We were delighted to host students from the ‘Lycee Jules-Ferry’, a public secondary and higher education school located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris today. Bruichladdich Master Distiller Jim McEwan enjoyed a lively session with the young academics during which he was asked a wide range of questions about how distilling impacts on life on Islay including: what are the benefits that the distilleries bring to the island? What is their impact on the local economy? What opportunities do the distilleries offer young people who wish to stay and work here?
The youngsters were particularly interested in the close working relationship that Bruichladdich has developed with local farmers. Farms are central to the day to day life at Bruichladdich, both because they grow barley for us, and because their cattle eat the draff, a hi-protein bi-product of whisky making that is a valuable feedstuff.
The students were also interested in how the purchase of Bruichladdich by the French premium spirits company Remy Cointreau had affected life here, and Jim spoke of how Remy are determined to retain the independent ethos of the distillery, and nurture the passion of the people. It was apparent from the quality of the questioning that a great deal of homework had been done in preparing for this session, with other subjects including the very low crime rates on Islay, and alcoholism.
Jim spoke afterwards of what had evidently been a fascinating and challenging encounter – thanked everyone for coming and wished them all every success with their studies.