Drew Mayville has more than 35 years of experience with some of the largest companies in the beverage alcohol industry. Drew is currently the Master Blender and Director of Quality for Sazerac. Since joining Buffalo Trace Distillery (owned by Sazerac) in 2004 as Director of Quality, he has taken on additional responsibilities including new product development. He has worked hands on with all the award-winning products produced at Buffalo Trace.
Prior to joining Buffalo Trace, Drew worked for several years at Diageo as Vice President of Blending and Production Planning for North America. The vast breadth of his experience comes from more than 22 years of experience with Seagram’s. While at Seagram’s his progressive experience encompassed all areas of manufacturing, including the Distillery, Quality, Bottling, Packaging QA, Specifications, Blending and Technical Services for North America. Drew was the fourth and final Master Blender to serve under the Seagram dynasty.
Drew is a Senior Member of the American Society for Quality and has been certified as a Quality Engineer since 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
Being a master blender at Buffalo Trace must be a challenging position, is it a role you’ve always wanted ?
Yes, it’s the most challenging and exciting position that I’ve ever had.
Master Blenders sometimes tend to be underestimated over Master Distillers, if the opportunity had arisen, would you have considered working as a Master Distiller ?
Yes, Master Blenders in the bourbon industry are definitely second fiddle to the Master Distiller. I’m just fine with that. In many other countries, it’s exactly the opposite. I have tremendous utmost regard and respect for our Master Distiller, Harlen Wheatley. We work hand in hand to ensure we make the best possible bourbons/whiskies for our customers. Also, if the opportunity had arisen of becoming a Master Distiller earlier in my career, I think I would of chosen the path I’m on now because I always aspired to be the blender.
As a French whisk(e)y enthusiast, I noticed Buffalo Trace is getting more and more popular in France, still at its early stages though, how would you explain its huge popularity in the USA and what make the Buffalo Trace range unique?
The answer is simple…all you need to do is taste our products. Quite frankly, they are simply the best tasting and widest range of whiskies available. It’s just not me saying that. We are the most award winning distillery in the world…
If you had to pick one expression from the range, which one would it be, and why ?
Buffalo Trace. It’s can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, mixed or in a cocktail. It’s the best tasting whiskey on the market.
As a master blender, you must be conducting all sorts of experiments (whether it is in terms of cask selection, blending…) – could you tell us anything about current experiments at BT distillery ?
Let me put it this way. We are trying everything… we let our imagination run wild 😉
More and more innovative micro distilleries are spreading the world, especially in the US, bringing out new products on the market with a huge attention to details. Do you see this trend as a threat or an opportunity ?
We welcome the challenge and embrace it. Our objective is to make better bourbons/whiskies. Micro’s will only advance our objective of making the best whiskies. Most people might not be aware, but we’ve had a micro distillery within our Distillery for over a half dozen years, so maybe they should be worried about us!
What would you say is the best part of your job at Buffalo Trace ?
Everything. Innovation is on the top of the list.
Could you maybe describe a regular day in Drew Mayville’s shoes ?
Tasting, tasting, tasting…
Any upcoming projects in the pipeline ?
Many! We usually don’t discuss these until they’re ready though…
A dream you’d like to achieve as a whiskey enthusiast (not only talking to the master blender here)? Where do you picture yourself in 5 years’ time ?
Happily ever after. Seriously, I’d like to continue to educate people around the world about our bourbons and whiskies
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