The Alistair Walker Whisky Company, based in Grangemouth, Central Scotland, was established in 2018. With almost 20 years’ experience in the Scotch whisky industry, I took the plunge and decided to forge my own path – as an independent bottler.
Independent bottlers, aka merchant bottlers, have been around for a long time. Quite simply, we source whiskies from different distilleries throughout Scotland (and beyond), and, when they are ready, we bottle them as single casks, in their most natural form – un-chill filtered, at natural colour, and usually at cask strength.
As we are not affiliated to any specific distillery, we are free to source casks from various distilleries, thereby offering a diverse portfolio of whisky bottlings that cover the myriad flavours, aromas and styles that whisky has to offer.
The whiskies are bottled under the brand name ‘Infrequent Flyers’. That name refers to the nature of many of the casks that we bottle – often whiskies from lesser-known distilleries that are of excellent quality, but have never been widely or consistently available. As such, many of our bottlings are of whiskies that you just don’t see so often – hence the name ‘Infrequent Flyers’.
~ Alistair Walker / Owner AWW Co
ABOUT ALISTAIR WALKER
My career in the whisky industry began in January 1997, at Burn Stewart Distillers. I was in a sales and marketing role, and was there for over six years. At that time Burn Stewart was the custodian of two single malt distilleries – Deanston and Tobermory.
In October 2004 I joined The BenRiach Distillery Company, and remained with them for over twelve years, until the business was eventually sold. This was a new-start business, that had been set up in 2004 following the acquisition, by three entrepreneurs, of the BenRiach Distillery from Pernod Ricard. In addition to BenRiach, I also had the good fortune to work with the GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh Distilleries, with BenRiach having acquired GlenDronach in 2008, and then Glenglassaugh in 2013.
Which brings me to early 2018, when I found myself on hiatus, and contemplating what to do next. Keen to be my own boss (some might say unemployable), and also wishing to remain in the whisky sector, I decided to venture into the unpredictable world of independent bottling. Making the move from distillery to independent bottler is very much a case of ‘gamekeeper turned poacher’. Fortunately, independent bottling is a vibrant category at present; more and more we are seeing whisky enthusiasts seeking out single cask bottlings and whisky releases that are a little different, somewhat unique, and often from less familiar distilleries.
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