AN INTERVIEW WITH LYNNE MCEWAN
- 4 mins
“There was nothing intentional about my career,” says Lynne McEwan, our Global Marketing Manager for Bruichladdich Distillery's single malts. “I just wanted to be part of this business because I was, and am still very much, inspired by the vision of what this place can do.” Her career at Bruichladdich Distillery began soon after it reopened in 2001. Like much of our local talent, her first job was as a tour guide in the Laddie Shop.
She hadn’t seen it as her destiny to be in the whisky business, even though as the eldest daughter of our previous Master Distiller, Jim McEwan, she had been surrounded by it since birth. Jim had a huge hand in the resurrection of Bruichladdich Distillery in 2001 and its change-making reputation. However, it wasn’t until Lynne was standing up front of a room full of people in South Africa in 2004 to deliver her very own first tasting, that she realised she had never seen him perform. She had to find her own way.
“At that time, the only jobs in Islay for whisky were in production, and those were difficult to get. Beyond production, I didn’t have an understanding of the diversity of jobs that existed in the industry because they were not based on the island, so whisky didn't seem an employment option for me. When Bruichladdich was resurrected it was so different because it had such a strong vision of what it could do.”
Part of Bruichladdich’s raison d’être was creating local opportunities, boosting an area that had suffered population decline and economic blows in the previous decade. She describes doing any job that became available - data entry for bulk stock, sales, an Ambassador role that took her to different places around the world. Then from 2012, when we became part of Remy Cointreau’s network, she stepped into brand direction, a function that she describes as largely instinctive for her, having been telling our story for 20 years. She has gradually been promoted to the role she is in today.
A voracious reader, she’s someone who is motivated by learning new things; she sees education as an important part of her role. Bruichladdich’s approach has always been transparent - “Telling our story, talking about what we believe in, and rattling cages when we needed to… We’re not going to tell you a story that has no connection to reality.” She argues that the more knowledge about whisky spreads, the better it is for everyone. “Because there's so much depth in whisky, so much richness, but you can only tap into that if you start to unpick and learn a bit more about it.”