The 25th Annual NB Spirits Festival
Guest Bios
Guest Bios

This is our 2019 event information. We will leave it online for now to give you an idea of what our event looks likes. We will be posting 2022 information once the event details are confirmed.

Mike Brisebois
Mike Brisebois
North American Brand Ambassador - Distell

Mike's passion for whisky began a little more than ten years ago when he tasted that first drop of single malt whisky. The flavors locked inside that special bottle caught his attention! It all flourished from there. Mike began his whisky journey, venturing full ahead into all aspects of history locked within this traditional spirit. Seen as a source of timeless knowledge by the vibrant members of Canada's whisky community.

Mike founded a whisky club, was a Judge for the Canadian Whisky Awards and after numerous tasting he found his calling as a Scotch whisky brand ambassador.

A little over four years ago he had his first taste of Bunnahabhain. The explosion of flavors sparked his curiosity for the iconic helmsman and the brand. In true explorer fashion he set out on his latest whisky adventure! Today, Mike travels Canada from coast to coast spreading his love and passion for Bunnahabhain, Deanston and the treasure trove of Tobermory whiskies.

Stuart Brown
Stuart Brown
Diageo Brand Ambassador

Stuart Brown was trained in Scotland over 12 years ago by Master Distillers and Master Blenders at the famed Cardhu Distillery, in Speyside, for Johnnie Walker and the Classic Malts.

He has toured the country from coast to coast mentoring private functions as well as countless consumer events for thousands of Scotch and Whisky enthusiasts.

Stuart has also been part of the Master Class Program at Whisky Live and The Spirit of Toronto.

Stuart is considered to be amongst the most engaging Whisky presenters in the country delivering his events with a passion for the spirit unequalled by others.

Ray Daniel
Ray Daniel
Beam Suntory Bourbon Ambassador

Ray Daniel brings with him nearly two decades of experience behind the bar, from Europe to North American where he is currently the Beam Suntory Bourbon Ambassador to Canada.

Hailing from Ireland, he has a huge and broad range of knowledge of whiskey, and the bourbon category in particular. With a long background in competitive bartending, Ray's escapades have landed him in competitions and as a guest speaker and lecturer throughout Canada, Mexico and the USA and appearing in publications such as Whisky Magazine and The New York Times.

Jam packed with passion, humour and a massive respect for the history of Whiskey, Rays presentations have become a much sought-after affair.

Tim Farrell
Tim Farrell
Country Manager - Heaven Hill

Tim manages Heaven Hill's wide portfolio of bourbons and other spirits across Canada. He has more than a decade of experience in the Canadian spirits industry, mostly in marketing roles, across almost all categories. He's happy to admit, however, that he's most passionate talking about - and tasting - whiskey.

Based in Toronto, Tim takes pride in sharing Heaven Hill Distillery's storied history north of the border. His drink of choice? Elijah Craig Small Batch on the rocks.

Scott Fraser
Scott Fraser
Regional Sales Manager - The Tomatin Distillery

Scott Fraser is a Regional Sales Manager for the Tomatin Distillery Company Limited. Scott is responsible for Southern Europe, Africa and the Americas. This varied role sees him travel all across the world promoting Tomatin Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Canada is one of his favourite countries to visit as he says "The people in Canada very much remind me of the people in Scotland." He also very much remains personally connected to several influential whisky customers and consumers within Canada.

Having worked in the industry for nearly ten years, Scott has worked on both the production and Sales and Marketing sides of the business. This invaluable experience has allowed him to understand the complexities of distilling with a passion for promoting quality Scotch whisky.

If he is not promoting whisky then he is likely to be found on the golf course or on the family farm in the Highlands of Scotland. He has travelled the world but his heart will always be in the Highlands.

Mark Gillespie
Mark Gillespie
Founder & Host - Whiskycast

Host of WhiskyCast. Journalist, podcaster, photographer, & writer.

WhiskyCast began in 2005, and has become one of podcasting's longest-running shows, along with a global online whisky community. In addition to the weekly podcast, Mark also hosts the monthly WhiskyCast Tasting Panel podcast and WhiskyCast HD video segments.

