Jol On Jan


Today is the last day in the office for Jan Scannell (below), CEO of Distell. He’s paid up until the end of the year, but the moment Richard Rushton, golden boy of SA Breweries, walks in the door at Aan de Wagenweg, Jan is up and out. Let’s hope they at last get a chance to meet! For Dick needs to thank his predecessor, something there’s not been too much of, of late (at least in public), before he gets down to sorting out a cider distribution deal with SAB.

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Jan’s biggest achievement was the creation of Distell over a decade ago, out of two distinct cultures, when Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery was bolted on to Distillers Corporation. A shotgun wedding of wine and brandy. And how ironic for Jan that his greatest success came from Whisky through the inspired purchase of Burn Stewart at the bottom of the market and support for Andy Watts at Three Ships in Wellington who must now buy more barrels than SA wine put together.

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Jan is a man with exquisite timing. His purchase of Bisquit Cognac was uncanny and this is a low hanging fruit for Dick to pick. I think the only time I freaked him out was when I mentioned that I never drink brandy. This said to the man who invented the Brandy Guild. Well times have changed and over a few tots of Richelieu Cognac XO and Jean Grosperrin XO last night with Dean from Delos and artists Chris and Luan (above), we all agreed Richelieu is the Best Cognac in the World. The cardinal must be best pleased with Jan.