Our People

Meet some of the team at Darnley's Gin.

Published: 5th October 2019

For The Gin Cooperative, great Scottish Gin is in equal measure about the people as it is the actual gin. Our exclusive ‘Our People’ editorial feature series finds out what life is like working for a Scottish Gin business. The distiller, the brand ambassador, the social media manager, the office admin, the handyman, the cooper, the shop assistant, the delivery driver and more. It’s these dedicated, passionate and hardworking people we will meet over the course of the series that will hopefully give you a little insight into what working for a Scottish Gin business is really like.

Next in the series features some of the team from Kingsbarns Distillery, the home of Darnley’s Gin.  Originally distilled outside of Scotland, the team at Darnley’s were determined to bring their gin production back to their true spiritual home of Kingsbarns in Fife. With a long and rich history tied directly to Scottish Royalty, the name comes from the many barns that were in the area and used to store grain before it was transported to Falkland Palace, known as the palace of Scottish Kings. The Wemyss family, the founders, have a long family history of spirit production and associations with the spirit industry including whisky.

The whisky distillery opened its doors in December 2014 after a period of conservation and renovation of an old farm steading that was once part of the Cambo House Estate. As part of the renovation work, a small cottage on the estate was allocated as the future home and distillery for Darnley’s Gin. In July 2017, the gin distillery and visitor experience opened its doors and as they say, the rest is history.

With the launch of their new Darnley’s Zest and Smoke Gin, as part of their on-going limited edition Cottage Series of gins, inspired by the history of the distillery site and gin cottage, we caught up with some of team to learn more about the new generation of people putting Kingsbarns back on the map as a hub of distilling excellence.

Name

Art Farmer: Wemyss Family Spirits including Darnley’s Gin, Wemyss Malts and Kingsbarns Single Malt.

Responsibilities

Encouraging new business and developing our current accounts. I offer trips, training and education while spreading my love of gin and whisky across the city.

What does a typical day look like?

My day starts at 9am with the morning spent working from home answering emails, updating paperwork, checking in on orders and planning for the day and week ahead. Then around 11am I head out to appointments to introduce them to the Darnley’s range or drop in on existing accounts and catch up on stock, upcoming events, campaigns and serves. I communicate with industry friends, networking on new openings or staff changes and tie up my day around 5pm. I often find a bar on the way home for a drink and friendly chat or get ready to host an evening tasting or Darnley’s Gin pairing dinner.

What’s the best part of your job?

Meeting new people and building relationships with accounts and seeing old friends. I work autonomously but spend a lot of time talking to people about the things I love.

What is unique about your place of work?

No one day is ever the same. Whether it’s meeting with new accounts to do a Darnley’s Gin tasting, checking in on venues that stock us already or hosting groups at our Darnley’s Distillery or presenting to 30+ people… I’ve even made my own Gin at our Gin School! Each day carries its own excitement and it’s great to see when my hard work pays off.

Name

Emma Hooper: Brand Marketing Manager 

Responsibilities

I manage all marketing activity for Darnley’s Gin, which includes developing and implementing brand strategy, new product development (NPD), packaging, social and PR in the UK and global markets.

What does a typical day look like?

My day starts on my way to work as I look at emails that have come in overnight and check social media, creating an immediate to do list that I tackle with a cup of tea at my desk. I am the point of contact for Darnley’s Gin across our markets so I may need to respond to a request for images or POS (point of sale) or finalise details for an activation. A large part of my time is spent on NPD and design of assets; it’s very exciting working on a new gin in partnership with our distiller, especially when you finally get to share what you have been working on. I check in with the distillery team at some point in the day on everything from events, a visiting journalist or marketing activity around our gin school and tours. I could be finishing off my day with a call to our US importer or finalising plans for an upcoming photoshoot or blogger event and I will definitely skim emails and check social in the evening before bed!

What’s the best part of your job?

