A degree in genetics might seem an unusual route into the drinks industry, but for spirits expert and whisk(e)y ambassador Stefanie Holt, it was a part-time job in a cocktail bar while at uni that took her into an industry where she could combine science, creativity and fun.

Stef started working in some of Edinburgh’s top bars, impressing in cocktail competitions and winning numerous accolades, leading to her moving to London and being appointed as bars manager at Soho’s Groucho Club, where she trained up her bar team on the provenance and production of the spirits served in the venue. She also featured on Gardeners’ World making cocktails using fresh herbs.

She was then appointed as El Dorado Rum’s UK brand ambassador, gaining many plaudits for her public speaking and top-notch masterclass hosting skills. Then in 2010, having been named UK Brand Ambassador of the Year at the Golden Rum Barrel Awards, she was asked to join Demerara Distillers to champion the El Dorado brand internationally. She was awarded the title of International Brand Ambassador of the Year in 2012 and spent five years travelling the world spreading the gospel of good rum.

Stef joined Speciality Brands in 2015 as the ambassador for their enviable world whisk(e)y portfolio and rhapsodises about the golden nectar around the country. Whether it be training bartenders, entertaining consumers, pairing whiskies with food or pouring drams to the thirsty masses at shows and events, her explanations of flavour, production and history really help bring her whisk(e)y brands to life. Along with her experience in growing young brands and reputation in the industry, she brings her Scottish heritage and passion for whiskies from all over the world to the fore in her role.

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