Nao Spirits, in association with the Gin Guild, announces the Jay Dhawan Scholarship, a full scholarship for one student every year from the Indian F&B sector to pursue an MSc in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University in the United Kingdom.

In loving memory of their late distiller, Nao Spirits and Beverages, India’s first Craft Gin Distillers, in association with the Gin Guild, are pleased to announce the Jay Dhawan Scholarship. The distillery shall be sponsoring one student every year from India, with a preference for applicants from the F&B industry, to pursue an MSc in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot Watt University in the United Kingdom.

Heriot Watt is one of the most prestigious and respected institutes in the world of brewing and distilling. Nao Spirits expect this to be a unique opportunity for members of the Indian F&B industry to gain access to a specialised course that provides them better opportunities globally and in India’s burgeoning craft spirits industry.

This scholarship was created to celebrate the memory of Nao Spirit’s late distiller, Jay Dhawan. Much loved by all, Jay had himself started his career behind the bar at one of Mumbai’s most celebrated establishments – Bombay Canteen. Wanting to pursue a different path though, he jumped at the opportunity to join Nao Spirits and get trained to be a distiller under Dr. Anne Brock who later went on to become Master Distiller for Bombay Sapphire.

He trained in 2017 alongside Anand Virmani, the Co-Founder and Master Distiller at Nao Spirits, and went on to produce India’s first craft Gins – Greater Than and Hapusa. Virmani says

“Jay was a bundle of energy right from day one. It was clear to him that he wanted to break out of the norm and he saw distilling as the path to make this happen. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have shared this journey with him and it only makes sense for us to now be able to provide that same opportunity to others like Jay who work in the F&B industry in and dream of pushing their boundaries.”

The Gin Guild, the global body of Gin distillers and associates upholding excellence in Gin distillation and promotion of Gin worldwide, has stepped up to support this scholarship by contributing 10% of the total amount. Pal Gleed, the Director General of the Gin Guild said:

“The Gin Guild is delighted to support this amazing opportunity for a member of the Indian F&B industry. Jay was incredibly well thought of and known as a real rising star of the gin industry. He was a proud member of the Gin Guild, and loved to learn, so this scholarship in his name is very appropriate.”

This scholarship shall be open to all applicants from India, with a preference given to those from the Indian F&B sector. Applications are being accepted already for next year’s batch which begins in September 2023. Information on how to apply is available on Heriot Watt’s website:

The team at Nao Spirits and the Gin Guild would like to thank Jay’s parents and family for allowing them to create a way to remember him by.

About Nao Spirits: The homegrown spirit company, the brainchild of Anand Virmani, Aparajita Ninan, and Abhinav Rajput, has been spearheading the Indian Gin revolution. With a state-of-the-art distillery in Goa that produces India’s first London Dry Gin, and the world’s first Himalayan Dry Gin, this start-up is constantly experimenting with its products and activations to help build a craft community and culture from scratch.

Nao Spirits is the first Indian company to be made a member of the Gin Guild – the global body of Gin makers.

Picture shows Grand Rectifier of the Gin Guild (2019-2021) and Master Distiller at Bombay Sapphire, Dr. Anne Brock with Jay Dhawan as he is installed into the Gin Guild in October 2019.