WE are The BEN!
The Chief Executive,
Chris provides administrative support for the BEN beneficiaries, records of visits and payments together with organising the biggest events in the licensed trade.
She is also solely responsible for the management of the charity and the annual accounts.
Chris has worked for the BEN for 34 years and if you call the office, she is the one who answers the phone.. The advantage of having just one person in the office is that applications for assistance get actioned immediately, as speed is essential when dealing with desperate situations.
Appointed AGM 2021 - Dark Art Drinks
Fraser McIlwraith is a bars and drinks specialist with 24 years experience in hospitality. His rise from glass collector in Vodka Wodka Paisley to his current role as company director was developed by working for key companies such as Caledonian Heritable, Mark Warner, Hilton Hotels, Buzzworks Holdings, G1 Group and DRG.
From early on in his career, he was taught the importance of giving back. From on the job coaching and training, to charity work which benefits the communities around the workplace.
Fraser runs Dark Art Drinks a specialist liquor purchasing consultancy, Vodka Wodka Ashton Lane party bar, Glasgow Cocktail Collective cocktail delivery service, HOSPO recruitment a hospitality recruitment agency. Dark Art Drinks also produces and wholesales cocktails such as Panther Milk for
on and off trade.
Fraser is a family man and loves cooking and spending time with his wife and two girls. He runs, cycles and works out most days
Appointed AGM 2020 - Inverarity Morton
Steve has worked in the drinks industry for over 20 years. Following University he worked on the & "other side"; of the bar before taking his first sales role in the industry with Anheuser-Busch as a
Territory Sales Manager covering the North of Scotland. He moved to Tennent’s in 2007 as a Key Account Manager progressing through the ranks to Sales Director for the on-trade. In 2011, with C & C Group’s acquisition of Tennent Caledonian Breweries he was appointed Commercial Manager Director and, after a period of 18 months, was appointed Head of on-trade
sales, UK, for sister brand Magners. In 2015 he left to start up his own drinks consultancy business, Glasshouse Drinks Ltd. Steve joined Inverarity Morton in March 2017 as Sales Director.
He is married with two children and as a keen golfer and supporter of the Ben and hasn’t missed a Ben golf day in 20 years ! Throughout his career in the trade he has covered every area of Scotland and as such is a
strong advocate for the role hospitality plays in our communities.
As a consequence he is passionate about the work of the Ben and ensuring the charity is able to step in and help when people need us
Appointed AGM 2022 – Diageo G.B.
Alan Cant is currently Diageo’s commercial sales manager in Scotland. Pubs and bars have always been at the heart of communities across Scotland, but like so many things in life that we take for granted, lockdown has brought home just how much our locals really mean to us and how we have to support the needy of our trade who have fallen on hard times.
Whether you own or work in a pub, if you’re a supplier, or if you’re a customer, the drinks and hospitality industry touches on the lives of virtually everyone in the community. It sustains tens of thousands of jobs and provides a welcoming environment for people to get together and to celebrate life with their friends and family.
I very much look forward to assisting
The BEN and helping to spread the word of the great work that
they do for our trade.
Appointed AGM 2020 - Molson Coors
Ali Johnstone is currently Regional Account Manager for Molson Coors Brewing Company in Scotland primarily looking after the Belhaven Brewery account. Ali has worked in a variety of roles in the
licensed trade with Molson Coors including Regional Sales Manager, Commercial Excellence Manager and Field Sales Executive.
Ali has had variety of roles in her career, working in pubs and clubs whilst selling holidays then running 25 Going Places/First Choice retail travel stores in her 20’s. Working for Buzzworks Group and then managing a sales team for Coca Cola in her 30’s. She believes this has given her a true understanding of customers’ needs and what it takes to run a successful business.
Ali is married with two grown up children Ellie and Ben and loves travelling and making the most of life, she is a keen fundraiser and team player at work, and looking forward to making a difference as a Trustee of the Ben
Appointed AGM 2021 - Signature Group
Euan has worked in the licensed trade in Scotland since 1990 in various operational and project roles. Most notably Operations Director at Belhaven. Since then, he has owned and operated a number of bars, restaurants and a hotel. He currently is part of the senior team at The Signature Group and heads up the Cold Town Brewery at Scot Brew.
Euan also volunteers with Equip Mentoring, a program that delivers mentoring for young people aged 15-18 in Clackmannan through the Mentoring Matters program. He has also worked on a number of projects with Springboard to encourage people of all ages to consider the licensed trade as a career. Euan comments “The industry has been a great friend and motivator to me over many years. It has given me the opportunity to travel the world and meet some fascinating individuals. It has played a significant part in my development as an individual and it is now time for me to repay the debt. I look forward to making a positive contribution to peoples’ lives through the Ben’s charitable work
Appointed AGM 2020 – Tennent Caledonian Breweries
George Kyle, head of sponsorship for Magners has a great knowledge of the drinks and hospitality sector and has been involved in several schemes in which Magners have headed to assist the employees of our trade. The Magners Employability programme has now helped close to 40 participants gain employment in the hospitality sector or move into further education since it began n 2015
George is very much looking forward to continuing the work he has headed for Magners and integrate with the BEN in order to further the help that we can provide to those in need within our industry.
