William Grant & Sons has announced the sixth recipient of the Ian Murray Spirited Solutions Scholarship.

Kat Keough-Jack, from The Whisky Shop Dufftown, will take part in a 12-month programme, receiving WSET Level 2 training, an educational visit to a William Grant & Sons distillery and a presentation skills course.

The Ian Murray Spirited Soutions Scholarship is open to off-trade spirits retailers in the UK between 18 and 30 years old. It offers the winners the chance to further their knowledge of the spirits industry, with a particular focus on malt whisky.

Keough-Jack began her career as sales assistant, joining the Whisky Shop at just 18 years old. She is now also the company’s social media manager, running the store’s online accounts on Facebook, Intagram and Twitter.

Keough-Jack said: “William Grant & Sons contacted us with the news and I burst out crying, I was so happy to have been selected. I am really excited to get started with the scholarship and can’t wait to expand my knowledge and gain more valuable experience on the drinks industry, something I have been passionate about for the last five years.”

“I hope to use the award to host whisky tastings in and around Dufftown, and I’m really looking forward to visiting the William Grant & Sons distillery.”

Mike Lord, owner of The Whisky Shop Dufftown, said; “Kat’s growth and drive to learn about the whisky business has allowed me to steadily and successfully increase her responsibilities, leading to her role as Social Media Manager. This scholarship from William Grant & Sons is a wonderful opportunity for her to continue that growth.

“Since taking the role of Social Media Manager she’s helped to increase our online presence through fantastic customer interaction and knowledge. Kat is comfortable giving advice to new whisky drinkers and as well as to connoisseurs, both online and in person. We’re all very proud and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her.”

The scholarship is awarded annually, with ten shortlisted applicants selected by Ian Murray’s colleagues and members of the Grant family. The final winner is then selected by Ian Murray’s own family.

Great-great-granddaughter of founder William Grant, Kirsten Grant Meikle said; “We are delighted to award the 2019 Ian Murray Scholarship to Kat Keough. There were a number of applicants who were well-deserving, but in the end, Kat was the standout candidate. We congratulate her and wish Kat the best of luck in her continued career in whisky.”