ONE of the most accomplished scientific and technical advisers to the Scotch whisky industry is to be recognised with a new annual award.

Dr Jim Swan had a 40-year career as a research scientist and trusted adviser to whisky distilleries around the world prior to his sudden death in 2017, aged 75. His tireless work to collaborate, encourage and steer whisky producers to pursue excellence in whisky production, has been universally admired in the industry.

The Scottish Whisky Awards judging panel has now received the blessing of Swan’s family to create a new annual prize, The Jim Swan Award for Services to Scotch Whisky, to be presented to an individual making an outstanding contribution to the industry.

This year, the award will be presented to Swan posthumously and accepted by his daughters at the Scottish Whisky Awards’ inaugural celebration in Edinburgh on September 5. It will be presented alongside a tribute film featuring Swan distillery clients including Annandale, Clydeside, Lindores, Cotswolds and Penderyn.

The idea for the memorial prize was proposed by judging panel chair professor Alan Wolstenholme. He commented: “It is a real honour to be able to create this important award. It is an opportunity to keep the name and legacy of Dr Jim Swan front and centre in Scotch whisky and to celebrate his many achievements.

“He was a passionate educator, a collaborator and a tireless supporter of new distilleries trying to get off the ground. His selfless sharing of knowledge and expertise has benefitted a huge range of distilleries in Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and abroad.

“It is also an opportunity to share the character of Jim which made him special. He was warm, witty and humble; a complete gentleman who selflessly shared his expertise for the benefit of the whisky industry.”

The award will be presented in front of more than 400 leaders from the Scotch whisky industry at the sold-out event in Edinburgh, which will takes place at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. Some 52 companies put their names forward after the programme was launched earlier this year, with 38 distilleries and 110 Scotch whiskies entered.