Talking about whisky with James Cowan, sales director of Waterford Whisky

Talking about whisky with James Cowan, sales director of Waterford Whisky

James Cowan oversees global commercial interest in both Waterford Whisky and Renegade Rum. Here, he highlights the distinctiveness of both brands and identifies the latest market trends.

 What have been your career highlights?

There have been many memorable events that are now saved in my memory bank forever. Prior to my current role at Waterford & Renegade, I had the privilege of working with some globally recognized brands, such as BenRiach, GlenDronach, Buffalo Trace, Pappy Van Winkle, Fireball, Southern Comfort and Scapegrace. All of these experiences have helped shape my appreciation for how diverse the spirits landscape is. As a sales director, my role involves ambassadorial duties, which adds an interesting layer to what would otherwise be simply selling.

What sets the brand apart from competitors?

Transparency and honesty. There is no “smoke and mirrors” or marketing story. We provide verification on where the flavor originates: born from the fields in the form of barley. It’s barley, yeast, and water — nothing else: no coloring or flavoring. We stay true to the values of provenance, using only Irish barley and the highest quality wood for maturation. In addition, we steer clear of single casks, instead adopting a wine approach through the assemblage of Cuvees.

What are the latest trends shaping the whisky industry?

While there are trends that go out of fashion as quickly as they come in, we quietly get on with the job at hand, which is instilling transparency in what we do. The modern-day consumer is more aware of the products around them. They want to know about what they are drinking and how it has been made. They seek facts, rather than tales, and wish to understand why the product tastes as it does. Waterford aims to dispel the many myths that circulate within our profession.

Is there any news you would like to share with our readers?

Over the years, as part of the evolution of Waterford Whisky and Renegade Rum, we delved into the specific flavors of any one single farm. Moving forward, we will place greater focus and emphasis on the Cuvee concept, which highlights a greater level of complexity within the product makeup. Thus, we will be able to provide both very specific flavors at one end of the spectrum with our Single Farm Origins as well as providing a broader, more complex distillery style through our Cuvees.

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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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