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From Desk to Distillery: The British Brand Inspiring Women to Work in the Whisky Industry

Scotland's first 100% organic, sustainable and independent whisky distillery Ncn’ean has for the first time opened its doors to offer a truly unique internship experience for two women. Selected for their passion for the whisky industry and the values Ncn’ean stands for, the competition winners will take a break from their 9-to-5 desk jobs this July to pursue their dream career during a week-long, all expenses paid placement.

With a strong incentive to be the change for progression in the spirits industry, Ncn’ean wants to educate others about gender disparity in male-dominated fields. By showing the broad range of jobs available within the industry, from marketing to product design, blenders to distillers - Ncn’ean wants the winners to experience all aspects of the small operation and help them to understand what working in a distillery really involves.

Ncn’ean has recently announced Proposition Manager, Judith Boute and Fund Service Manager, Jemma Grant as the winners of their Whisky’d Away initiative.

After 10 years of working at corporate firms, Judith wanted to follow her dream to work as an artisan in the spirit industry, specifically whisky. As an inspiring advocate for other women fascinated by the spirits industry, Judith says, “be the change you want to see in the world”. She is enthusiastic about learning the entire process of producing the spirit, in order to discover what future role she might play in whisky.

Ncn’ean’s second Whisky’d Away winner, Jemma, is passionate about the Scottish food and drink industry and is excited by smaller businesses, such as Ncn’ean, who are thinking outside the box to create innovative products. Jemma is eager to take on a second career in the whisky world, and will be giving up her corporate desk-job after years of working in financial services. Taking her teamwork skills to the fields for a more hands-on lifestyle, Jemma has a fascination for learning about the whisky-making process; it was her passion for sustainability that caught Ncn’ean’s eye. Jemma says, “the philosophy to work fully organic through the whole chain of whisky making is very important to me and I would be keen to learn how they tackle each of the environmental hurdles.”

Judith and Jemma will have the chance to join the distillery team to learn all the aspects of creating Ncn’ean’s whisky - from mashing, distilling and maturation to making cocktails. It will also include the opportunity to sample the still-maturing whisky (to launch in 2020) and forage for local plants used in the Botanical Spirit.

The Whisky’d Away experience aims to raise the profile of distilling itself and challenge any gender-based stigmas associated with the whisky industry.

Annabel Thomas, Founder of Ncn’ean says: “Women should have an equal role in all aspects of the whisky industry; be that distilling, blending or selling. There is nothing to hold women back – it’s just about putting the suggestion in their minds.”

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