The Global Whiskies and Spirits Summit 26 March 2020

Our next summit will take place on 26 March 2020. Tickets now on sale !!!

The Honourable Artillery Company, City Road, London

Speakers - 2020 Programme

Keynote speaker - Damian Riley-Smith

Panellists -
Joe Bates
Steve Beale
Christopher Coates
Sam Coyne
David T Smith

Speakers (from our 2019 Programme)

Damian Riley

Damian Riley-Smith

Managing Director
Paragraph Publishing Ltd

After leaving Cambridge University in 1987, Damian spent three years with Schroder Ventures, an early entrant to the venture capital sector, and spent one year working within one of the investee companies, Maclehose & Partners.

On joining the Heseltine family business, Haymarket, in 1990, he worked across industry leading titles Management Today and Campaign, before becoming Director of EVRO, a joint venture between Eric Verdon-Roe and Haymarket. Responsible for a team of 50, with six magazines and numerous events, two of the publications and the largest event were in the drinks sector.

When EVRO was sold to a plc in 1997 Damian left to establish Paragraph Publishing as an international media business specialising in drinks, travel and food. Whisky Magazine launched in 1998, Scotland Magazine in 2002, and Whisky Live started in Tokyo in 2000. The Whiskies & Spirits Conference came to life in 2006 and is now held in London, New York and New Delhi. Scotland’s Best and Ireland’s Best were launched in 2017, along with Gin Magazine in November of that year, followed in May 2018 with American Whiskey Magazine. With 12 web sites, 21 licensees around the world, and awards including Icons of Whisky, Icons of Gin, the World Whiskies Awards, World Beer Awards and World Drinks Awards, Paragraph heads towards its 22nd anniversary in September 2019.

Damian has been a trustee of Holkham Hall for more than 30 years, a school governor for 20 years, launched the Beeston Foundation in 2018, the fund-raising arm of Beeston Hall School and was a member of HRH The Prince Edward’s Special Projects Group of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award for a decade. In the drinks industry he is a Master of the Keepers of the Quaich, Rectifier of the Gin Guild and Steward of the Worshipful Company of Distillers.

Speaking time...

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Joe Bates

Gin Magazine / Travelux / Whisky Magazine

Joe Bates has been writing about the duty-free business as a freelance journalist for nearly two decades. He’s a regular contributor to industry titles, including; Whisky Magazine, Gin Magazine and more recently Travelux. Bates specialises in the spirits sector and has acted as lead judge on a number of travel retail awards.

Speaking time...


Steve Beale


Biography ........ coming soon

Speaking time...


Christopher Coates

Publisher and Editor
Travelux, Scotch Whisky Magazine & Rum Magazine

Possessing a long-standing passion for whisky, Christopher Coates has worked for global drinks media company Paragraph Ltd since 2013. In 2016, he was appointed as Scotch Whisky Editor for Whisky Magazine and Managing Editor of the travel and history publication Scotland Magazine. In 2018, he joined Paragraph's leadership team and in 2019 was named as Publisher and Managing Editor of Travelux, Scotch Whisky Magazine, and Rum Magazine. He has been a member of the judging panel for the World Whiskies Awards, for which he now chairs the Scotch judging panel, and Independent Bottlers Challenge for the past four years. A keen amateur photographer, Christopher has built up one of the industry’s most comprehensive portfolios of Scotch whisky distillery images, though he also has a passion for landscape and wildlife photography.

Speaking time...


Sam Coyne

The Drinks Report

Sam Coyne is editor of The Drinks Report and specialist drinks titles, Gin Magazine and Rum Magazine. Sam’s work in drinks has seen him cover spirits categories including Cognac, genever, whisky and industry sectors including global travel retail, design and packaging and production.

Speaking time...


David T Smith


Biography ........ coming soon

Speaking time...

Speakers from our 2019 Conference

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Adam Spiegel

Founder & Whiskey Maker
Sonoma Distilling Co.