Appointed 2020 - Paramount Creative UK
“Delighted to be given the opportunity as President for this amazing charity. Having worked in the hospitality industry for the past 21 years,
I feel it’s time to give a bit back especially during these very
difficult times. At this time everyone’s help and support is essential in order for our grants to continue to reach the most in need”
AGM Appointed 2022 - The Metropolitan
Iain is co-owner of one Glasgow city’s trendiest bars, The Metropolitan. He has a wealth of experience in the trade and has fresh and innovative ideas to help spread the word of the BEN.
Iain is keen to organise a range of fundraising events and activities with the managers of bars and restaurants throughout Scotland to spread the word of the BEN to filter out to their teams and how we can assist them from one off financial grants to mental health support.
AGM Appointed 2021 - Heineken U.K.
Jason has been involved in the trade for over 25 years, and is currently the On Trade Sales Director for Heineken’s business in Scotland.
After starting work with the Scottish Licensed Trade News in his early career , Jason moved to London with Sky resulting in him heading up the sales function of Sky business in the early 2000s. After a few years away from the trade to take a job pairing business leadership with one of his passions. skiing, Jason returned to Scotland 14 years ago and joined S & N which later became Heineken. Having been aware of the Ben for most of his working life and attending his first Ben dinner over 25 years ago, Jason is delighted to be in a position to help continue the great work done by our predecessors in promoting and supporting the work of the
AGM Appointed 2021 - Adelphi Distillery
Jenny has been extremely active in her role to spread the word and fundraise for the BEN. The Ardnamurchan Sales and Marketing team undertook a 180 mile, 11 day walk through some of
Scotland’s most breath-taking (quite literally in this case!) locations, from their bottling warehouse in Fife to the Ardnamurchan Distillery in the Western Highlands.
Jenny is an active member of the board and is keen to organize further fundraising events in order to
assist the people of the drinks and hospitality industry in Scotland who have fallen on hard times.
Appointed 2018 -Edrington U.K.
I have worked in the industry for over 25 years all of which I have covered Scotland Region within the remit, which is nice given I am from and live in Scotland. I have spent 23 years with Diageo and the last 5 years with Edrington UK, my career has mainly been working in Commercial or Sales functions which has given me the opportunity to stay close to the operators and suppliers that service our amazing industry.
I have been a Director of the Ben since April 2018 and was elected to Vice President in 2020, these positions are some of the most important roles I have had in my career, the nature of the industry
does unfortunately see lots of people needing support in many ways.
My role is to endeavours to evolve the charity to meet the needs of the industry today and in the future, as well as raise awareness and help as many people as possibly feasible.
I am forever grateful for the career I have enjoyed in this industry and its important that I can give
Appointed AGM 2020 - Pernod Ricard
Mike has 17 years experience in the drinks industry, 7 with Scottish & Newcastle/Heineken and a further 10 with Pernod Ricard UK, working in a range of marketing, category and commercial roles.
His most recent role is that of Regional Business Manager in Scotland, Tyne Tees and Yorkshire, where he looks after the Field Sales team in both the on and off trade market. This is his second year with the Ben and an important one given these uncertain Covid 19 times, which are presenting us all
with huge challenges. This is a great industry to be involved in, he is thankful for all experiences here, but it needs real support at this time and he is very keen to be able to give something back.
Appointed AGM 2015 - TLT Solicitors
Stephen McGowan is a licensing solicitor at TLT LLP and represents a large number of licensed businesses across Scotland. He joined the board of the Ben in 2015 and is a Past President, having
served in that role from 2018 to 2020
Appointed AGM 2021 - Caledonian Heritable
Paul has been working in the hospitality industry for 26 years. After graduating with a BA in Communication he took a stop gap part time role as a barman, waiter and KP. The buzz and energy of the industry struck a chord and he has never looked back since.
Working through various management roles at Caledonian Heritable Ltd, he has worked as a Trainee, Assistant, General Manager, Events Managers, Multi Site Manager, Area Manager for CHL’s YPV venues and has been the group’s Procurement Manager for the past six years. He is still heavily involved in all aspects of operations within the company’s managed estate.
Over the course of his career Paul has been a proud supporter of the Ben and a regular attendee at their annual events. Paul is both humbled and delighted to be joining the BEN as a Director and hopes his knowledge and experience of the hospitality industry can bring real value to the charity
and more importantly to those who rely upon it.
Appointed AGM 2017
Paul Waterson has worked in his family’s long established licensed trade business for over 50 years.
During that time he has run the family’s Pub and Hotel Estate as well as Nightclubs, Off Sales and a Wholesale Wine, Spirits and Beer Company.
He has been a member of The Scottish Licensed Trade Association for more than 40 years. He was elected National President of The S.L.T.A. in 1996 and in 1998 he was re-elected for an unprecedented third term.
