IBD's 138th anniversary

Aoife Elliott, RD&A Technologist at Kerry

Could you please introduce yourself briefly and share how you started working in the drinks industry?

I work for Kerry in the Development function working with Alcoholic Beverage application from both a Taste and Process Ingredients perspective. I work with customers to make their processes more efficient but also make new innovative, great tasting products. I have been working in product development for nearly 6 years, since joining Kerry, but only moved into beverages about 2 years ago. I went about it in a bit of a squiggly way, but as soon as I heard Kerry had an alcohol department I was keen to get onboard as it’s something I have always had an interest in. 

When did you become a member of the IBD, and what attracted you to become a member?

I became a member shortly after joining the beverage team. I had toyed with the idea of joining before I successfully got the role, as I knew it would open up opportunities within the industry. I’ve been fortunate enough to complete the General Certificate in Brewing last year and am undertaking the General Certificate in Distilling this year. I’m hoping to continue my learning through this as it’s a great way to get broader knowledge of the industry.  

Can you share a highlight or memorable experience from your time as a member of the IBD so far?

It’s hard to pick out just one highlight, but most recently I attended the Annual Irish Dinner in Cork. It was a great night! It is always so great to have the opportunity to meet people in the industry, especially in a more relaxed environment. I’m still coming to terms with how nice everyone in the industry is. This has been a very pleasant surprise since joining! 

How do you see the industry evolving in the coming years, and what opportunities or challenges do you anticipate?

Over the next couple of years, there will some challenges with the ‘Sober curious’ generation, and how this will impact the market, but the industry is already so rapidly involving. Think of how far 0.0% drinks have come in the last 5 years! In addition to this, consumers are becoming much more environmental conscious so there are a lot eyes on the industry to become more sustainable. Again, this is something the industry has already come a long way in. There will always be room for improvement so I am very excited to see how the industry develops.     

How do you stay updated with industry trends and advancements?

I am quite fortunate in my role to have access to marketing and consumer insights, to understand where the industry trends are going. But I am really enjoying reading the BDI Magazines, where I can sit down in my own time and get a bigger picture of what is happening across the industry. I also find LinkedIn a useful tool, to keep up with what is happening in real time and closer to home.  

Are there any mentors or role models who have had a significant influence on your career journey?

There are so many incredible people in the industry it is hard to be inspired by just one, but there is one person I would like to mention in particular. Our friend and colleague, Eoin Lalor, who recently passed away, was one of the first people I met in Kerry working in the Alcoholic Beverage department. Eoin was the most incredible man both in and out of work. He brought such passion to the role and such a wealth of knowledge. Eoin is someone I truly look up to. He was one of the people that really solidified my desire to get into the industry, and for that I will be forever grateful.   

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