The variety and constantly feeling challenged to meet deadlines, create content and opening Darnley’s Gin up to a wider audience. My favourite moments though are being in the distillery before we open, it’s got such a magic feel and then as the day goes on it transforms into a bustling space as our distiller is busy making gin, our guests are learning about botanicals in the gin school or one of our tour guides is sharing the Darnley’s story and leading a tasting in the main room.

What is unique about your place of work?

The team. We are small but everyone chips in which creates a very positive collaborative spirit amongst everyone. We used to distil in London and since moving everything in house to our Fife distillery two years ago, the excitement that we can wake up and see our own stills in our own distillery hasn’t worn off!

Name

Ben Stewart: Director of UK Sales

Responsibilities

Driving the sales strategy, thinking outside the box, expanding our footprint and motivating our brilliant sales team.

What does a typical day look like?

Every day is different, making this the best job as I am continually learning and developing and being challenged. Over a morning coffee I could be checking in with a national account, pitching to a new customer, out on the road with one of our sales team or working with marketing on a product launch.

What’s the best part of your job?

I am relatively new to my role with Darnley’s Gin and I’m lucky to be surrounded by very smart people who are passionate about the brands in the portfolio, which has been a fantastic way to be welcomed into the team. You are thrown different challenges and opportunities on a daily basis and the exciting part is working out how to overcome them and maximise them to drive the sales of Darnley’s Gin forward.

What is unique about your place of work?

We are an independent family owned business who play in two different spirit categories, gin and whisky. Even though we have different brand identities, we often cross over and are a close, flexible and small team who enjoy getting our creative hats on to position Darnley’s Gin and the whisky portfolio in new and exciting ways.

Name

Scott Gowans: Distiller

Responsibilities

My main responsibility is the production of the Darnley’s Gin range from sourcing the ingredients through to the distillation process. I also manage the Distil Your Own Experiences in the Darnley’s Gin School, training our tutors and guiding people as they create their own distinct gins. When I’m not in the still house, I am normally around to welcome and chat to our guests who want to know more about Darnley’s.

What does a typical day look like? 

No day is the same for me but on a distillation day I crack straight into turning the steam and cooling water on, I always charge my still the day before distillation so that the botanicals have 24 hours to macerate. Once I am happy that everything is running smoothly, the kettle goes on and I have a quick flick through my emails with a cup of tea. You may even find me in our cottage garden doing some weeding or planting.

What’s the best part of your job?

I distil a core range of three gins, which keeps me busy but I really enjoy creating new gins for our limited edition Cottage Series or helping our Gin School guests create their own great tasting gins for them to take home. There are a few different aspects to my job so it’s good having such variety.

What is unique about your place of work?

Having the pick of botanicals from Fife’s larder on our door step is certainly fun to explore when creating new gin recipes, along with our aquifer that supplies us with pure mineral rich water ideal for gin distillations. The best part though, is being able to open up the doors of the still room and enjoy the view of the lovely East Neuk of Fife coastline while distilling our gin.

Name

Kirsten Webb: Duty Manager and Tour Guide

Responsibilities

Ensuring the smooth operations of our visitor centre. Looking after our guests and helping them to have the best experience when visiting the distillery. Going to trade fairs and running tasting events. I also help to run our social media pages.

What does a typical day look like?

Every day is different to the next, although usually you will find me out front of house in the visitor centre ready to welcome you to our distillery! I enjoy helping out with the tours and in the shop when required and you may even find me showing off my barista skills in the cafe, all in between sharing content on social media and responding to general enquires.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love how varied the job is, from general visitor experience management and social media assistant to running tasting events around the local area.  The fact that all of these roles help me to give people an insight into Darnley’s and that it gives me a platform to share my knowledge and love for our brand with lots of different people!

What is unique about your place of work?

I feel very lucky that I joined the team at such an exciting time for Darnley’s, I am able to go on a journey with the brand as it grows and it’s great to be part of that process. Every day I get to meet interesting people who all share a passion for the industry, this exciting atmosphere is just a fantastic environment to work in.

You can learn more about Darnley’s Gin here.

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