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Issue 16 - In conversation with Dr Nicholas Morgan

Whisky Magazine Issue 16
June 2001


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In conversation with Dr Nicholas Morgan

Charles Maclean talks to Dr Nicholas Morgan who, as UDV's Marketing Direcotr (Malts), is responsibel for the largest portfolio of malt whiskies in the world.

CM Is it unusual for a professional historian to take up a senior marketing job?

NM Not if you take your heritage seriously and want to use it to support brands and marketing activity. Several of UDV's marketing people have history degrees. What is perhaps unusual is for a
professional historian with a job in a university to move from the groves of academe into the hurly-burly of business. But the offer United distillers made me could not be refused: the job was both
challenging and open-ended. Being asked to create so large and important an archive was like being given the keys to a sweetie shop!

CM Can you learn lessons from the past which are useful today?

NM In terms of looking after products and brands like ours, most of which are over 100 years old, yes. Really, we are transient custodians of these great names: it ill-behoves us not to have due cognisance of the heritage of our products. After all, the people who founded the distilleries and created the brands must have done something right for them to have survived for so long. In my view, an understanding of the history of the category and of individual distilleries is essential if you are to give consumers what they want: let's face it, most people are looking for more than just liquid when they buy a bottle of single malt.

CM How did you become involved with malts?

NM The mighty Distillers Company had an ambivalent attitude to malts. Its fortunes had been won by blended whisky and such malts as were s...

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