Whisky is a global market and taking brands across the world can be exhausting. We talked to some big names in the spirits industry to see how they strike a balance between work and life.
Whisky is becoming more and more popular around the world. Almost every category of Whisky is growing in sales and not just in an isolated pocket of the globe.
Irish is swiftly moving up the ranks, with a huge increase in demand which saw around 15 new distilleries open and another 18 planned.
Japanese Whisky is itself struggling to cope with demand, and certain expression are having to be discontinued.
So it’s no wonder that brands are sending ambassadors to every corner of the world, from America to Asia to Europe. Many new Whisky clients love to have the whole Whisky experience up close and personal, so having someone in front of you to show you why Whisky is so great is very effective. That’s where Ambassadors come in.
Ervin Trykowski, Scotch Whisky Ambassador for Diageo sums it up; “I see how Scotch is embraced by everyone all over the world and that never gets old for me. There’s national pride.
“At the moment, there’s a lot of curiosity around scotch and whenever I travel I’m able to combine the distinctive flavours of a single malt with local insights to surprise people with what’s in their glass.”
Taking brands across the world can be exhausting. We talked to some big names in the spirits industry to see how they strike a balance between work and life.
Enjoying a dram
When you’re surrounded by Whisky, it can be easy to lose that simple satisfaction of just enjoying a nice dram.
Patrick Costello, who is APAC Sales Director and ‘Whisky Hunter’ at Cask 88, says his love of Whisky is from appreciation for quality, “I count myself as lucky, as I developed an appreciation for spirits, whisky in particular, and so valued quality over quantity.
“Developed through years of practice communicating and educating under the influence of alcohol, Whisky Ambassadors are experts at ‘mindful drinking’, to use the trendy term!”
This is more about reflection than over-consumption. To be able to enjoy drinking when it’s your day job (which, let’s be honest, doesn’t sound that hard), you need to recognise all of the different aspects of the spirit.
And there’s more to it than just the alcohol. The situation you drink in can make a big difference; “Maintaining the ‘soul of drinking’ I think is more about the company, the conversation and the conviviality of that particular group – which, from my experience, transcends culture and drinking environment.
“Most of my recent drinking experiences have involved people from various backgrounds and cultures, and have been richer for it.”
Enjoy the culture
As an Ambassador living in Asia, it’s important for Patrick to enjoy the culture he finds himself in, helping him to see his interactions as more than just a 9-5 job.
This is reiterated by Daniel Dyer, Global Brand Ambassador at William Grant & Sons; “I hadn’t travelled much previous to getting this role and so anytime I travel I find it exciting. If I was to pick a few I would say that Africa was definitely a highlight for me.
Tanzania was a beautiful place with a great night life and very laid back culture which suited me and Kenya was awesome so much energy and fun. I also really like Portugal I love the bars and people especially in Porto. Bulgaria was a surprise too, the nightlife is awesome and seeing everyone’s love for whisky was awesome!”
It’s all about enjoying your working environment, which is something we need to learn in any industry. Striking the balance between work and life for people who socialise and promote drinks for a living means respecting and savouring the culture you’re surrounded by.
Ervin also commented on the need to appreciate the local culture; “I’m lucky enough to see so much of the world within my role and when I travel for work I’m usually fully immersed in the local culture.
“I’ll head out to the local bars in the evening and connect with the bartenders to really understand their world.”
NAPS. LOTS OF NAPS.
When you’re flying all over the world it can get tiring, and Daniel says naps keep him going; “I love them but as much as they can save you they can also break you! The key I find is anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour.
“As soon as you get past about 90 minutes (for me at least) you feel rubbish. It’s almost as if your body thinks its going for a big sleep as opposed to the little recharge it needs.”
Alongside plenty (but not too much) sleep, he also likes to relax with a good book; “My best tip is reading. I enjoy reading and I find sitting down with no screens (phones, tv, tablet etc) near you in a quiet place or with your music puts me down. Just remember your alarm!”
Daniel strikes that balance between work and life by taking it easy when he needs to and not letting himself burn out. This can be a massive risk when you travel so much, but with naps and books, it’s easily overcome!
Ervin also commented on the need to keep an eye on the time; “My top-tip is setting my watch to the local time of the country I’m travelling to. That way I can adjust much sooner, it always works for me.”
No jet lag here!
Have some down time
Again, this is a sentiment reiterated by Patrick, who relaxes with a drink and friends when he’s not working.
On his favourite place he’s ever enjoyed Whisky, he says; “New Year’s Eve 2018 on a beach in the remote South West of Thailand with seven good friends.
“It was amazing to see in the New Year with great company, in a stunning part of the world (a reminder of how much I love my job, as it brings me to such spectacular places) and of course, with some great whisky – an independent bottling of Bowmore 2001 single cask in this case.”
While it might seem ideal to us plebs to get to travel the world and talk about Whisky all day, it can actually be a really tough gig.
But Patrick and Daniel seem to be able to strike the right balance, not smothering themselves with too much work, and enjoying the events they attend.
And of course making use of a nap and a good book along the way!