We’ve been celebrating the new release of our 2nd edition 10 year olds from Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore. Here, some of the team from our 80+ staff look back on what they were up to a decade ago and what has changed since then.
Allan Logan – Production Director
“In 2006, I was still a mashman/ stillman – the year we installed the new boiler. It was a big thing for us back then because we used to have two boilers that were very temperamental and we spent most of our shifts trying to keep them running.
“We shut the distillery for a few months to install them. The decommissioning of the old ones was led by Duncan [McGillivray, then distillery chief engineer]. We had to cut up the two chimneys, myself and Peter McDiarmid. Before we installed the new chimney we put a time capsule in the foundations which was a box containing a newspaper of that day, a bottle of the old 10y/o (not Laddie 10 first edition, the one before that). We also buried a book with a list of workers’ names and addresses.”
Adam Hannett – Head Distiller
“In October 2006, I was doing relief shifts mashing because we’d just increased production at the back end of the year. Before that I was in the warehouses, and went back there when I was finished mashing, working with Andy Fisher, who’s still here (now Operations Support).
“These Second Editions of the ten year olds were the first whiskies I would have made. The Octomore 7.4 was the first whisky I released that I had worked a lot on, and the first signature I had on the tin, but it was these Tens that I actually worked with my own hands.
“There were a lot of people here in 2006 that are still here today. Allan Logan, our Production Director, was working at the stills then, so we were on shift together. Then the next year he was made Assistant Manager.”
Chrissie Angus – Bulk Export Manager
Chrissie started with us working in the visitor centre back when the distillery reopened in 2001. She moved to work in the bottling hall when it was opened in 2003, doing all the administration, later becoming our bulk export co-ordinator as the company grew.
When she talks about working here, she says: “We’ve grown with it. We’ve aged with it. It’s good that now we are taking young ones in.”
The highlight of her career was when she was featured on one of our tins, the Port Charlotte PC7. “Some folk go round the world in boats and yachts, I went round the world on the side of a tin.”
Her favourite whiskies are the first Black Art and the first ever Valinch, which was from 1970. You have expensive taste Mrs. Angus!
Frazer Matthews – Laddieshop Team
Frazer works in our Laddieshop team now and is in charge of all our despatches from the distillery. Ten years ago he was in Primary 6 at school and is still the youngest member of our 80+ team. His first ever whisky was a Jura 16 year old, which he enjoyed a lot. His favourite House of Bruichladdich dram is the PC 2007 CC:01.
Geraldine LeGarrec – Global Marketing Manager
In 2006, our marketing manager Geraldine had just moved back from Brazil, and was in ‘transition mode’. She was just about to take up a new job working for Remy Martin and in the meantime was working at the Paris Boat Show.
After moving with her family to Scotland from France, following the acquisition of the company by Remy, Geraldine has become very much part of the Bruichladdich family. We enjoy hearing her Franglish around the distillery during her regular visits from our Glasgow office!
Jay Doherty – Warehouseman
Jay moved to Islay in 2005 after meeting his partner Mairi, an Ileach, in Ireland, so he’d just arrived in 2006. He worked with tanker driver, Michael, at Mundells, where he drove as a local courier. He started working for Bruichladdich in 2010 or 2011, he can’t quite remember. He says his favourite part of his job is “just coming to work every day, you have to be enthusiastic otherwise it’s not worth getting out of bed in the morning, and every day is different here”. He says he’ll drink “anything Octomore”.
Lynne McEwan – Global Brand Manager
“Ten years ago I met Dave, now my husband, in the Port Charlotte Hotel after the Bruichladdich Open Day, having just done 20 tours. Four years later we were married in the still house.
“I feel as strongly about Bruichladdich today as I did in 2001. I am so proud that I am now one of the ‘old crew’ and that we have so many young people staying on Islay to be part of this, still incredible, journey.”
Joanne Brown – Global Brand Ambassador (far right) & Helen McCormick (second left)
Joanne Brown celebrates her ten year work anniversary this year! She’s risen through the ranks from working as a tour guide in the shop on Islay, to sales manager, to now become our Global Brand Ambassador. JB has become one of the most well-recognised faces of Bruichladdich, and rightly so, she’s an expert on our history, our philosophy and the principles we uphold at the distillery.
Helen worked with Joanne back in the shop in 2006. She now works for us part time after having her two sons with husband, Andrew. Andrew grows barley for us at Claggan and is a vital haulage operator in taking away our spent lees.
Michael Barford – Tanker Driver
Michael worked for Bruichladdich back in 2003 for a couple of years before leaving to drive lorries for local hauliers, Mundells. It was at Mundells that he worked with Jay Doherty, one of our warehousemen. He says it’s great to be back working here with him again.
“I was working in the warehouses then, with Peter MacTaggart and the late John Rennie. In those days, we’d go down to help in the bottling hall. Because I wasn’t on a permanent contract, I left to go to Mundells for the job security. It’s different now.”
Raymond Tibbs – Distillery Brand Ambassador
“How long have you been here for?”
“Since 9 o’clock this morning!”
“What’s changed in five years?”
“Security, I suppose, your job was relatively uncertain back in the day.”
Ailsa Hayes – Retail and Office Manager
Ailsa had just started her Spirited Soaps company back in 2005 when Bruichladdich’s managing director Mark Reynier blogged about her ‘Laddie Bar’, which she had made for the young Laddieshop. Soon after the blog was published, journalists began ringing Ailsa asking to speak to her ‘PR department’. She says, “It was great to have the support of Mark and Bruichladdich. I went from phoning up all the distilleries looking for business to them phoning me!”
Spirited Soaps still runs in Bowmore, but Ailsa soon started working for Bruichladdich as an office manager and her degree in chemistry meant she was also involved in one of our R&D projects. She is now Head of Retail. Her husband Graham also works with us, as a mashman/stillman.
Sharon Logan – Housekeeping (left)
Sharon and her husband Thomas celebrate their nine-year wedding anniversary today. She says it “feels like 40”. Born and raised in Port Charlotte, Sharon’s father is “PG” McCuaig, one of our senior stillmen. Ten years ago she was living on Islay, as she has done for most of her life, although she has also spent “some time” living on “the mainland”.
Ewald Stromer – Brand Ambassador Germany, Switzerland, and Austria
Ten years ago, Ewald received a Laddie valinch (bottle 1 of 1) – his first Bruichladdich – as a prize for becoming Germany’s bartender of the year. Now he represents us full-time, doing tastings, masterclasses, and stockist visits all over German-speaking Europe. He sent us this titbit from on board the whisky ship, Zurich…