Our People

Meet some of team at McQueen Gin.

Published: 26th May 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 McQueen Gin. McQueen Gin was established in  2015 with the original distillery opening its doors in 2016. Just a minute’s drive from Callander in the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the team at McQueen Gin have just opened their brand new distillery. Housed in the Robert McQueen Building, named after co-founder Dale McQueen’s late father, the new distillery will provide the space and production capacity to help the McQueen Gin team grow. We recently caught up with the McQueen Gin team to learn more about life in the new distillery and more.

Vicky McQueen, Director

Responsibilities

Making Board Decisions, Company Strategy, Visitor Hospitality and Tours, and of course getting creative in the cocktail kitchen as and when required!

What does a typical day look like?

Keeping the ship steady, we have a tendency to run the engines on full ahead all of the time, faster if possible, so it is important to be able to make sure everything runs as planned. I discuss all major company strategic decisions with Dale, I like to think of myself as the steadying influence, but we work fabulously well as a team, definitely 1+1=3. I run the visitor tours each day, the guests really appreciate this personal touch, getting the story and answers to their questions from someone who has lived our whole journey.

What’s the best part of your job?

Hosting all of our fabulous distillery visitors, every individual has a different reason for coming to see us, very rarely are they just looking for something to do. I believe I have met more McQueens than anyone else! The combination of their enthusiasm and my passion creates a unique and exciting atmosphere and the perfect combination for enjoying the tour of our facility to the best possible level. 

What is unique about your place of work?

Everything, I genuinely believe there is no more stimulating place to be! Our staff are a total joy to be around and we are very fortunate to have them, they create excitement every day. There is a lot of laughter and even more wonderful gin being made. Where else would we rather be?

Dale McQueen, Managing Director

Responsibilities

Steering the Ship, Business Development, Product Development

What does a typical day look like?

There isn’t one, that’s the thrill. I like to get to the office before 7am, giving me an hour or two to deal with the previous day’s tasks. Then business meetings, liaising with my Finance Manager and Production Manager, Customer and Supplier calls and developing exciting new products. That last part is what I love the most, getting to explore what different and exciting products we can introduce next. It sounds like a long day, but Vicky insists that I get home by 6.30pm!

What’s the best part of your job?

Providing employment, my biggest and proudest achievements are allowing people to pay their mortgage, buy cars, go on holiday, and so on, from what we do day-to-day. That kind of reward can’t be rivalled. 

What is unique about your place of work?

Our employees, we are so fortunate to have a fabulous group here. We have never advertised a position and have many local people on a kind-of waiting list, yet to employ, as we continue to grow. Oh, and we also make the most innovative gins in the world.

Kieran Hughes, Production Manager

Responsibilities

I oversee the distillation and bottling operations. This involves setting up the bottling machinery, getting involved in the distillations, preparing botanicals with our Distiller, Gregor and managing stock. Technically, I am also responsible for managing the bottling staff and our Distiller, but their competence and friendly natures make this part fairly effortless.

What does a typical day look like?

I arrive around 8.30am. Often, because of the rapidly expanding nature of the business, there are some commissioning and engineering challenges which I thoroughly enjoy. I tend to look after the bottling machinery, optimising and maintaining them, so I end up with a spanner in my hands most days. I also do a lot of the compliance work, making sure that everything we do here is safe.

What’s the best part of your job?

Personally, I love the aromas in the botanical room, especially the Ancho chillies which give our Smokey Chilli Gin its distinctive flavour. When I first arrived from the whisky industry (which only uses three ingredients), the array of mysterious botanicals blew me away.

What is unique about your place of work?

Distilling fine gin with a beautiful view of Ben Ledi and The Trossachs. Recently, it was lambing season, so watching all the lambs capering around the fields that surround the distillery is good fun.

Gregor Flynn, Distiller

Responsibilities

I ensure the Bottling team are stocked up with everything they need for the day, after all, they can’t bottle without gin! I prepare and run the distillations, cleaning the stills afterwards.

What does a typical day look like?

Typically, I arrive by 7.30am. This gives me time to ensure our Gin is peak quality before starting up the bottling line for the team. I am responsible throughout the day for moving the gin to where it needs to be. I also deal with deliveries and shipments requiring fork-lifting. At the end of the day, I prepare the botanicals and clean the stills for the next day’s distillation.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of the job is really the team I work with. Everyone is lovely. It’s really different from my areas of study, but I have been fascinated by the science behind distilling for years and it’s fantastic to be so heavily involved in a growing company.

What is unique about your place of work?

Being a fairly small company, it’s easy to suggest changes and put them into action, and the opinions of all the staff are really valued which is superb. It’s rewarding to see improvements and refinements made to the processes which increase quality and efficiency.

Morna Farquharson, Front of House

Responsibilities 

Welcoming visitors to the Distillery and providing them with the opportunity to sample and purchase our range of gins, alongside answering emails and phone calls relevant to the general running of the distillery.

What is your typical day?

I arrive to start the day at 8.30am, firstly checking emails and the calendar to see what deliveries and tours are scheduled for the day. I’ll then look to package up any special deliveries to be sent out and manage the reception area throughout the day. Tours begin at 2.30pm, so I check in our guests and ready them to be immersed in the McQueen Gin experience. 

What is the best part of my job?

It is great to speak to people from all over the world who come to taste our gins, it never fails to amaze me when I hear about the distances they’ve travelled. I get a lot of job satisfaction in being part of the McQueen team and seeing the company growing and developing year upon year.

What is unique about your place of work?

Every day is different and therefore interesting. I love to learn new things and here at McQueen Gin I am encouraged to develop my skills and take on more responsibilities on a regular basis. 

Debi Duffy & Lesa Thomas, Bottling Technicians

Responsibilities

We ensure the smooth running of the bottling line, from carefully placing bottles on at the beginning of the line to labelling, boxing and assembling pallets ready for distribution. We are responsible for quality control too, ensuring that each bottle is perfect, up to the McQueen Gin standards and full of lovely gin.

What does your typical day look like?

The bottling team is obviously a glamorous one, so our typical days “look” fantastic! We rotate the jobs within our team, so everyone gets a chance to work on each of the stations. With the recent flurry of good weather, we’ve been having our breaks and lunch out in the sun, enjoying the beautiful surroundings, which always helps. 

What’s the best part of your job?

Working as part of a close team, without a doubt. The support of fellow colleagues and pride in what we achieve and produce for the company is what keeps us motivated every day.

What is unique about your place of work?

As the company is still fairly new and growing, everybody is teaming together and it is great to be part of an exciting and successful journey, learning new skills along the way. We all feel really invested in the McQueen Gin story, and it feels great.

You can learn more about McQueen Gin here.

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