I power through emails that have arrived overnight, before having breakfast with my two boys and walking to work. It’s important to me to walk to and from work. It’s a way to clear the head and think more deeply about the issues of the day or week.
My palate is best in the morning, so this is when we do tastings or create prototype blends. I might bring in samples of things we’ve been working on, and it’s great when I taste them and think: “No one’s ever done anything like that; it’s a winner!” These are eureka moments.
There is a brainstorming meeting about the launch of a limited-release whisky. The world of Scotch whisky is steeped in tradition and we are regarded as creative and innovative, because we try to remove the rules that people feel surround the use of Scotch whisky and make it more relevant to modern times.
I check my travel plans. I spend a lot of time at events around the world where I can meet whisky lovers. Many of them really enjoy what we do and that is rewarding, but it’s equally important to hear what they wish we did and see what competitors are doing.
Maintaining our relationship with distillers is a big part of my role. People think these are old guys with big beards, doing things the same way they did 200 years ago. In reality, I’m mostly dealing with big companies. It’s not as romantic as you’d think.
I call our California sales brokers to discuss the launch of a new product there. It’s a process that starts with me getting an idea and making the commercial case for it. The fun part is sourcing the component whiskies and putting them together, and finally working with our package designers to come up with something that makes people go “Wow”.
I sometimes have a glass of whisky to end the day, but not often on weekdays, when I have to be up early. Sadly, I’m not just drinking whisky all day; that would be some job!
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