He is a Past President of the Strathclyde Licensed Trade Association and a Past Chairman of the United Kingdom and Ireland L.T.A.
In 2002 Paul Waterson became the first Chief Executive of The SLTA in its 138 year history. He stood down in 2018 but continues to be The Association’s media spokesman.
He is a Past President of the Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland; Past Visitor (Chairman) of the Incorporation of Maltmen in Glasgow; he is a past Director and Executive Committee Member of Alcohol Focus Scotland, Scotland’s National Alcohol Charity. Paul has sat on a number of committees at the Scottish Parliament looking at licensed trade issues
including, The Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership, The Ministerial Tobacco Control Committee and The Age Restricted Products Group; Paul was a member of the Expert Reference Group which looked into the White Paper on Licensing Reform before the new Licensing Act in 2005.
He is on the Executive Committee and Board of the Best Bar None Scheme and in 2014 was asked to sit on the VisitScotland Thistle Awards Industry Panel. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Industry Achievement Award by The Scottish Licensed Trade News at a ceremony in Glasgow.
He became a Director of The Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland in 1992, was elected President in 2010 and in 2017 was very proud to be invited to become The Patron of the BEN.
Paul is a current member of The East Kilbride Licensing forum and sits on The Scottish Alcohol
Industry Partnership and he continues to run the family business.
Our ambassadors are a vital element of our charity. Not only do they help promote and spread the word of The BEN and the fantastic work that we do, they also pay regular visits to many of our beneficiaries to assist with their heal and wellbeing and offer a friendly face to have a chat with and voice any issues or help that each beneficiary may require. --
Sandra Millar has worked in and around the licensed trade for nearly 40 years; through her late husband Gordon’s role with Guinness, as a publican and finally through her ambassador role with the Ben which she had held for the last 12 years.
Sandra is responsible for keeping in touch with beneficiaries in the Lothian and Borders area, where she provides support, assesses their financial needs and recommends packages of assistance including pensions and one-off grants
I have been lucky to have a career in sales spanning 47 years, with the last 30 in the drinks industry. Joining the drinks industry is one of the best things I have ever done, as I love every thing about it. During this time I have represented some of the most global spirits brands and have always been committed to putting something back into an industry that has been so good to me and my family. Having become a director in 1998 and then president in 2004, the Benevolent Society is near to my heart. My relationship continues as I am proud to be one of the current ambassadors.”
After leaving Catering College in 1970, my first job was as Assistant Manager at Scotch Corner Hotel Yorkshire. A year later I returned to Scotland to help manage The Gateway Restaurant in Stirling.
January 1976 saw me join Tennent Caledonian Brewers as a Catering Advisor within their Managed House Division. Over the next 31 years I worked in various positions ending up in Bass Lease prior to its sale and becoming Punch Taverns. I remained with Punch until I retired in December 2007
I have worked in the Licensed Trade for over 40 years, joining S&N in 1976 which became Heineken in 2008, and remained with the Company until 2014.
I held many Sales Roles within both S&N and Heineken covering many parts of Scotland and the North of England during 37 years, with the later being Regional Sales Director West.
I was self employed from 2014 until early 2020 and enjoyed working with the Colin Beattie Group for 3 of the aforementioned years.
It was during my time with S&N /Heineken that I spent 5 years as a Director of The Ben and really gained an insight into the great work that the Benevolent Society provides for those less fortunate within our Trade.
For the past three years I have worked as an Ambassador for the Ben and get to see first hand the difference we can make to those in need particularly at this difficult time, following the impact of Covid and the current Cost of Living Crisis. I would urge any employer/ employee to support the Ben if you can as the monies raised make a real difference to the lives of those
less fortunate who have worked or indeed work within our great industry.
Fortunate to have enjoyed a career in the licensed trade for over 40 years ..
Senior management roles in Cash and Carry Operators - Booker, Batley and Castle C&C .. laterally Director of Sales and Distribution at Scotland's leading Independent wine wholesaler .. Inverarity Morton before retiring .
Currently privileged and loving my role as an Ambassador for "The Ben ".. and being part of a team trying to "give something back " to the people in our industry who may need "The Ben's help .
Since being involved with "The Ben " .. and being aware about the work we do now and the more that is needed ..
The message to everyone I talk to in and outside our industry is
"The Ben" is here to help if we can .. please spread the word
I am John Cameron and I started my 56 year journey in the trade when I joined Scottish Newcastle as a stock taker 1966.
After a number of years travelling all over Scotland with S&N I set up my own stock-taking and Consultancy business working with a number of publicans setting up controls and improving their business models.
In 1996 I started a small pub group called Best Cellars (Scotland) Ltd with a good friend of mine and I still help out with running the company.
I have had the pleasure of working with some of the greats in the trade over the last five decades and have seen a lot of changes, some have had a positive impact but others have been detrimental.
Throughout my long career I have always been a supporter of the Ben and even had the privilege of being a Ben Director and President
I was humbled to be asked back as an ambassador for the Ben and always enjoy catching up with “some well kent faces” at the various events and of course using any tactic I can to raise money for the worthy work the charity does.