Mark was previously a contributing editor to Whisky Magazone and is also a veteran broadcast and electronic journalist, having worked directly or as a freelancer for Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, The Gallup Organization, MSNBC, and several television and radio stations.

Tish Harcus
Tish Harcus
Brand Ambassador - Canadian Club

Tish is responsible for managing the Canadian Club Brand Center in Walkerville, Ontario, and attends whisky shows in Canada and the US to share her love of the portfolio. With over 27 years of experience representing the brand, she is a key member of the Global CC marketing team.

In March 2014 she accepted two awards in London, England for 2013/14 Whisky Center Manager of the Year from the prestigious Icons of Whisky Association.

In 2013 Tish developed the CC Women & Whisky program for women who are interested in knowing more or discovering whisky for the first time. Since its inception, she has traveled the world sharing her knowledge with women.

Tish takes great pride in sharing Canadian Club's historical facts with key sales people, distributors and the general public.

Elizabeth Havers
Elizabeth Havers
Brand Ambassador - Glenfiddich

Over the past 15 years Elizabeth Havers has immersed herself in the world of whisky. Today, she champions trade and consumer education and advocacy for all William Grant & Sons Whisky products throughout Canada. Until recently, Elizabeth was the sole female single malt whisky ambassador in Canada, and one of very few in the world.

Beth first fell in love with Whisky while living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Since then she has spent the past 14 years working in the Beverage Alcohol Industry, increasing her knowledge and passion in all things Whisky. Beth has spent time working in Dufftown, at the William Grant & Sons distilleries.

Prior to joining the William Grant & Sons team, Beth most recently held sales, marketing and brand specialist positions at Diageo. She is a graduate of The University of Guelph and has completed her Wine and Spirits Education through The International Sommelier Guild. Most recently, Elizabeth Havers was honoured with the Icon of Whisky Rest of World 2016 Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year Award in Whisky Magazine.

Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
Brand Ambassador - The Balvenie

Jamie's love of whisky began many years ago when she made an impulsive visit to a distillery in Kentucky in the middle of a road trip. She's been enchanted ever since.

In 2014 she began offering casual, fun and approachable whisky tastings in her home. The tastings were so popular, she was forced to expand beyond her Toronto living room - and she began partnering with some of the city's most popular bars and restaurants to host monthly tastings. Her whisky club, Bourbon Thing continued to grow rapidly and provide a space for whisky aficionados and neophytes alike to enjoy a dram, a laugh and some whisky education together.

Jamie is also co-hosts of a pupular weekly whisky podcast, The Whisky Topic with whisky author Mark Bylok.

Jamie joined The Balvenie family as Canadian Brand Ambassador in January of 2017.

You can find her on tweeting and instagramming at @bourbonthing.

Davin Kergommeaux
Davin de Kergommeaux

Davin de Kergommeaux has been writing about, talking about, and teaching about whisky for two decades. In 2016 The Globe and Mail named him one of the most influential Canadians in Food and Drink.

His new book, Canadian Whisky: The New Portable Edition, second edition, was published on October 3, 2017, on the Appetite by Random House imprint.

Davin is the founder and chairperson of the Canadian Whisky Awards, and publishes comprehensive notes about Canadian whiskies on canadianwhisky.org. He lives in Canada and writes full time.

Find him on social media @Davindek.

Zachary Kvas
Zachary Kvas
Wayne Gretzky Estates

When you saddle up to The Whisky Bar at Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery, be prepared for the cocktail that Zac Kvas and his team creates for you to taste unlike anything you've ever sipped before.

Before joining the Wayne Gretzky Estates team, Zac was a mixologist at one of Canada's most buzzed about farm-to-table restaurants. He also spent time working in the vineyards and barrel cellar of a Niagara-on-the-Lake winery. Those experiences created a respect and passion for local Niagara ingredients that elevates his wine and whisky cocktails to a whole new level.

Guillaume Lamy
Guillaume Lamy
Vice President, Americas - Cognac Ferrand

Guillaume Lamy is the Vice President The Americas for Cognac Ferrand, the father of artisanal spirits based in Ars, France. He has been with the company for over 15 year and is responsible for sales, marketing and consumer education for the Cognac Ferrand brands in North and South America including: Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Citadelle Gin, Mathilde Liqueurs, Plantation Rums, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, Cerbois Armagnac and Daron Calvados. He was born and raised in France and did his higher studies in both France and the U.S. Mr. Lamy began working for Cognac Ferrand in France and then transferred to the U.S.

