BrewDog appoints former Diageo Futures MD as Distilling MD

Independent craft brewer BrewDog has appointed David Gates as Managing Director of BrewDog Distilling. Gates brings 27 years of experience in the industry to the burgeoning team, as BrewDog continues in its mission to redefine the spirits industry, establishing a new standard for distillation with craft and quality at its heart.

Gates brings with him a wealth of experience from his time at Diageo, where he worked for 27 years and departed earlier this year as Managing Director of Diageo Futures. He was instrumental in driving growth of Diageo’s Premium Core spirits portfolio, which accounts for 50% of the company’s total net sales.

During his time as Global Whisky Category Director, Gates established steady and sustained growth for Scotch Whisky and as Johnnie Walker Global Brand Director, he led the brand in becoming the most profitable international spirits brand in the world. With his team, he also achieved success with a Cannes Gold Lion for the brand’s work with Robert Carlyle and ‘The man who walked around the world’ film.

The appointment comes as BrewDog’s distilling arm, LoneWolf, revealed its plans to expand its spirit range beyond its vodka and gin to encompass whisky and rum, and an evolved strategic position that aligns with the brand's mission. Gates will be instrumental in driving forward LoneWolf’s belief in challenging the notion of what spirits can be by putting craftsmanship back into spirits.

BrewDog cofounder, James Watt commented, “David is as obsessed with quality and flavour as we are. His proven success in building an established spirits division makes him a force to be reckoned with in the industry; I’m thrilled to have him on board. I can’t wait to see where David takes LoneWolf - he shares our vision in standing as a marker and custodian of purist, truthful distillation methods, and his fresh, challenging thinking will not only take LoneWolf to new levels, but the entire category.”

David Gates added, “The opportunity to shake up the spirits category with the industry’s biggest disruptor was just too good to pass up. What BrewDog has done for the beer industry is nothing short of awe-inspiring, you can’t help but be impressed with the energy, vibrancy and unapologetic attitude they’ve injected into the category. It’s that same creative flair & obsession for quality that I hope to bring to the spirits portfolio.

Steven (Kersley, head distiller) and the team have done an incredible job in putting LoneWolf on the map. I can’t wait to kick this mission up a gear, bringing that innovative and courageous attitude to the spirits world, especially with the introduction of whisky. Whilst huge strides have been made in whisky, the industry still lacks real innovation. We’re here to change that and inject more excitement, playfulness and creativity into spirits.”