Spirits Communicator 2020 shortlist: Neil Ridley

Spirit news

Mon 9 Nov 2020

By Pip Mortimer

The IWSC Spirits Communicator 2020 – sponsored by Chivas Brothers – recognises the individual or team who has best been able to engage with consumers to promote the world of spirits via both traditional media and new and unusual vehicles. The award recognises someone who connected strongly with consumers in 2019, adapted to the new normal of 2020, and has compelling plans going forward into 2021. We are profiling each of the shortlisted candidates...

Neil Ridley has been a leading drinks communicator since 2007, when he launched caskstrength with his business partner, Joel Harrison. One of the first to bring a fresh, youthful and contemporary feel to the world of spirits communication, he is at the forefront in providing expertise and innovation in the world of alcoholic drinks.

A regular on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, ITV’s Alan Titchmarsh Show and BBC News 24, he also writes for both the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. In 2019 he co-authored and launched The World Atlas of Gin, following on from Distilled: A Guide to the world best Spirits and The World of Whisky.  

A regular host at many spirit and consumer festivals, he moved his work online during lockdown, hosting tastings and seminars for the likes of The Telegraph, Bushmills and other global spirit brands and continually updating their Instagram site WorldsBestSpirits.

“The last six months have made me dig deeper than ever before: when you are pushed outside your comfort zone, you have to adapt your communication skills accordingly and the challenge has been really refreshing and rewarding.

“To win this award would mean absolutely everything to me. The business needs strong, passionate communicators to champion the wealth of talent in the industry: from established brands to smaller independent craftspeople. To lend a hand mentoring those new to the industry under the banner of IWSC Spirits Communicator of The Year would be a genuine privilege. I would also use my voice to further highlight the importance of breaking down prejudice in the industry, helping to pave the way for a brighter, more open and transparent place to work and to learn - for anyone who wants to join it.”

View the other nominees