He travels to Cognac every year to work with the Alexandre Gabriel, proprietor of Cognac Ferrand, and the distillery's Cellar Master to develop new blends and decide when to release new products and vintages in the Americas. Mr. Lamy has extensive knowledge of spirits and has conducted seminars on Cognac and other French regional spirits as a guest lecturer at Boston University and Fairleigh Dickenson University. He has spread his spirits knowledge as a speaker on industry panel discussions around the country and has served as a spirits judge for many organizations, including the American Distilling Institute (ADI).

Darragh McArdle
Darragh McArdle
Jameson Brand Ambassador - Eastern Canada

Originally hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Darragh recently took up the role of Jameson Brand Ambassador for Eastern Canada in September 2019 after having previously serving as the Jameson Brand Ambassador in Paris, France.

Darragh has a depth of knowledge on Whiskey from grain to glass and has had the privilege of being trained by all three Masters at the renowned Midleton distillery, including Master Blender Billy Leighton. This allowed him to play a significant role in promoting the wider Irish Distillers Whiskey portfolio at Whiskey fairs across France, most notably at Whisky Live Paris and Lyon Whisky Festival. His work in France culminated in his nomination for Most Influential Brand Ambassador in 2019 by Cocktail Spirits France. Darragh has the ability to engage a range of consumers both adorers and those new to Whiskey. He is also known for sharing his passion for spirits and helping others to appreciate the history, heritage and unique production process of Irish Whiskey.

Having lived in Canada previously as an exchange student in Montreal, Darragh is delighted to be back once again, this time spreading the love for one of the world's most famous Irish Whiskeys.

Johanne McInnis
Johanne McInnis

Freelance spirits writer, whisky panelist and judge with over 25 years experience as a public speaker.

Armed with an educational background in distillation she regularly travels the world and presents master classes in the UK well as North America.

Passionate, enthusiastic and entertaining; Johanne loves to share her stories, knowledge base and help others on their own spirits discovery journey.

Mike McLean
Mike McLean
Program Coordinator and Lead Trainer - Mixxit Canada by Beam Suntory

Mike McLean is the Program Coordinator and Lead Trainer for Mixxit Canada by Beam Suntory. In this role, Mike represents the full range of Beam Suntory brands at training session, trade shows, industry events, bartending competitions and mixology competitions across Canada.

Based near Toronto, Mike is a veteran of the hospitality industry with almost twenty-five years of experience to his credit. In addition to his involvement with Mixxit Canada, Mike is also the owner of Flairco Event Services and Vice President of the Flair Bartenders' Association.

Cameron Millar
Cameron Millar
Portfolio Ambassador - Edrington

After a brief discussion with Cameron, two things become evident: first, is his fiery passion for whisky, and the second is his gift for the gab, always willing to chat with anyone at length about his favourite spirit; the water of life, whisky. After beginning a career in the marketing world, Cameron attended a Raise The Macallan event in his home town of Toronto and has been enamored with the Highland sweetheart ever since. Seeking out knowledge and becoming a resource for friends and family, Cameron transitioned into a full-time whisky ambassador.

Now a certified Scotch Whisky Ambassador, Cameron is honoured to represent the Edrington Portfolio that includes such award winnings spirits as The Macallan, Highland Park, The Glenrothes, The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and Brugal Rum.

James Neil
James Neil
World Whisky Ambassador - Mixxit Canada by Beam Suntory

James Neil has spent 10+ years working as an independent restaurant consultant across Canada. In 2009 he followed his passion and opened his own restaurant, diving into the world of Italian wine and craft cocktails. It wasn't long after that when he was introduced to the World of Whisky and the fire was burning.

As a fan of the Beam Suntory portfolio, James had a desire to work with the organization and started doing so for 7 years with the Mixxit Canada team as a lead product specialist dedicated to brand education with Beam Suntory associates and customers. Stepping in the role as a Brand Ambassador for over 50+ events he felt it was time to join the organization in a permanent role.

