Dis­tillery man­ager goes from strength to strength

The Oban Times - - Business - MARK DAVEY ed­i­tor@oban­times.co.uk

‘THERE is never a dull mo­ment,’ says the Camp­bel­town chief of Glen Sco­tia dis­tillery.

Iain Mcalis­ter’s pre­vi­ous seven years’ ex­pe­ri­ence with Scot­tish Wa­ter may have helped – although he is happy to ad­mit that join­ing a dis­tillery was a steep learn­ing curve.

Even in the nine years since he took on his role as dis­tillery man­ager with the High Street firm, there has been a sea change in Camp­bel­town whisky.

Iain’s work­ing day starts at about 8am when he makes a tour of the dis­tillery to see the staff, dis­cuss any is­sues and check the pro­duc­tion fig­ures. Last year Glen Sco­tia cre­ated 536,000 litres.

Iain, 49, counts Glen Sco­tia’s Dou­ble Cask malt whisky win­ning at the World Whisky Awards as one of his and par­ent com­pany, the Loch Lomond Group’s great­est achieve­ments.

‘The en­gi­neer­ing side of Scot­tish Wa­ter helped,’ Iain said. ‘There is a huge amount to learn and you have to know ev­ery part of the oper­a­tion in the dis­tillery.

‘Cre­at­ing amaz­ing malts is an art with a lot of science in the back­ground. The prod­uct is a tes­ta­ment to the whole team.

‘I have no un­der­study and there are just eight staff, so I tend to be very hands- on. Be­ing the man­ager is not just about pa­per­work – the work is mixed and var­ied.

‘The in­put from Loch Lomond on a day-to- day ba­sis is min­i­mal. They say it takes about 10 years to learn the job so I am not there yet.

‘ When I started there were three of us at Glen Sco­tia which was com­ing out of the dol­drums in whisky terms.

‘What you see to­day is what Loch Lomond’s in­vest­ment has brought to Glen Sco­tia.’

Iain, who loved his­tory and PE, left Camp­bel­town Gram­mar School aged 17 and, as work was scarce, he went on the fish­ing boats for three years.

He said: ‘It was a good start, was char­ac­ter-build­ing and gets a young per­son into a good work­ing ethos.

‘It was a dif­fer­ent world, and things have changed a lot in the 21st cen­tury.

‘I was 40 when I saw my job ad­ver­tised in the pa­per. If I had known about the com­plex­ity I might have thought twice.

‘Ca­reers in dis­till­ing are very re­ward­ing. Whisky is in vogue and it is a global busi­ness.

‘I would rec­om­mend it to any young per­son.’

Iain Mcalis­ter has been in charge of Glen Sco­tia Dis­tillery for nine years and has seen a ‘sea change’.

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