Jonathan Driver

London, England

Jonathan Driver has worked in the drinks industry for over 20 years. He started with United Distillers in 1989 and continued working in the company after the creation of Diageo in 1997 until 2006. Initially working out of the Global Marketing Department he had experience working on the company’s Scotch Brands, in particular Johnnie Walker, Gin, Rum, Bourbon, Cachaca and other new business development roles. This work took him to every major market for the company and he possesses an extensive global perspective across the Premium Drinks market worldwide.

In addition he worked in Scotland to help develop a greater understanding of the Johnnie Walker blends. He built many of the education and training programmes that are used today: the Johnnie Walker Journey, Mentor Programme and the Diageo Malt Advocates course were examples of his educational work. In 1997 at the time of the Diageo merger he was Malt Director overseeing the company’s Single Malt Whisky business, developing and promoting the Classic Malts, Cardhu and the company’s Super Premium Single Malts range.

After leaving Diageo in 2006, he has become a Global Consultant for the Drinks Industry working again across a wide spectrum of projects for drinks companies: developing new products, building luxury marketing capabilities, new commercial strategies and educational programmes for Johnnie Walker, Compass Box Artisanal Whiskies amongst others. However, also since leaving Diageo he has followed a new interest in sake. Having read Japanese History at the London School of Oriental and African Studies and living and working in Japan early in his career, he was always interested in the sake opportunity.

Hearing of John Gauntner’s Sake Professional Certificate courses he came to Japan in 2008 and 2009 to take both courses and passed with distinction. He is now providing advice and assistance to a number of new sake companies in several markets. The Sake Education Council work will leverage his extensive commercial and educational experience with the global perspective of his time with Diageo. Prior to joining Diageo, he worked for Garrard & Co, the Crown Jewellers of Great Britain, working in their Marketing Department and on Special Commissions.

His interests are in Classic Cars, Cooking, Fishing and collecting antiquarian books on the drinks industry.