James is also the founder of the Hamilton Cocktail Showcase which is a local platform for bartenders to showcase their craft featuring Beam Suntory brands while giving back to local charities. In 2017 James started into a sales role with the Beam family and now has most recently moved into the role of World Whisky Ambassador which allows him to share his knowledge and passion.

Martine Nouet
Martine Nouet

Martine is one of the world's leading whisky writers and a specialist on the pairing of whisky and food, Martine particularly enjoys writing about (and of course enjoying) Scotch Whisky. A regular contributor to Whisky Magazine, she launched the Whisky Magazine French edition in 2004 and continues to provide her perspective and tasting notes on spirits from around the world.

She hosts whisky dinners in France and in Scotland and is a judge at the annual International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. She is also the author of "Les Routes du Malt". In France, Martine is known as La reine de l'Alambic (The Queen of the Still!), and she was "The whisky chef" on singlemalt TV, a webTV channel dedicated to whisky.

Martine Nouet travelled the whisky trails intensely in 2009 with French Canadian film maker Bruno Carrière who produced a fourteen hour program on whisky for Evasion channel, "Passion Whisky".

Martine was born in Normandy and now makes Islay her home. We're honoured to have her back as our special guest for another special year.

Frank Scott
Frank Scott
Founder & Chairman, New Brunswick Spirits Festival

Whenever Frank Scott pours a single malt into a glass, a look of satisfaction and contentment crosses his face. No wonder. As one of Canada's most respected Scotch connoisseurs, he's passionate about whisky.

Frank co-owns and manages the Lunar Rogue, an award-winning pub in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. With more than 500 whiskies on the gantry - one of the best selections in North America - the "Rogue" is a favourite destination for whisky lovers. Whisky Magazine calls it one of the "great whisky bars of the world".

Born in Fredericton, Frank's 39-year career as a publican began in 1976 when he opened his first pub. Ten years later, he developed an interest in Scotch whisky, and, ever since, has devoted himself to expanding and sharing his knowledge about how it's produced. Since 1992, he's hosted many whisky seminars and tastings for corporate groups and charitable events.

Frank is a member and past president of the Whisky Tasting Society of New Brunswick. He has toured more than 70 distilleries and each year attends the Spirit of Speyside Festival, which named him International Ambassador during the 2014. In 2016, he was inducted as a Keeper of the Quaich.

Bryan Simpson
Bryan Simpson
National Brand Ambassador for Ardbeg & Glenmorangie

Bryan Simpson has been a part of the Scotch Whisky community for over a decade, both in his native Scotland and his new home of Canada. Born in Glasgow, but now living in Toronto, he has ignited thousands of Canadians' passion for Single Malt before being appointed Canadian Brand Ambassador for Ardbeg and Glenmorangie

Back in Scotland, Bryan combined his love for the Highlands with his whisky tasting zeal and formed a whisky club that experienced Scotch in the heart of Scotland's wilds. His well-honed palate was developed pairing whisky drinkers with their perfect dram where he gained a reputation of hosting engaging presentations to both those new to Scotch and experienced malt enthusiasts.

Bryan's obsession with Ardbeg and Glenmorangie is not just what's in the glass, but the history of both brands and how it ties to Scotch Whisky as a whole. His interest in the scientific aspects of Scotch making is clear, but just as important to him is the social world that exists around his favourite drink and how it brings people together.

Bill Somerville
Bill Somerville
Canadian Brand Ambassador for Benromach and Gordon & MacPhail

Born in Scotland, Bill Somerville is the Canadian Brand Ambassador for Benromach and Gordon & MacPhail. Bill has an extremely varied background which has taken him all around the world and armed him many stories to tell. He is, for all intents and purposes the penultimate "international man of mystery"". Bill recently retired from SNC-Lavalin and now represents G&M and Benromach throughout Canada, this is all on top of many other professional and leisurely duties.

Gordon & Macphail is located in the North East of Scotland and are known for their unique process of purchasing spirit from distilleries throughout Scotland and maturing in their own casks. Today Gordon & MacPhail boast an impressive portfolio which include the world's oldest bottled single malts.