For San Francisco native Adam Spiegel, bountiful Sonoma County was always an inspiring place. Through regular visits to the area with his parents, he explored the pristine coastline, enjoyed attending concerts, and gained a youthful appreciation for the wine scene - playing among the vines and in  tasting rooms as he tagged along on wine tastings.

Spiegel tried his hand at a financial sales job in New York City after college, but found himself drawn back to the Bay Area, where he ended up at a firm managing money for foundations and endowments. In 2008, Spiegel realized he was craving more creativity in his life. He was 24 and was fortunate enough not only to have options, but also the moral support and encouragement of family and friends. It was a certain place he had grown to love as a child – and often visited with his parents growing up - that actually helped him discover his passion for creating spirits. While assisting a distiller friend in Santa Rosa, California, he found himself captivated by the complexity, history, and tradition of whiskey. Inspired by the exceptional flavor of what he and his friend were creating, the idea for Sonoma Distilling Company was born. For Adam, technique would be a point of differentiation – a focus on handcrafting small batch-produced whiskey, from grain-to-glass using old-school style stills, that was authentic and unpretentious. He wanted to craft a product steeped in traditional values yet fueled by the evolved needs of the modern palate.

Spiegel constantly pushes himself and his team to never stop learning, and to continuously strive to raise the quality of their whiskey. The fruition of his fervor, Sonoma Distilling Company, was founded in 2010. It is of the first 200 distilleries in the country, is a pioneer producer in California and is one of the very first in Sonoma wine country.


Attila Lorincz

Founder & CEO

An ambitious creative enthusiast with years of spirit marketing experience (on both global and local market-leading brands), currently leading an award-winning team to help our clients communicate outside the box / above the ad noise.

Becky Paskin

Becky Paskin

Drinks Editor

Becky Paskin is editor of online magazine, the world’s leading website for whisky lovers. She was the first journalist to gain a General Certificate in Distillation with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling – a qualification usually reserved for distillery operators. Becky has been writing about drinks for over 10 years, is a member of exclusive society Keepers of the Quaich, and is an expert in all manner of spirits. She regularly presents educational whisky seminars at global drinks shows including Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and The Whisky Show in London.


Charles Soong

Managing Director
Edrington China

Born in 1961 in Taipei Taiwan, entered spirit industry in 1990 working in a local distribution company in Taipei as associate marketing manager looking after both cognac and whisky brands.  Apart from promoting blended Scotch whisky, Charles was also the 1st one to promote single malt whisky in 1995 and gradually establish this category in Taiwan market.

In 1999, local distribution company became Maxxium Taiwan LOC, Charles continued his marketing role as group brand manager and was looking after all whisky brands, in 2002, transferred to The Edrington Group (shareholder company of Maxxium) as area director looking after Greater China region which includes Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and China, then relocated to Shanghai in 2003.

In 2004 was nominated and became a Keeper of the Quaich, in 2009 relocated to Singapore and was looking after China, Hong Kong, Macau and SEA region after The Edrigton Group acquired Taiwan LOC, then moved back to Shanghai in 2010 and became the Managing Director of Maxxium China (then became Edrington China in 2011), in 2016 Charles became a Master of the Quaich and was the 1st Chinese who won this honour.

During the last 2 decades, Charles & his team were focusing on introducing and promoting whisky to Asian consumers.

In greater China region there were more than 100K consumers have been educated directly by Charles and his team to learn about what whisky is all about since 1990 up until now today and this will keep moving on and on.

Now the mission for Charles is to accelerate the pace and expand whisky footprint in China to bring more consumers to appreciate whisky and also make China as one of the largest whisky markets in the world in the future.


Chris Jones

Country Director
Thin Film

Chris is responsible for sales and business for Thinfilm Electronics business in EMEA. Thinfilm provides an integrated smart product solution enabling brands to engage consumers in innovative ways, protect their brands and deliver unique and new insights. Thinfilm has helped to deliver award winning connected product solutions for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Bodegas Barbadillo, Brown-Forman, Yuni Beauty and Kilchoman Distillery.

