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Issue 61 - The buck stops here

Whisky Magazine Issue 61
January 2007


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The buck stops here

Ian Wisniewski looks at the challenging role of distillery managers

It takes various professions to provide us with malt whisky, starting with the farmers who grow the barley, the maltsters and the peat cutters.

That's before any of the distillery team become involved, including mashmen and stillmen, as well as the lab teams and nosing panels.

Then it's onto the coopers and warehousemen during the aging process, and finally everyone on the bottling line.

But while each of these people undertake a specific task, ultimate responsibility for the production process, not to mention everything else that takes place at a distillery, rests with the distillery manager.

“It's a very interesting and well rounded role. My responsibility is from barley coming in, to the mature whisky leaving the site, and everything in between,” says Highland Park's Russell Anderson.

That's plenty to be getting on with. But handling the intricacy of the production process is only one aspect of the job.

“If you spend time, money and resources training the team there's more knowledge, which also helps morale. The more skilled your team the more efficient your plant will be, and I invest a lot of my time in coaching and training staff. The more knowledge someone has in their role there's a knock on effect in terms of Health & Safety and environmental issues. You can't separate this from producing and aging whisky,” adds Russell.

Beginning his career at Glenrothes as a process operator, covering all aspects of production and warehousing, Russell was appointed b...

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