Meet the Team

Board of Directors

Simon Szewach

Investment Director

Simon has a long and impressive history in Finance and Investing. He is the Managing Partner of the Legats Group, an Australian based group that invests and works with leading edge companies that showcase innovative technologies and IP. The Legats Group holds investments in 20+ companies across 5 continents.

Simon is our Investment Director and his experience in the world of investment has helped lead our project from an energetic idea into a serious commercial business.  Simon can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Hayden Zou

Managing Director

Hayden has extensive experience in China managing China based operations for a number of International companies. Hayden understands the differences between western business and the unique operating environment of China. Hayden knows how to bring these two different business cultures together in harmony.

Hayden is our Managing Director and has led the delivery of our project from concept through to operational capability.  He is also a member of the Board of Directors.  Hayden can be contacted by EMAIL or on LINKEDIN.

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James Robertson

CEO and Founder

James has extensive experience working in both the technology industry and the alcohols industry. This cross over led to James being the founder of some online wine and liquor retail platforms, one of which was a catalyst for Nine Rivers Distillery.

James is our CEO and a member of the Board of Directors. His skills and experience across alcohols, sales and technology are all relevant in leading the Nine Rivers Distillery Team. You can contact James by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.  

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Jonathan Dahan

Sales Director

Jonathan has extensive experience working in the wines and spirits industry. He has been Export Director Asia for a few leading European wine and spirits producers for the past 15 years. Additionally, he is also a founder and managing partner for one of the major wine importers in China. Jonathan is a Senior Advisor...

and a member of the Board of Directors due to his understanding of both the local and the international markets. Jonathan’s insights and experience are crucial in building our national and overseas sales network.  Jonathan can be contacted by EMAIL or by LINKEDIN.

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Stephen Davies

Deputy Chairman

Stephen led the team that brought whisky distilling back to Wales after more than 100 years absence. Stephen continues to lead that team as CEO of The Welsh Whisky Company and has won numerous international awards being won for Penderyn Single Malts

Stephen is a Deputy Chairman for Nine Rivers Distillery and his experience with The Welsh Whisky Company has strategic influence on how our Board of Directors will lead this project.  Stephen can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Founders

Vinay Dayaram

Founder

Vinay is a third-generation textiles and clothing entrepreneur, producing clothing for international brands through factories across China. Vinay was one of the original team of whisky enthusiasts from the monthly whisky networking events that were the starting point of Nine Rivers Distillery…

was back in 2015.  Vinay is a big fan of the more modern styles of whisky from India.  Subtropical maturation environments and multiple cask finishes are his personal preference.  You can contact Vinay by EMAIL or on LINKEDIN

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Liam McShane

Founder

Liam is the Sales and Marketing Director for a large OEM tech manufacturer with operations in 3 countries and distribution worldwide. Liam is also an avid whiskey and whisky collector with a long time appreciation for good whiskies and was one of the whisky lovers that helped create the monthly whisky social night that was...

the catalyst for the Nine Rivers Distillery project.  Liam is a huge fan of the Irish styles of whiskey and the triple distillation technique.  You can contact Liam by EMAIL or on LINKED IN.

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Lee Beaudoin

Founder

Lee is a hi-tech hardware engineer with a talent for leveraging his vast network in China for rapid prototyping and manufacturing of products that target the western market. From drones to vapes and everything in-between. Lee was one of the whisky lovers that helped create the monthly whisky social night that was the catalyst for...

the Nine Rivers Distillery project.  Lee is a big fan of Islay styles of scotch and is keen for us to include peated whiskies in the Nine Rivers Distillery range as soon as possible.  You can contact Lee by EMAIL or on LINKED IN.

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Prakash Mahtani

Founder

Prakash has extensive experience working in China for more than 15 years leading the export departments for companies that specialise in the manufacturing of kitchenware. He currently heads up exports and sales to the entire MENA region from a base in Guangzhou. Prakash is a Speyside Scotch

whisky aficionado and has a passion for sherry cask maturated whiskies.  Prakash can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKED IN.

