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Our People

Meet some of the team at Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, home to Kintyre Gin.

Published: 22nd July 2020

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.

Forming part of the Torrisdale Estate, Beinn an Tuirc Distillery produces a range of Scottish Gin, namely the Kintyre Gin range; all influenced by the local area and inspired by the stories of old. Although the estate has been in the Macalister Hall family for over a century, the approach of the distillery, business and brand is definitely contemporary.

Creating fantastic Scottish spirits and memorable visitor experiences is what lies at the heart of the distillery and estate. With work currently underway on the new gin school and further plans for expansion, we caught up with the Beinn an Tuirc team to learn more about their individual roles in the business and what makes the Beinn an Tuirc Distillery and Torrisdale Estate a unique place to work.

Niall Macalister Hall, Director

Responsibilities 

As the Managing Director of this business, my role is often varied but essentially I am responsible for the finances, and the sales. The distillery itself is located on our family property, and therefore I am also responsible for running that as well, so life is never dull!

What does a typical day look like?

As with everyone else, no two days are the same. However, it normal involves an early-ish start with some paperwork in the office, and then it could range from undertaking tours if required, attending to the shop, out delivering gin, or liaising with customers and stockists. We have grown a lot over the last three years, and the intention is to grow even further. The next phase of that involves the building of a gin school and café. Therefore a lot of time has been spent recently managing the build, liaising with contractors, sourcing grant aid and funding, and other more mundane matters!

On the estate side of things there is always something that needs done, such as mowing the grass, checking the hydro scheme, and more recently, redeveloping the walled garden.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part has to be the flexibility. It was daunting first becoming self-employed, and then starting up a new company, however you are your own boss. Therefore if it feels right to take some time out and do something completely different then I can do so. It’s great seeing what we have achieved as a team here. 

What’s unique about your place of work?

For me the place of work is also the family home, so it is great seeing a bit of vibrancy about the place again. In my great grandfather’s era there would have been between 50 and 100 workers employed. It has long since dwindled, however the property has moved on from being a status symbol in the Victorian days to a profitable business now, and if we want to get back to those figures we need to make it work in a number of ways. For me that’s the challenge!

Emma Macalister Hall, Director 

Responsibilities 

As a co-director with Niall and Kenny, I am responsible for the overall running of the company but specifically the marketing and social media side. Niall likes to think of this as “fannying around on Facebook and Instagram” which to a certain extent is true! I really love engaging with our customers and followers from all over the world and I enjoy taking photographs of our products using Kintyre as the most amazing backdrop. I have also been known to exploit our Labrador Crumble on social media occasionally – she always gets more likes than anything else!

What does a typical day look like?

It’s hard to describe a typical day because there’s always so much variety. Because we are lucky enough to run our own business, we are very much in control of how things are run and what happens. A typical day for me would be scheduling posts, responding to comments, taking photographs of products and really annoying the team by trying to include them on Instagram stories.

I also produce the newsletter which we try to put out once or twice a month and I run our little gin club through which we offer prize draws regularly and special offers. 

What’s the best part of your job?

For me the best part of the job is the people we are lucky enough to work with. We have a fantastic team at the distillery and also a brilliant remote team who do an amazing job of promoting the brand. 

What’s unique about your place of work?

Aside from our location, probably our management style! Our employees are treated like family and we hope that we have avoided the usual hierarchical structures that can be more of a barrier in small companies. 

Hannah Young, Tourism & Events Coordinator

Responsibilities

I’m very new to the business but my responsibilities include creating, planning and implementing a range of events to build an annual calendar of events for the distillery. I will be greeting visitors and tourists and creating unique events and experiences, which encompasses all facilities on-site, including a Residential Gin School utilising the existing self-catering accommodation on Torrisdale Castle Estate, a day Gin School course, distillery tours, private tastings and bookings, new product launches, packages involving our beautiful on-site spaces, historical estate walks and tours to incorporate the sustainability and stunning scenery, and a raft of other unique offerings!

I’m also responsible for promoting Kintyre as a tourist destination, which in turn will also support local businesses. I’ll be planning itineraries for Torrisdale Estate accommodation guests to allow them to explore as much of the local area as possible whilst also incorporating the distillery and our grounds. Eventually once COVID-19 passes, part of my role may also include travelling to other pop-up events such as location open days, gin festivals, wedding fairs, etc to showcase Kintyre Gin.

What does a typical day look like?

