Mickey Heads will retire from his role with the Islay distillery in October 2020 – but will continue as chairman of the Ardbeg Committee for a further three years, including overseeing its 20th anniversary celebrations this year.
Since joining Ardbeg in 2007, Mickey – who has spent his entire working life on Islay and Jura – has overseen the creation of 107,700 casks of spirit and helped the producer pick up more awards for its whisky and distillery than any previous manager, as well as leading eight Ardbeg Days as committee chairman.
Mickey said: "Being at the helm of Ardbeg for 13 years has been a great privilege. The whisky we make here is of wonderful quality and being part of the team that creates it is fantastic. Ardbeg has such a long history; I've always seen myself as a custodian carrying it forward for the next generation, so you just do it as well as you can and with as much passion as you can."
Thomas Moradpour, CEO of The Glenmorangie Company, said: "Mickey Heads is a hugely respected figure in the world of single malt whisky and will be sorely missed by Ardbeggians everywhere. There cannot be many distillery managers who combine such a wealth of knowledge, depth of passion and warmth of welcome. On behalf of everyone who has had the pleasure of meeting or working with Mickey, I want to express gratitude for all his hard work in maintaining the quality and reputation of the Ardbeg brand. His successor will have a hard act to follow."
Ardbeg said the search for a new distillery manager is underway.