Glenglassaugh Distillery has appointed one of the malt whisky industry's rising stars to the newly-created post of European brand development manager. Susan Colville, who was crowned Young Brand Ambassador in the 2012 Icons of Whisky Awards and the first woman to be honoured with the title, is tasked with helping to build the Glenglassaugh customer base in key markets on the continent.
The appointment is something of a homecoming for Susan, who was brought up in Rothes on Speyside - a region home to more malt whisky distilleries than any other area of Scotland. Susan (31) has previously worked in brand development roles with a number of independent bottlers in the Central Belt, and the post with Glenglassaugh is her first with a distillery.
She says, "Glenglassaugh has been doing incredible things over the last four years and is growing at an extremely fast pace. The challenge for me is to maintain that growth and to establish Glenglassaugh not only as a really good brand, but also as a fantastic whisky.
"I am looking forward to the challenge of helping to further establish the brand in key target markets, and to strengthening the existing relationships that Glenglassaugh has established. Working with a distillery as opposed to a brand owner is something that I have always wanted to do, and it is great to be able to come back home to do that. My father worked in the whisky industry for 33 years at Glen Rothes and he is delighted that I am following in his footsteps."
Susan's interest in malt whisky developed while she spent her summers working as a distillery visitor guide. After completing a degree in business studies and French, she worked with a major whisky retailer in a bid to increase her knowledge of the industry. From there she became brand ambassador with Glasgow-based independent bottlers Douglas Laing & Co and had a spell with Dewar Rattray. Prior to joining Glenglassaugh she was with Wemyss Malts, where she increased the customer portfolio from just two to 22.
Her appointment comes at a time when Glenglassaugh, which reopened its doors in 2008 after spending 22 years in mothballs, launches its first single malt - the aptly named Revival - since production recommenced.
Susan adds, "Although well established, Glenglassaugh was always a sister brand when it was last in production during the 1980s. This is a very exciting time to be coming to Glenglassaugh Distillery and to see how far we can increase the quality and awareness of the brand.
"Within five years I would like to see Glenglassaugh grow to become a well-known, recognised brand which is synonymous with producing high quality, hand-crafted single malt whisky."
Susan's appointment will allow Glenglassaugh Distillery managing director Stuart Nickerson to concentrate on building worldwide markets. The brand already has a very strong following in Russia and it is hoped that further inroads can be made into Asia, Australasia and the USA.
"We feel we have made a real coup by enticing Susan to Glenglassaugh as her passion, knowledge and commitment to the whisky industry is second to none," says Stuart.
"The distillery has come a long, long way over the past four years and we are busier than ever following the launch of Revival. We recognised that we needed to appoint a brand manager specifically to concentrate on our European customers if we were going to be able to maintain the current level of interest in our products and further projected growth."
Revival is now available from specialist whisky outlets across the UK and can also be ordered, along with the distillery's other award winning range of ages whiskies and younger spirit drinks, at the online retail shop http://www.glenglassaugh.com