Effective March 1, Brown-Forman, Louisville, Ky., announced that Rachel Barrie assume the role of whisky maker for its Scotch whisky portfolio, which includes the BenRiach, The GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries.

She will succeed Billy Walker who helped grow The BenRiach Distillery Co. into one that is recognized throughout the industry for innovative and exceptional quality single-malt Scotch whiskies, the company says. Walker will continue to support the distilleries and share his whisky expertise throughout the transition, it adds. 

Barrie has served as master blender of Morrison Bowmore Distillers for the last five years, where she led whisky creation for Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch, including Laphroaig and Ardmore, the company says. Prior to joining Morrison Bowmore Distillers, Barrie worked with the Glenmorangie Co. for 16 years, eight of which were spent as whisky creator and master blender for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg single malts as well as James Martin’s and Bailie Nicol Jarvie blended Scotch whiskies. During Barrie’s time at Glenmorangie, Brown-Forman had a minority ownership in the distillery and this new role brings Barrie back to some of her earlier distilling roots with the company, it says.

Barrie was educated at the Inverurie Academy and graduated with honors with a chemistry degree from the University of Edinburgh before beginning her career as a research scientist at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. Barrie has received numerous industry accolades for her work in developing award-winning whiskies in addition to judging international spirits competitions and serving on numerous industry committees, it adds.

“We are very pleased that Rachel Barrie is joining our team and will continue the excellent Scotch whisky-making tradition fostered by the venerable Billy Walker,” said Alex Alvarez, chief production officer for Brown-Forman, in a statement. “We take great comfort in knowing that Billy will continue with our team over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition for Rachel.”