In Chris’s role he works with brands, agencies, technologists and packagers amongst others helping to define and deliver the opportunity and role for smart products.

Prior to Thinfilm Chris’s career has developed through sales and business development roles with large and small technology companies (including Adobe, Gartner and Oracle) working with brands in industries such as FMCG/CPG, Financial Services, Media and Telecoms.

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Craig Johnson

Vice President Marketing
Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail

Craig Johnson is the current Global Vice President Marketing for Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail. He has a degree in Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MBA from The University of Connecticut. He started his career at BIC in 1993, where he transitioned from engineering to marketing, before joining Allied Domecq Spirits USA in 1999 as Brand Director, Innovation & Advantage. Craig joined the Group at Pernod Ricard USA in 2004 as Brand Director and became Vice President Marketing, Spirits in 2010. He joined The Absolut Company in 2013 as Global Brand Director, Malibu, and was promoted to Global Marketing Director in late 2015.


Georgie Bell

Global Malts Ambassador

Georgie Bell, Global Whisky Specialist, started her career in the drinks industry as a cocktail bartender. Going on to study for a diploma in distillation at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling she achieved the highest mark globally, leading to The Worshipful Company of Distillers to grant their International Award and accepting her in to the exclusive society. Georgie began educating through her various whisky brand ambassador roles starting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, before moving to Diageo and now as a Global Malts Ambassador for Bacardi.

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Giles Darwin

Managing Director

Giles Darwin is the UK Managing Director of drinks design specialist Denomination. Giles comes from a strong strategic drinks and prestige branding background, having worked for the past 15 years at leading UK drinks and brand design consultancies including JDO, Lewis Moberly and Elmwood. While in these posts, he was responsible for leading and growing global clients, working with brands including Bollinger and Johnnie Walker, as well as guiding smaller family businesses.


Ian Lloyd

Vice President, Global Product & Category Management
Multi Packaging Solutions

Ian was appointed his current role in March 2018. Ian has responsibility for leading global marketing strategy development and programmes for chosen Consumer Branded, Healthcare and Luxury sectors.  Previously Ian served as Regional Development Director in Central Europe and in Global Key Account Management. Ian has been with the company for over 2o years having joined in a Senior Operations role.

A graduate of both University of Leeds and Sheffield Business School, he is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management. In his spare time Ian is a keen dog walker and cyclist with a passion for cooking and other people’s Single Malts & Bourbons.

Ken Grier

Ken Grier

De-Still Creative

The legacy Ken Grier leaves behind after his 20 years at the Edrington Group is frankly astonishing.

Starting his marketing career with cider, frozen pizza and Lego, he swiftly got to work across the Edrington brands, establishing himself as a visionary and creative marketer. His impact across several brands includes: leading the team who introduced the Famous Grouse malt range into Taiwan – enabling Edrington to provide a strong distribution platform which allowed Macallan to sweep in and dominate for 10 years; developing the early days of Highland Park in 2005/06; and working with the team to develop The Famous Grouse Experience in Crieff, which won a BAFTA award and was considered ahead if its time.

Ken will be widely known for his work on Macallan, and the list of projects during his 20 years on the brand is astonishing. In 2002/03 he introduced Fine & Rare Macallan; he took the decision to move The Macallan away from being 100 per cent sherry cask led to introduce the Fine Oak Series, which initially catapulted Macallan into the top four single malts in the world.

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Kristy Sherry

Master of Malt

Kristiane Sherry is the editor at Master of Malt, the multi-award-winning drinks eCommerce platform. She adores whisky, gin, Tequila, cocktails (pretty much anything delicious and spirited!), and loves geeking out at distilleries around the world. She has written about drinks since 2011 and has judged at numerous competitions, including the American Distilling Institute's Judging of Craft Spirits, The Global Spirits Masters and the World Gin Awards. She is an accredited WSET Spirits Educator and jointly leads the internal spirits training at Master of Malt parent, Atom Group. Kristiane is a former editor of The Spirits Business, a leading global trade title, and has been featured as an industry commentator in The Spectator, The Grocer, RedOnline, and on BBC Radio 5 Live. When she’s not immersed in the world of spirits, she can be found trail running across the stunning South Downs, or curled up with her cats and a dram.


