edinburgh and also the new Madrid office. Chiefly, this ties in with the 200th anniversary of Johnnie Walker in 2020. His efforts will help generate interest around the new Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh and 4 Corners distilleries.

Based in Edinburgh, he will report into recently appointed Barbara Smith, general manager of the brand, and will help steer its newly created experiences. Diageo invested £150m to transform its Scotch whisky visitor experiences across the country. Primarily, Edinburgh's Princes Street has seen the introduction of an immersive Johnnie Walker visitor experience guiding visitors through 200 years of whisky-making, with a bar academy and a rooftop spot overlooking Edinburgh castle.

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Alan McGarrie

Alan McGarrie joins Diageo from Tennent Caledonian

A Diageo spokesperson said: “We’re delighted to have recruited Alan to the leadership team for our whisky brand experiences in Scotland. He has a great track record of marketing brand and consumer experiences and will be a great asset as we launch our global flagship at Johnnie Walker Princes Street and as we transform our distillery visitor experiences across Scotland.”

McGarrie starts the role 2 December. Before taking the lead at TC Breweries, he was global director of PR and social media (football) at Adidas in Nuremberg.

The appointment comes as Diageo unveils an AI whisky selector, part of its efforts to help a new generation of drinkers get a taste for the finer stuff. The digital experience will ask users question like “how often do you eat bananas?” and “how do you feel about chillies?” to generate a taste preference from a variety of sweet, fruity, spicy and smoky flavours found in single malt whiskies.

Dr Adeline Koay, principal scientist of research and development for Diageo said: “We are using our extensive consumer knowledge, whisky expertise gathered over hundreds of years and cutting-edge AI to help consumers discover, explore and enjoy Scotch in new and exciting ways.”

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