Mary well remembers the grim situation locally at the end of the 1990s. Bruichladdich had been mothballed, the local shop, MacLeods at the end of the village which had sold everything from food to screwdrivers to a football, had been shut for 7 years. The creamery had been a big local employer, as well as centre of gravity for the island’s farming community; it closed in 2000. Budgie our stillman had worked there in the 1980s, many of our staff had passed through its ranks. Tina who heads up our gin bottling line had been there at the end. Arlene from the whisky bottling line recalls the cattle sale with the farmers weeping as they sold their dairy herds. Then, in 2001,“Thank Goodness, Bruichladdich re-opened.”
Since then, the distillery has been going from strength to strength, the staff numbers have more than doubled in the last decade to reach triple figures. And Mary, Budgie, Chrissie, Allan, Jonathan, are still here, keeping us right, telling us how it was when they hadn’t two pence to rub together for fixing the place. Our new generation of “worthies”.
Mary’s early-series “valinch”
From a seat at the front of the family farm, apparently you can look out and see the whole island. Mary says it’s her favourite spot, for its sense of peace. “The world problems could be solved in that seat, eventually. It’s a cracker.” Bring on the next decade. Slaìnte Mary.