All will be revealed in due course but my plan is to focus on new event development in between doing tours and tastings with visitors and helping in the distillery shop when needed. Once our gin school opens up, I will be responsible for the itineraries and planning and leading these courses, both day and weekend long courses, which will excitingly fill a lot of my time!

What’s the best part of your job?

Sadly with COVID-19 affecting so many events and tourists ability to visit the distillery, I haven’t yet had much of a chance to meet with and run events for tourists yet, however I know that one of my favourite parts of this role will be doing just that. I’m looking forward to creating my own events from the outset, working hard on them from ideas right through to seeing my work come to life and be successful, and having so much support from the team on all my ideas.

What’s unique about your place of work?

It’s a small team that works together and we support one another to do everything required. Most that don’t know the brand would think we are a very large team to be producing as much gin, running a large estate with accommodation, and accommodating tourists and locals alike with tours, tasting and events, but it’s really not.

Also, Beinn an Tuirc are not only sustainable distillers but strive to give back to the local community too and aim to create roles that employ locals. Prior to working here, I had always known the brand to support community fundraisers and events. The fact that an ideal role for myself was created here in my hometown, helping skilled graduates stay in the local area and not move to large cities like Glasgow, is great to see.

Gareth Scott-Dodd, Distillery Assistant

Responsibilities

As the Distillery Assistant I help with the running of the distillery and assist Head Distiller, Su, with any tasks that need done. This can be anything from bottling to charging (loading) the still to general cleaning.

What does a typical day look like?

There isn’t really a typical day. Usually, if we are distilling it’s an early start for either myself or Su and then bottling to keep on top of the stock. We can also be getting postal orders ready to go, bottling flat out to complete export, or any other large orders. Every day is different, which keeps the job interesting and exciting.

What’s the best part of your job?

Again, I love that every day is different, I hate getting bored. But also the people; we are a small team and everyone gets on so well. Su is training me in all manners of operation, from distilling to product development. It’s great to be in a job where I can see a future and opportunities.

What’s unique about your place of work?

Definitely the location. I live in Campbeltown (13 miles South of Torrisdale) and it is an amazing commute up the coast with views over to Arran and Ayrshire. In the Spring it gives incredible sunrises which are a great start to the day.

Kirsten Nicholson, Sales & Marketing, Brand Ambassador

Responsibilities

To increase awareness of our Beinn an Tuirc products and continue to develop relationships with our existing and new account holders, both on and off trade. I also provide educational training sessions and tailored tasting events, which of course enables me to broadcast my love of gin. 

What does a typical day look like? 

The great part about my job is that every day is different! From meeting with distributors, existing account holders or potential new clients, showcasing our current range of gins and educating them on our existing and upcoming ventures. To attending gin festivals, tasting events or hosting training sessions to highlight the best of Kintyre Gin and our exceptional team. When onsite at the distillery in Kintyre, I get the opportunity to carry out a variety of tasks; working in the shop, bottling with Su and Gareth in the distillery, meetings with Boss Hogg and Emma and of course getting to catch up with our CEO Crumble (the Labrador). 

What’s the best part of your job? 

Interacting with people is definitely the best part of my job. Getting to meet individuals who are so passionate about the drinks industry and having the chance to continuously learn and expand my knowledge. Having the opportunity to introduce people to Kintyre Gin, our wonderful ethos and daily strive for sustainability while producing a product we are proud of and love the taste of! 

What’s unique about your place of work? 

To put it simply the Beinn an Tuirc team are unique. The beautiful location in Torrisdale Castle Estate in Kintyre, the passion displayed by all members of the small team, the support and respect everyone has for each other and of course the humour makes for the best working environment. 

Su Black, Distiller

Responsibilities

I’m responsible for everything related to the operation of the distillery from raw material supply, product development, production, bottling and packaging for dispatch.

What does a typical day look like?

My typical day is primarily petting Crumble our distillery black lab! Beyond that on distillation days we start at 7am when we turn on the still which was loaded the previous day. We often bottle and distil concurrently in order to keep up with demand. We currently have 5 core products in our range, so it varies from day to day which products we are handling. Every day is different, but the best days are the ones that start with a swim in Torrisdale Bay.

What’s the best part of your job?

The on site dog therapy of getting to pet Crumble obviously!  The variety of tasks and the fact that no two days are the same. 

What’s unique about your place of work? 

Our location in Torrisdale on the Kintyre peninsula is just a magnificent place to work and the close knit small team and our CEO Crumble are fun to work with!

You can learn more about Beinn an Tuirc Distillers here.

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