21 December 2010

Whisky Insiders Interview - Euan Mitchell

Arran Distillery

Managing Director


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I have been working in the whisky industry for 14 years. I joined the independent bottler William Cadenhead Ltd as a Sales Executive in 1996 and then transferred to their sister company Springbank Distillers Ltd later the same year. I enjoyed seven great years at Springbank before heading for pastures new and joining the Isle of Arran Distillery in 2003.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Too many to mention! Being appointed as Managing Director of Isle of Arran Distillers in June 2008 must come top of the list. To be in charge of a young, dynamic whisky company and to nurture a brand to maturity is a real honour as well as a tremendous challenge.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
I cannot recall the exact brand but it would have been a blended Scotch purloined from my Dad’s drinks cabinet at an age too young to mention!

What does whisky mean to you?
It may sound like a cliché but for me single malts are all about people and places. The people who made the whisky and the location where they were made are crucial to the story. Equally important are the place where you enjoy sampling whiskies and the people you are sharing them with.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
Enjoying a dram of The Arran Malt 18 Years Old whilst planning ahead to our 21 Year Old! All to take place in our luxury new office.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
To be honest I prefer wine or beer with food rather than whisky but fresh seafood and a grand West coast single malt is always a winner!

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Anytime with good friends and family! There is something special about sampling a decent dram whilst admiring an Arran sunset but give me a good bar and great company and I am a happy man.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
The rise in demand for Single Malts from the emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China. Demand for Scotch whisky is growing rapidly in these markets and as sure as night follows day consumers will switch on to Single Malts. I can foresee many long-haul kilted adventures in the years ahead!

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
I was privileged enough to enjoy many rare and old Springbanks during my days in Campbeltown and the 1996 Local Barley series is still lodged in my brain and on my palate. I still have a wee drop stashed away but it won’t last long. More recently The Arran Malt Peacock (Icons #1) is a dram I keep coming back to and it gets more wonderfully complex with sip.

Many thanks to Euan Mitchell. Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!