IBD's 138th anniversary

Éamonn Laramie, Continuous Improvement Lead at Great Northern Distillery

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

My name is Éamonn Laramie and I am Continuous Improvement Lead for Great Northern Distillery. I was hired as a Lab Assistant six years ago, and was fortunate to have held roles in the lab, whiskey production and hand sanitiser production! I didn’t consider the drinks industry as an option, being in it now I recommend it as an exciting career.

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

Starting out in the lab with no knowledge of the whiskey industry, I was eager to learn about what process variables influenced the final product - to do that effectively I needed to better understand the whiskey making processes. With an IBD membership I could deep dive into journals and articles which helped in my studies. I emailed Jan Hodel-Keane (IBD Irish Section Chairman) a couple years ago to learn about their Early Career Network and was directed to the varied events during the year.  

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

The IBD dinners are a highlight for me. It is a great opportunity to put faces to names and to network with people you may not have crossed paths with before. Always good craic and stimulating conversation. The crossover between brewing, distilling and suppliers is something you can’t get elsewhere.

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

I think we are starting to see more advancements and creativity in mash bills of Irish Pot Still whiskey which I am excited to see, and taste! Innovation with cask types also give opportunities for new flavours. 

How do you stay updated with industry trends and advancements?

BDI magazine, LinkedIn, speaking with other professionals in the field!

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

Brian Watts, a Scottish gentleman, and Distillery Manager of GND when I first started out. Brian pushed me to better myself through the IBD encouraged IBD Diploma in Distilling. He was a great source of knowledge and mentorship, and would take the time to share what he knew or troubleshoot a problem, when he had 100 other things to do. Brian sadly passed in October 2022.