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Mudy M. Ghulam

Founder

Mudy has been living and working in China for more than a decade and specialises in logistics.  He currently leads the sales team at an international logistics and freight forwarding company and is based in Shenyang. A passionate whisky lover, Mudy started whisky themed events in Shenyang and built a monthly professional networking event around

whisky tastings.  Mudy has a diverse interest and enjoys sherry cask finishes, American bourbon styles and Japanese blends.  Mudy can be contacted on EMAIL or LINKED IN.

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Dave Kruse

Founder

Dave has more than 16 years of experience working in China or as a bridge between China and North American markets.  He's currently the President of Global Sales for an American led, China-based, hi-tech displays manufacturing company.  Dave is a bourbon and rye drinker and will be one of the driving forces behind our own

exploration into high corn and high rye mash bills to craft whiskies.  Dave can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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April Chen

Founder

April is a co-founder and shareholder in an extensive group of companies that import, distribute, wholesale and retail wines, liquors and whiskies. April’s experience in the Chinese alcohols market stretches back over a decade, initially starting with a casual interest in European wines.

April is led by wine cask finishes when it comes to her preferred styles of whisky. April can be contacted by EMAIL.

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Aimee McBride

Founder

Aimee has been in China since 2015 and brought her love of whisky with her, initially to Wuxi in Jiangsu, before settling in Shanghai where she teaches psychology.  Aimee has been part of the whisky community that underpins the Nine Rivers Distillery project from literally the day that she first got off the aeroplane. 

Aimee is a big fan of lighted peated scotch style whiskies.  You can contact Aimee by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Stephen Alexander

Founder

Stephen has been in China since 2015 and brought his love of whiskey (with an "e" as every Irishman would argue) with him.  As an airline captain, Stephen has traveled all over the world, exploring almost every style of whiskey (and whisky) on offer and so his mature and refined palate is a big asset

to the project.  Stephen is a bourbon fanatic but also very loyal to triple distilled Irish styles with sherry casks.  He can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Vince Ngai

Founder

Vince was born in Scotland so whisky really is part of his heritage - he brought his passion for whisky to China more than 10 years ago when he decided to live the other half of his heritage by moving to China.  Hosting whisky events across his new home province of Guangdong helped bridge

both cultures, something that Nine Rivers Distillery will continue to do through crafting whisky.  Vince is firmly bound to his love of peated whiskies and would love to see Nine Rivers Distillery start floor maltings and peat smoke drying of our own barley.  He can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Lucas Driggers

Founder

Lucas decided to make China his home back in 2007 and he brought with him his love of bourbon and other American Whiskies.  In May 2018, Lucas took his passion for whisky a step further by hosting whisky themed events across Wuhan and numerous locations - even winning awards for his entertaining and educational events.

As a founder of Nine Rivers Distillery, Lucas is determined to be one of the first people in China to be sharing Nine Rivers whiskies with China.  Lucas can be contacted by EMAIL or on LINKEDIN.

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CJ Bowman

Founder

CJ was an early founder member of our whisky community in China when he was based in Beijing for more than 3 years.  While CJ no longer lives in China, whisky and Chinese culture are two things he will always be closely aligned to.  CJ is currently based in Vietnam and will be leading one

of our first export markets as we take Nine Rivers Distillery alcohols to our neighbours and close friend of China.  Another peated whisky fan.  CJ can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Investors and Brand Ambassadors

Yusan Wu

Investor

Yusan is a whisky enthusiast who has been interested in whisky for more than a decade. Originally a fan of the typical Speyside sherried styles of Scotch, Yusan discovered Islay and it's heavy peating just a few years ago and has never looked back.

You can contact Yusan by EMAIL or LINKED IN.

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Guilin Liu

Investor

Guilin has been working in the alcohols industry for more than a decade and is involved in logistics management and importing foreign alcohols. He has a real passion for new world whiskies and micro distillery releases where he appreciates the hand crafted aspect of these whiskies.

Guilin can be contacted by EMAIL.

