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Former Gordon & MacPhail directors recognised in Queen's Honours

Scotch whisky veterans Ian and Michael Urquhart are among leading community figures to have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The brothers, who helped to develop the family-run independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail, were both given the honour of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for their services to the Scotch whisky industry and charitable work in their home region of Moray.

Ian, 74, followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father when he joined Gordon & MacPhail in 1967, and he became its managing director in 1990. He is also president of Johnstons of Elgin, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2021.

Ian said: "It is an honour and a pleasure to receive this award in her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee year.

"I have had the privilege to lead two successful family-owned Moray companies. They are two very different businesses – single malt Scotch whisky and Scottish cashmere – yet they share a commitment to producing the highest-quality iconic products, now exported to over 60 markets throughout the world.

"None of this would have been possible without the support of my family and the wonderful staff at both Johnstons of Elgin and Gordon & MacPhail who I have worked with over the last 50 years."

Ian's brothers David and Michael joined the business in 1972 and 1981 respectively, becoming joint managing directors when Ian retired in 2007. David retired in 2012 and passed away, aged 63, in 2015.

While he has also now retired from the family business, Michael, 67, remains heavily involved in the Scotch whisky industry as chairman of the Scottish Committee of the Worshipful Company of Distillers. He also previously worked with the Keepers of the Quiach and served as chairman of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry in the Highlands and Islands.

Michael said: "I am delighted to receive this honour in such a special year for Her Majesty. I like to think this is not mine alone, but recognises the Urquhart family as a whole and our role in building a grocer's shop in Elgin into a thriving business which exports around the world and is now the owner of two distilleries. Ian and I are only sorry our late brother David is not here to see the family honoured in this way.

"None of this, of course, would have been possible without the support and hard work of our wonderful staff at Gordon & MacPhail over the years. I also have to thank my wife Ailsa and our four children for putting up with my almost non-stop travelling over the years."

6 June 2022 - Bethany Whymark