A coppersmith has marked his 50th anniversary with the same whisky distillery in Scotland. Dennis McBain became coppersmith at The Balvenie Distillery in Speyside in 1959 aged just 17. He served a five-year apprenticeship and has been doing the same job now for half a century.
He said; "I may be one of the last people ever to have a 50 year career in one job and with one employer. It was an innovative step taken by The Balvenie in the 1950s to employ their own craftsman as most distilleries bought in services and over the last half century Balvenie has remained committed to keeping its own team. Finding an employer who values the old skills and is willing to keep their own craftsmen in order to preserve them is rare these days. I could have retired several years ago but I love the distillery and the people I work with, it is still very important part of my life."
Dennis learned his coppersmithing skills from Willie McLachan who was considered to be one of Scotland's top whisky coppersmiths. Willie retired from The Balvenie in 1978 having served around 21 years with the company and Dennis took his place as the Distillery's main coppersmith.
The Balvenie is the only Distillery in Scotland still to grow its own barley, malt on a traditional floor maltings and retain its own team of craftsmen including, coopers, maltmen and a coppersmith. Many of the Distillery's team have worked there for over 40 years.