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Sebastian Fabre

Investor

Sebastian is a wine professional that has been working in the China wine industry for more than 6 years. He currently manages one of the most interesting wine portfolios in South China and leads a team that sell and market these wines. Sebastian has been an advocate of whisky for more than 10 years

and combines a duel love of both Islay styles and Highland styles. Sebastian can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Sasha Fu

Investor

Sasha is quite unique to the team in the sense that she is a crusader for the relevance of blended malt whiskies and how the art of blending is massively overlooked and ignored in recent times, over the growing popularity of the single malt category.  Sasha would be keen to see us open more than

one distillery in China and be able to demonstrate how blended whiskies can be a far more appealing product to a vast market such as China.  Sasha can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Graham Bannerman

Investor

Graham made China his home more than 20 years ago and as a Scotsman he brought with him his passion for Scotch whisky. Graham also started a number of whisky themed events in Tianjin in June 2018 which he continues to host and share his knowledge of whisky with anyone that is interested to learn.

While quietly devoted to his love of Islay style whiskies, Graham will give any whisky a fair chance to get a place on his whisky shelf.  Graham can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Eric Pallas

Investor

Eric has been in China for almost a decade where he has carved out a name and reputation as a skilled and creative mixologist. Having been the creative catalyst behind the launch and success of a number of leading F&B concepts in Shenzhen. Like everyone else involved in this project, Eric is a lover of

whisky, however, he's also a fan of rum and rhum in all it's styles and is keen to see how we craft and mature our own rhum agricole with China cultivated sugarcane.  Eric can be contacted by EMAIL or LINKEDIN.

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Simon Fang

Investor

Simon is from Jiangxi Province and after graduating in Science and Technology has gone on to work for one of the most exciting technology companies in China where he specializes in Artificial Intelligence. Simon believes in the potential for small batch, artisanally crafted alcohols

having good potential in China hence being an investor in the Nine Rivers Distillery Project. Simon can be contacted by EMAIL.

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Mango Niu

Investor

Mango is originally from Shanxi Province, one of the cradles of Chinese civilization - Xi'an, the provincial capital is one of the 4 ancient capital cities of China. Mango appreciates Chinese history but is also deeply involved with the technology sector in China. He owns technology companies in Shenzhen. It was the fact that

Nine Rivers Distillery is a harmony of old traditional approaches to distilling with technology being used to create efficiencies that caught Mango's attention and his involvement.  Mango can be contacted by EMAIL.  

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Kundy Kong

Investor

Kundy is originally from Hunan Province but has been based in Guangdong for more than 18 years . Kundy has a plethora of knowledge about fine wines and world class spirits and it's that interest that brought him in to the Nine Rivers Distillery Project.

Kundy is keen to start experiencing the high end whiskies that he loves - to finally have a label that says Made in China.  Kundy can be contacted by EMAIL.

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Wolf Wang

Investor

Wolf comes from Xinghua in Shanxi province, a town that is famous for the crafting of traditional herbal liquors that are matured with traditional Chinese medicinal herbs. On taste profiles these traditional alcohols are very different to what we will be crafting at Nine Rivers Distillery and Wolf is looking forward to introducing all

of his hometown friends to something that will be completely different from them all.  Wolf can be contacted on EMAIL.

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UWE LEMANIK

Investor

Uwe is German origin, but already living nearly twenty years in China. As a shoe industry professional expert his way took him to many different places in China. Uwe has not only an impressive collection of fine Whiskies – he also enjoys them, usually those with a sweeter tone.

Now he’s just waiting for the first Nine Rivers Distillery collectible. Uwe can be contacted by E-MAIL.

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John Zois

Investor

John has been in China for more than 4 Years where he has worked in the education sector, focussing on adult learning and business communications.

John is keen to work across his own social networks, creating more converts to the wonders of whsiky. He can be contacted by EMAIL .

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JAN BRONI

Investor

Jan has been in China for more than 13 Years where he leads a number of companies and concurrently is President of Meyra-Netti Asia and Chairman of the Board of the Danish Chamber of Commerce in South China.

Jan is a true whisky lover across all styles and categories. He's keen to start working with micro-casks and rapidly ageing whiskies at home to his own tastes. He can be contacted by  LINKEDIN.

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MAARTEN ROOS

Investor

Maarten is originally from the Netherlands but has been in China since 1999. He founded Chinese law firm R&P in 2010 and continues to provide legal support and representation to international companies and expatriates in China - including many whisky lovers. Maarten’s passion is to help start-ups conquer the Chinese market;

and though he loves the occasional glass (or more) of Baiju (Chinese liquor) he strongly believes that Chinese consumers are ready to expand their horizons to whisky.He can be contacted by  LINKEDIN.

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