How long you've been working in distilling?
I have worked in brewing for 5 years with Scottish Courage Brewing Ltd at their (now closed) Technical Centre in Edinburgh, and in the distilling industry for 8 years, 7 in my current role as chemist with The Edrington Group, based at Macallan Distillery in Speyside, Scotland and 1 at Highland Park Distillery in Orkney, Scotland.
Why did you choose to work in the distilling industry?
I chose to work in the distilling industry because after I had studied for a degree and PhD in chemistry at university, I wanted to use my technical knowledge in a hands on job rather than a desk/office job. By then, I had enough of student/university life and did not want to stay in a university environment as a post doc chasing grants to do research and wanted to get a job in the real world of industry. I grew up in a distillery house on site at Tamdhu Distillery in Knockando (a very small village with 3 distilleries), and was very familiar with the distillery world (half of the Scotch malt whisky distilleries are in the Speyside area), and also worked as a summer Distillery Tour Guide when I was a student. I had also worked at Highland Park Distillery in Orkney as a temporary employee for a year on a pilot effluent treatment plant. I then worked as an R&D Chemist and an Instrumentation Chemist with Scottish Courage Brewing Ltd at the Technical Centre in Edinburgh and passed my IBD Diploma in Brewing examinations while working there. In 2001, when a vacancy arose for a scientist in the distilling industry at Macallan Distillery (these sort of jobs are few and far between) I applied and was successful. I am able to use my chemistry knowledge and experience gained in the brewing industry, as there is considerable overlap between brewing and distilling. I also work on environmental issues which are always topical and very important for the compliant operation of producing malt whisky. The distilling industry is a friendly, pleasant industry to work in, I live and work in my home area of Speyside which is a beautiful part of the world and the quality of life in the area is excellent.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Being able to use my chemistry and technical knowledge to monitor distillery performance and to help solve distillery issues and problems, and contribute to the compliant environmental performance of distilleries within the company. It is good to work together with production and other colleagues in a hands on role and not be desk bound.
Kind Regards, Anne Dolan
Anne Dolan - Laboratory Team Leader, The Edrington Group, Speyside, Scotland