Benromach is a small distillery in Speyside focussed on tradition and quality above everything else. The distillery operates manually and relies heavily on the skill of their stillman. Producing a classic style of Speyside single malt and ensuring only the best quality 1st fill casks are used for maturation are of utmost importance.

Gregor Stirling
Gregor Stirling
Brand Ambassador - International Beverages

Originally from Scotland, avid whisky collector and drinks expert Gregor Stirling recently joined International Beverage as a Brand Ambassador, having most recently spent nearly three years working with a leading international Scotch Whisky brand in Warsaw, Poland.

His time on the Continent was spent developing and running whisky and bartending training, allowing him to spread his passion for the whisky category to one of Europe's most burgeoning whisky markets. Gregor took his unique bartending programs to more than 20 cities, building a great following and culminating with the development of one of the most popular cocktail competitions in the country.

Now back home in Scotland, but travelling internationally, Gregor is delighted to be working with the multi- award-winning International Beverage portfolio of brands, including some of the most revered single malt and blended Scotch whiskies as well as fine gin and rum. A charismatic and knowledgeable trainer and presenter, Gregor is on a mission to make super-premium spirits approachable and comprehensible, bringing them ever-closer to professionals and discerning drinkers alike.

Sharon Sue-Hang
Sharon Sue-Hang
Master Blender - El Dorado Rums

Sharon Sue-Hang is the Master Blender for El Dorado rums and has more than 20 years experience in the industry. She started in the Quality Assurance Department and held many positions in the company including Quality Assurance Manager, Quality Assurance Director and now Technical Services Director and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and a MSc in Business Management.

Even though she has a background in the sciences, Sharon insists that blending "is more of a fine art than a science" and explains that the magic she creates comes from blending over 300 years of tradition with science. She works with some on the most unique stills to create some of the world's best rums. Talk to her about her role as the Master Blender of DDL and this is where her passion is clear.

She has an acute sense of smell, honed by over two decades of training, and a memory of dates and rum notes. Sharon values her role as the gatekeeper of the El Dorado rum tradition.

Chris Thompson
Chris Thompson
Brand Ambassador - Forty Creek Whisky

Falling in love with whisky at first sip, Chris Thompson aspires to share the Forty Creek story with whisky fans everywhere. With an extensive background in relationship building and creating brand experiences, his current role allows him to develop partnerships with key influencers and consumers, all the while sharing his love for the Grimsby, Ontario-based brand known for its range of complex, yet approachable whiskies.

Thompson has been an active member of the Forty Creek team, and played a key role in creating the distillery's on-site experience. Starting as a retail manager, he gained a rich understanding of the brand's offerings and was eager to share his passion for the Forty Creek portfolio with colleagues and customers.

Prior to joining Forty Creek, Thompson began his career in the entertainment industry, working on the road with Canadian and international artists, producing award shows, music festivals and corporate events. Living in Niagara, the heart of Ontario's wine country, he landed in the tourism and wine industry, helping build award-winning attractions and wineries from the ground up. When he's not working, an ideal day for Thompson entails putting on a record (yes, vinyl one!), spending time with family and enjoying a glass of Forty Creek.

Mindy Trail
Mindy Trail
Sous Chef - Delta Hotels by Marriott Fredericton.

Known for her "farm to table" dishes, Mindy is from Hainesville NB and has had a lifelong passion for cooking. She is inspired by local farmers and is dedicated to sourcing the best seasonal ingredients in New Brunswick.

Mindy gained an extensive knowledge of Canadian cuisine, by studying at the Culinary Institute of Canada. After completing her studies, she began working in kitchens all across Canada, including the Rocky Mountain Resorts, and even a stint at the Schiff Restaurant Wilhelm Tell in Switzerland. Chef Trail finally took up residency with the Delta Fredericton in 2005. During her time with the Delta Fredericton, Mindy has been a credited author of the Interprovincial Red Seal Exam, and currently sits on the NB Apprenticeship Board for the Cook Trade, as well as being an active member of the task force that created the Atlantic Coalition for the Cook Trade.

What Mindy loves best is enjoying her hobbies of hunting, fishing, and spending time on her side by side with her husband Darren and pug Shockey. Chef Trail's Favorite Scotch Whisky is Macallan Ruby; but she also has a fondness for Redbreast Irish Whiskey.