Craig Woodrow’s Valinch


Craig Woodrow has been in the bottling hall office these last 6 years, after a first career in the family construction business. The firm started by his father and his three brothers built Islay’s swimming pool, the Ardbeg visitor centre, and Kilchoman distillery in his time. Although, thanks to public sector and private contracts, he says they had been busier in construction in Islay in the late 1970s and early 80s, employing 80 men.

After leaving the company when his father retired, Craig then had a stint with Islay’s hauliers and public transport providers, Mundells, like warehouseman Jay, delivering parcels to the distillery before joining the team here; eventually everyone seems to get pulled into the Bruichladdich opportunity vortex! 

Though his initial response to the question about what he actually does in his role as Assistant Bottling Hall manager is, ‘Haven’t a clue!’ it turns out that bottling all our whisky in Islay couldn’t be accomplished without Craig’s paperwork – tallying orders to the bottling schedule for the different markets, creating works orders, and summoning the actual liquid out of the warehouses and paying the necessary duty. 

With the exception of three months when, at his fathers insistence, he left Islay to go on a three month youth training scheme, he has lived all his life on Islay, as has his wife, as did both his parents. Daughters Laura and Kayla have also chosen to stay and work on the island. It’s his 25th wedding anniversary this year, so he’s thinking of heading off somewhere nice to celebrate that. Portnahaven, maybe. 

The single cask Bruichladdich ‘valinch’ that bears Craig’s name is #43 in our crew series. It was distilled in July 2009, and is a premium Italian wine cask, at 59.6%.  Available only in the Laddieshop in Islay where it is bottled by hand while stocks last.

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