GlenDronach, Benriach and Glenglassaugh distillery manager retires after 50 years in the industry


After 50 years of distinguished service to the whiskey industry, Alan McConnochie, Distillery Manager of three Brown-Forman Single Malt Scotch Whiskey distilleries, is retiring.

Overseeing the GlenDronach, Benriach and Glenglassaugh distilleries, Alan has been in charge of the distillery production of some of the world’s finest single malts since 2004.

Laura Tolmie, the current Distilleries Production Manager, takes over as the new Distillery Manager, having worked alongside Alan since she was appointed by Brown-Forman in 2017.

Laura has a background in chemical and process engineering as well as extensive experience in maltings and distilleries across Scotland.

Born in the shadow of White Horse Distillers in Glasgow, Alan’s future as a whiskey man was predestined.

Having started his first job in 1973 in the bottling room of White Horse Distillers, he could not have imagined that he would one day celebrate 50 years of service.

Alan’s expertise and service to the whiskey industry was honored when he was inducted as a ‘Keeper of the Quaich’ in 2018, the ultimate distinction in the whiskey industry.

His career in the distillery began when he was appointed assistant manager at Plymouth Gin in Devon before moving to Laphroaig on Islay. Alan has achieved many milestones in his illustrious career, but believes his greatest moment was overseeing the reopening of the Benriach Distillery for Billy Walker before it was acquired by Brown-Forman in 2016.

Mr McConnochie said: “It has been an incredible privilege to oversee the distilleries of some of the finest single malt whiskeys in the industry. What I will miss the most is the camaraderie of the distillery team and the whiskey industry as a whole. Being part of the launch of The GlenDronach Aged 50 Years in January was a particularly proud moment, having personally helped nurture those casks over the years.

“I couldn’t be happier to hand over to Laura, who is very well placed to continue building the future of our skilled and passionate distillery team.”

Ms Tolmie said: “It is an absolute honor to have the opportunity to be the caretaker of these three superb single malt distilleries, each with their own character and history and so beloved in the industry. Combined with the passion and drive of the distillery teams for whiskies, I am extremely excited to be part of the incredible future of Benriach, Glenglassaugh and The GlenDronach.


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