Mal Spence

Global Head of Advocacy
Atom Brand

Originally from Glasgow, Mal has twenty years experience in the industry, tending bar between Glasgow and Edinburgh – most notably at Blythswood Square Hotel and Kelvingrove Cafe.

After three years as a global ambassador for Black Bottle Whisky, Mal joined Atom Brands and moved to Amsterdam to look after Europe as a portfolio ambassador, working with Jess Simmons. Just over a year into his time with Atom, Mal now heads up our Global Advocacy Team, supporting our portfolio ambassadors in different markets across the globe.

Mark Meek - IWSR CEO

Mark Meek


Originally from South Africa, Mark joined the IWSR in December 2013, bringing with him a wealth of experience in the publishing and business information industry.
Mark is tasked with firmly setting the IWSR as the world’s most-trusted data and insights company for the global drinks industry. He has over 20 years’ experience working for world-class organisations, having worked at The Guardian and Independent newspapers in various commercial and editorial roles, as well as at Datamonitor and Progressive Digital Media (owners of Canadean) as CEO.

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Nick Sutton


Nick Sutton is the Co-Founder of FILTR - a leading marketing, design and strategy consultancy focused on the dynamic travel retail channel. With offices in Singapore and London, FILTR works with brandowners, retailers and airports across the globe to help them promote innovation and drive growth.


Noah May

Head of Wine & Spirits

Noah May joined Christie’s London Wine Department in 2007, after graduating from The University of Leeds with an honors degree in English Literature and Philosophy. Mr. May has been involved in a number of high-profile wine auctions in Europe, including the sale of Historic Cognacs from the Private Cellars of La Tour d’Argent in 2012 and the sale of Fine Wines from the Private Collection of Sir Alex Ferguson CBE in 2014. In May 2013, Mr. May was awarded the British Guild of Food Writers Award for Food Writer of the Year for various publications relating to wine and gastronomy. In September 2014, May joined Christie’s New York Wine Department, where he is focused on building relationships with collectors, the sourcing of rare wines for auction, catalogue production and specialist wine events; his professional interests include the fine wines of Burgundy and Rioja, and the rare spirits market.

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Paul McQuade

Head of Buying for Spirits and Scotland
Lidl UK

Paul has worked for Lidl for 13 Years and started in the business as a Graduate Area Sales Manager in Scotland. He then went on to complete an 18 month International Programme in the Supply chain area of the business, where he was working in Lidl's Headquarters in Neckarsulm, Germany. On returning to the UK, Paul moved to Buying, where he's now worked for over six years progressing to Head of Buying for the entire Spirits category as well as all of Scotland (two of his biggest passions).

As Head of Buying for Spirits and Scotland. Paul is responsible for all Spirits and Liqueurs for the Lidl GB assortment, along with the products for Lidl's regional offering in Scotland.

Paul has worked across a wide range of categories during his career which has meant that he's been able to gain valuable experience and expertise of the entire food industry. Spirits has always been a passion for Paul and since he has overseen the category it's continued to go from strength to strength.

Tim Llewellyn

Tim Llewellyn

Structural Creative Director
Drink Works

Tim has nearly 20 years’ experience in structural packaging and brand design, with proven expertise in creating product and packaging solutions that redefine categories. He has extensive experience in the drinks sector, working closely with global companies including ABInBev, Coca Cola, Bacardi, Diageo, Brown Forman and Quintessential Brands.

Tim’s industry knowledge and passion for structural creativity means that he is an expert at designing solutions for every stage of the process, which help brands to become market leaders.

Tim is a strong advocate of creating transparent and sustainable packaging solutions – he leads the Drink Works team in championing the creation of solutions for the circular economy, making it real through the agency’s dedicated ‘Honest Sustainability’ initiative.

In his downtime, Tim is a family man with a serious cycling obsession and a passion for nature. He is also a keen craftsman.

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