RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


Spirits retailer wins prestigious scholarship

Independent family-owned distiller, William Grant & Sons has announced that 19 year-old Jerome Marks-Gardener has been awarded its prestigious spirits scholarship, launched to honour the legacy of inspirational industry figure, Ian Murray.

Marks-Gardener, from the West Midlands, developed a passion for whisky while watching his father present whisky tastings in the seventeenth century cellars of his workplace, independent wine merchants, Nickolls & Perks.

His knowledge and enthusiasm for the spirits industry impressed a judging panel comprising of Ian Murray’s colleagues and family members, and Marks-Gardener was selected for the scholarship. As well as having the opportunity to achieve his WSET 1 and 2 qualifications, Marks-Gardener will attend a presentation skills course and visit a William Grant & Sons distillery for an educational tour. 

The Ian Murray scholarship is designed to offer people working in an off-trade spirits retail environment the opportunity to further their knowledge of the spirits category, in particular malt whisky. Jerome Marks-Gardener stood out amongst considerable competition, and following the announcement of his success he commented: “I’m thrilled about winning the Ian Murray scholarship and I can’t thank William Grant & Sons and Ian’s family enough for their decision. Working for my family business, Nickolls & Perks, I have enjoyed learning about the versatility of spirits and the various whiskies that Scotland and the rest of the world has to offer.

“As well as inspiring hundreds of others to delve into the whisky world, Ian Murray has inspired me. His ability to hold the attention of a crowd was exceptional and he is someone I truly wish to emulate. In the future I hope to hold tastings of my own, and through the scholarship I will have the chance to excel in skills that are invaluable to our trade. I can’t wait to dive into this incredible opportunity.”

Kirsten Grant Meikle, fifth generation Grant family member lead the initiative and commented: "Jerome Marks-Gardener is a deserving winner who I know has the passion to take full advantage of this opportunity. Coming from a family business himself, I hope that Jerome will relate to our own family business, and I know Ian Murray would be proud to have such a bright spark following in his footsteps.”

William Grant & Sons launched the annual spirits scholarship in January 2014 to honour much loved former colleague and founder of education and consultancy business, Spirited Solutions, Ian Murray, who passed away in 2013.

7 April 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor